UW–Madison School of Education ranked No. 1 by U.S. News

UW–Madison’s School of Education is the No. 1 school of education in the United States, according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Education Graduate Schools rankings released on Tuesday.

It marks the first time the School of Education has received the first-place ranking from U.S. News & World Report, though it has been highly ranked by the organization for decades. For the past 11 years, it has been ranked in the top five schools of education in the country. For 24 of U.S. News’ past 25 rankings, it has been in the top 10. UW–Madison is tied for the top spot with Teachers College, Columbia University.

2024 U.S. News Rankings graphic

“This ranking only confirms what we’ve always known: our School of Education is among the country’s best,” says Charles Lee Isbell Jr., UW–Madison’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “The School of Education’s highly regarded faculty and staff are conducting groundbreaking research, attracting top students, and preparing future leaders for our state and beyond.”

In addition to its No. 1 overall ranking, 10 graduate programs housed within the UW–Madison School of Education were highly-rated by U.S. News. That includes a No. 1 ranking for the Educational Psychology program. 

Dean Diana Hess
Dean Diana Hess

Diana Hess, dean of the School of Education, says the rankings reaffirm the School’s place as a national leader in education.

“The No. 1-ranking for our School of Education is a testament to innovative work being done by our talented faculty, staff, and students,” says Hess. “These rankings highlight what we consider a significant strength of ours — and that’s the array of high-quality programs across our School of Education.”

Like the School of Education as a whole, the Department of Educational Psychology has consistently ranked among the very best in the nation. This year marks the seventh time since 2014 that it has been home to the top-ranked Educational Psychology program.

James Wollack, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, says he is thrilled by the continued recognition of the department and its exceptional faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

“This achievement is a testament to our collective effort that centers on an unwavering focus on enhancing learning and mental health locally and globally,” Wollack says. “This ranking is a reflection of years of rigorous, innovative, and impactful scholarship, a shared commitment to excellence in teaching and mentorship, and an unparalleled dedication to serving our profession and community.”

U.S. News & World Report ranks nine graduate program specialty areas in education each year — and once again, the UW–Madison School of Education has programs ranked in the top 15 in all nine areas: No. 1 in Educational Psychology; No. 2 in Curriculum and Instruction; No. 2 in Educational Administration; No. 2 in Elementary Teacher Education; No. 3 in Secondary Teacher Education; No. 6 in Special Education; No. 7 in Education Policy; No. 8 in Student Counseling; and No. 13 in Higher Education Administration.

“We are excited that these programs within our department continue to receive such recognition,” says Professor Leema Berland, chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, which is home to highly ranked programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary Teacher Education, and Secondary Teacher Education. “We see it as growing out of our department’s consistent focus on social justice across research and practice, and across educational contexts.”

“It is exciting to see how our high rankings in Educational Administration and Higher Education Administration reflect the hard work of staff, students, and faculty in producing high-quality learning experiences and scholarship,” says Professor Anjalé (AJ) Welton, who chairs the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. “Our outstanding alumni also continue to strengthen our reputation as practicing leaders and researchers in the field.”

In addition, the School of Education’s Occupational Therapy program, housed in the Department of Kinesiology, is ranked No. 16 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Health Graduate Programs rankings.

U.S. News does not rank all specialty programs across all disciplines every year. For example, the School of Education’s Rehabilitation Counseling program, housed in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, was ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report last year. That specialty area is only re-ranked by the organization every four years. The School of Education has also long been home to the No. 1 Printmaking program in the country, with U.S. News last ranking Master of Fine Arts programs in 2021.

How the rankings are calculated

To calculate its overall 2024 Best Education Graduate Schools rankings, U.S. News & World Report sent surveys to 456 institutions that grant doctoral education degrees. Of those, 265 responded to the survey, allowing U.S. News to collect statistical and reputational data for its rankings.

U.S. News & World Report derived each education school’s overall rank by scoring it on nine distinct ranking factors that broadly cover: quality assessment (peer assessments and educational professional assessments); research activity (total research expenditures and average expenditures per faculty member); student selectivity (acceptance rate); and faculty resources (total doctoral degrees granted, faculty-to-student ratio, percentage of faculty with awards, and doctorates granted-to-faculty ratio). Learn more about the methodology here.

The UW–Madison School of Education has a long history of being home to both a high-quality faculty and a strong student body, while also excelling in research and on reputational metrics.

Writing about its Best Education Schools methodology, U.S. News & World Report explains: “Graduate programs in education can prepare students for leadership roles at colleges, universities, state and local governments, K-12 schools, and nonprofits. To assist in the search for the best fit program, U.S. News evaluated education schools on research activity, academic excellence of entering students, faculty resources, and opinions on program quality from education school deans and school hiring professionals.”

Education program specialty rankings, U.S. News & World Report explains, are based solely on nominations by education school deans and deans of graduate studies at education schools from the list of schools surveyed. They selected up to 15 top programs in each specialty area.

Similarly, rankings related to health programs came from surveys provided by program directors and faculty in health disciplines.

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