UC Davis ranks number 6 among public universities

UC Davis Rises to 6th Among Nation’s Top Public Universities

U.S. News Rankings Highlight Social Mobility Campus Provides

by Julia Ann Easley | September 17, 2023

The University of California, Davis, rose to tie for sixth place among the nation’s top public universities in rankings published today (Sept. 17) by U.S. News & World Report.

The 2024 Best Colleges rankings moved UC Davis up four places from last year among public universities and up 10 places to tie for No. 28 among all national universities.

The campus also moved up eight places to tie for No. 19 among national universities for the social mobility it provides for its students.

“We are proud that UC Davis continues to be recognized as one of the top public research universities in the country,” Chancellor Gary S. May said, “This ranking validates the emphasis we place on academic excellence, opportunities for our students and a diverse student body that excels once they graduate.” 

In a change of methodology for this year’s rankings, U.S. News & World Report said it placed greater emphasis on outcomes for graduating college students including increased weighting on a school’s success in graduating students from different backgrounds.

Among the rankings’ other highlights, UC Davis was tied for No. 12 among the best national universities for veterans and tied for No. 46 among the most innovative national universities.

Academic subjects

In addition to universities’ overall qualities, services and outcomes, the rankings looked at several academic programs. UC Davis ranked:

  • fifth in biological/agricultural engineering (tied)
  • 11th in undergraduate psychology programs (tied)
  • 14th in software engineering (tied)
  • 14th in civil engineering (tied)
  • 15th in environmental / environmental health (tied)
  • 22nd for undergraduate economics programs (tied)
  • 27th for undergraduate computer science programs (tied)
  • 30th among undergraduate engineering programs at universities with doctoral degrees in the subject (tied)

Not all subjects are ranked every year, and not all rankings are published online or available without a special subscription.

Other rankings

In other recent rankings:

  • Commitments to social mobility, public service and research earned UC Davis the No. 8 spot among public universities and No. 21 among all 442 national universities in the Washington Monthly 2023 College Rankings released in late August.
  • Forbes ranked UC Davis 14th among public schools and 37th overall in its America’s Top Colleges, also released in late August.
  • Princeton Review’s The Best 389 Colleges — 2024 Edition ranked UC Davis eighth among the Top 20 Best Schools for Making an Impact; 17th among the Top 50 Best Value Colleges and sixth among the Top 20 Best Career Placement — all among public universities. UC Davis also made unranked lists for Best Value Colleges, Green Colleges and Best West Colleges.

UC Davis and rankings

A world-class university, UC Davis is highly ranked for how it transforms students’ lives, the impact of its research, the excellence of its academic programs, sustainability and more. The university performs self-evaluations and also appreciates the value of third-party assessments. However, ranking methods vary, change over time and can be subjective. UC Davis focuses on those rankings that most closely align with its mission and values — including serving the public good, inclusiveness and equity, and social mobility — and in national rankings looks most closely at its standing among public universities. UC Davis encourages prospective students and their families to weigh rankings among other factors in their college decision, talk with counselors and UC Davis admissions advisors, and, if possible, visit the campus.