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ASU ranked No. 1 in innovation for 9th straight year

US News & World Report accolade joins university’s series of top rankings in areas that matter


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September 17, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2023 year in review.

For the ninth year in a row, Arizona State University is No. 1 in innovation among American universities, ahead of Stanford, MIT and Caltech, in the newly released annual “Best Colleges” 2024 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The continued recognition underscores ASU’s commitment to being a New American University — an enterprise dedicated to the simultaneous pursuit of excellence, broad access to quality education, and meaningful societal impact — and joins a series of top rankings that ASU has earned in high-impact areas.

In the past three years, ASU has been named:

  • No. 1 in global impact, by Times Higher Education (2020–23), ahead of MIT and Penn State.
  • No. 1 in research expenditures for geological and earth sciences, anthropology, and transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and other sciences, by the National Science Foundation (2021), ahead of such universities as Caltech, Harvard and Johns Hopkins, respectively.
  • No. 1 in engineering technology enrollment, by the American Society for Engineering Education (2021), ahead of Texas A&M, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
  • No. 1 journalism school in top overall awards for news, by the Broadcast Education Association (2023), ahead of Syracuse, the University of Florida and the University of Southern California.
  • No. 1 in visual and performing arts doctorates, by the National Science Foundation (2022), ahead of UCLA, Harvard and Yale.
  • No. 1 public university in the U.S. chosen by international students, by the Institute of International Education (2022), ahead of UCLA, UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • No. 1 in homeland security and emergency management, by U.S. News & World Report (2023), ahead of George Washington University, Columbia University and the University of Southern California.
  • No. 1 business online bachelor’s programs, by U.S. News & World Report (2023), ahead of Penn State University-World Campus and the University of Arizona.

“The world is changing faster than ever, and outmoded approaches are not enough to counter the increasingly complex problems facing our planet,” said Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow. “ASU’s innovation mindset attracts creative and dynamic minds who tackle society’s biggest challenges — from ending health disparities to ensuring a habitable planet to advancing our national security — in ways both inventive and effective.

“Bolstered by collaboration across disciplines and sectors, we are perpetually inspired to demonstrate how optimism and ingenuity can yield better outcomes for all.” 

ASU has ranked No. 1, ahead of MIT and Stanford, every year since the “most innovative” category was created by U.S. News & World Report magazine. Institutions are nominated by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans across the country, and schools are chosen based on who is making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.

In the past year, ASU has announced several initiatives that will have a huge impact on the local and global stage:

  • The university will launch the ASU School of Medicine and Advanced Medical Engineering, which will integrate clinical medicine, biomedical science and engineering. The new school highlights a comprehensive new effort to help improve health outcomes across Arizona, which ranks near or in the bottom quartile of many health system performance indicators.
  • In partnership with Applied Materials Inc., ASU will build a $270 million research, development and prototyping facility — the Materials-to-Fab Center — in the university’s MacroTechnology Works building at ASU Research Park. This effort will help advance Arizona's burgeoning semiconductor industry, key to the nation’s security.
  • ASU won $90.8 million — the largest National Science Foundation research award in the university’s history — to advance groundbreaking research in X-ray science by building the world’s first compact X-ray free electron laser, or CXFEL, on the Tempe campus. This one-of-a-kind, room-sized X-ray laser instrument will fill a critical need for researchers to explore the intricacies of complex matter at atomic length and ultrafast time.
  • The university was chosen to lead the Arizona Water Innovation Initiative to provide immediate, actionable and evidence-based solutions to ensure that Arizona will have a secure future water supply. The governor has asked ASU to work with industrial, municipal, agricultural, tribal and international partners to rapidly accelerate and deploy new approaches and technology for water conservation, augmentation, desalination, efficiency, infrastructure and reuse.
  • ASU has widened access to higher education through Study Hall, a partnership with YouTube and Crash Course in which learners can now earn college credit through courses that begin on YouTube. The first four courses, which launched in March, create a flexible new pathway to higher education that provides up to 12 transferable college credits.

Latest rankings

In the new U.S. News & World Report rankings, the university placed in the top 20 in other notable categories, including tied for No. 13 among U.S. universities in undergraduate teaching; tied No. 16 for senior capstone programs; and tied for No. 16 for first-year experiences.

ASU also had distinguished rankings among several of its undergraduate degrees and programs including:

Business

For undergraduate rankings, the W. P. Carey School of Business was tied for No. 29 in the country, ahead of Brigham Young University, Babson College and the University of Rochester. The school also had 10 undergraduate disciplines or departments ranked in the top 30, including: No. 2 for supply chain management and logistics; No. 9 for analytics and No. 9 for business management information systems.

Engineering

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering tied for No. 34 overall and placed in the top 20 for public engineering schools, ahead of the University of Florida, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of California, Irvine. Four undergraduate programs ranked in the top 20 for their categories: civil engineering (No. 16), cybersecurity — computer science (No. 16, tied), computer engineering (No. 16, tied) and electrical engineering (No. 17, tied).

Find the full rankings on the U.S. News & World Report website. Note: An earlier version of this story listed top 20 rankings for elementary teacher education and secondary teacher education. Those programs were not ranked this year, but placed at No. 13 when they were last ranked, in 2020.

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