ASU named No. 1 in innovation for eighth straight year

US News & World Report annual ranking also highlights engineering, business and nursing undergraduate programs


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For the eighth year in a row, Arizona State University is No. 1 in innovation in the newly released annual Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

Over the past 20 years, ASU has grown from a regional desert university to a world-renowned public research institution of tremendous societal impact, an accomplishment reflected by its unchallenged designation as the most innovative university — ahead of MIT and Stanford — every year since the inception of the category.

“For two decades, Arizona State University has been designing, building and reinventing itself as a leader in innovation,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “We have tested and implemented new ways to teach, learn, discover and serve at all levels of the institution — all with the goal of demonstrating our commitment to excellence, access and impact — and I am deeply thankful to all who have contributed to our evolution.

“Innovation has the power to create better lives for all, and our collective future holds limitless potential, opportunity and inspiration to manifest a healthy, equitable and just tomorrow. ASU welcomes the chance to dream with others and to work together to make those dreams a reality.”

Institutions were nominated in the innovation category by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans from across the country. Schools are chosen based on who is determined to be making the most innovative improvements toward curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.

In the past year alone, the university has implemented the LIFT Initiative to address inequities in academia, reinvented online education for students in the sciences and helped launch the New Economy Initiative to bring new, high-wage jobs to Arizona and increase the state's economic output.

In previous years, advancements that contributed to ASU’s No. 1 ranking included the introduction of the immersive virtual reality-based curriculum of Dreamscape Learn, achievement of carbon neutrality and the One Square Mile Initiative urban revitalization project. 

“By keeping innovation at the forefront of everything we do, we continue to change the way the world solves problems,” said Sally C. Morton, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise. “ASU is breaking the mold for what is possible in our collective future by pioneering solutions that positively impact our students, our university, our communities and the world in far-reaching ways.”

Among other U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges categories, ASU ranked: 

  • No. 23 in Best Undergraduate Business: The W. P. Carey School of Business came in ahead of the University of Arizona, Purdue University and Boston College. Among the school’s programs that ranked in the top 10 are supply chain management (No. 2), analytics (No. 8) and management information systems (No. 10).
  • No. 29 in Best Undergraduate Nursing: The Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation had a 10-way tie in the category with such schools as the University of Miami, the University of Rochester and the University of Utah.
  • No. 33 in Best Undergraduate Engineering: Up nine spots in the last two years (and tied with Yale University, the University of Notre Dame and North Carolina State University), the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering counted six undergraduate programs in the top 25: civil engineering (No. 18), electrical engineering (No. 20), cybersecurity (tied with Northeastern and Texas A&M for No. 20), environmental engineering (tied with UCLA for No. 21), computer engineering (No. 23), mechanical engineering (No. 23).
  • Other highlights: ASU tied with Harvard for No. 18 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, ahead of Yale and Stanford; ranked No. 16 for Best Senior Capstone, ahead of Harvard, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Bryn Mawr College; No. 23 for First-Year Experiences, ahead of Harvard, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt; and No. 32 for Undergraduate Research, ahead of Columbia University and tied with UCLA and the University of Chicago.

A complete list of rankings, data and methodologies can be found on the U.S. News College Compass website.

Learn more about the 2021–22 stories highlighted in our video:

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