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AUTHOR
Shweta Karikehalli
Shweta Karikehalli
PUBLISHED
April 18, 2019
10 minute read
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The Best Public University In Every State

50 schools to include in your campus recruiting strategy.

The Best Public University In Every State

Elite private institutions often top the list of target schools when it comes to campus recruiting. But any company committed to finding the best talent across the country should be sure to include several public colleges and universities in their list of focus schools. Public colleges and universities make up a large percentage of the United States’ degree-granting, post-secondary institutions, at about 38 percent, and 6 out of the top 10 most diverse schools in the country are public. Public universities are also more affordable than private universities, offering students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to receive a world-class education.


With a little over 1,600 public colleges and universities in the U.S., deciding which to focus your recruiting efforts on can be a challenge. So using the U.S. News and World Report rankings, we’ve identified the best public university in every state to help you hone in on the right schools for your hiring needs. Whether you’re looking for leaders in STEM or you’re interested in recruiting local talent, any of these public universities will provide thousands of talented and competitive college graduates to choose from.


Alabama

Auburn University

Location: Auburn, AL

Undergraduate student population: 23,964

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 115

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 52


Located in a city that’s been ranked one of the best places to live, Auburn University also has a freshman retention rate of 91%, which is an indication of student satisfaction. Auburn University is also known for being the South’s first land-grant college (colleges granted federal land for agricultural and mechanical purposes). Notable graduates include six NASA astronauts, the former head of the Kennedy Space Center, and the nation’s first and only class of undergraduate wireless engineers. The most popular majors include business, management, marketing, engineering, biological and biomedical Sciences, journalism.


Alaska

University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Location: Fairbanks, AK

Undergraduate student population: 6,718

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 215

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 121


The University of Alaska-Fairbanks is a leader in Arctic research, specifically the circumpolar North. Studies on subjects like climate change, marine ecosystems, and mercury levels in wildlife help inform Alaskan policy makers and citizens of issues affecting their community. University of Alaska-Fairbanks has 360 million acres for field work to take place in, where students can study everything from rural and community development, fisheries and ocean sciences, management, and natural resources and agricultural sciences. University of Alaska-Fairbanks is the only Tier One National University in Alaska and offers 146 degrees and 32 certificates in 112 disciplines.


Arizona

University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, AZ

Undergraduate student population: 35,123

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 215

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 46


Founded in 1885, The University of Arizona is one of the largest public institutions in the state. The school is one of the top 15 public research universities in the nation, with researchers aiming to answer bigger questions such as the origin of comets, the risk of asteroids, and how we are making history in space exploration. University of Arizona students have more than 100 majors to choose from. The most popular majors are business, management, marketing, and related social services, biological and biomedical sciences, and social sciences.  


Arkansas

University of Arkansas

Location: Fayetteville, AR

Undergraduate student population: 23,044

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 152

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 78


Classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having “the highest possible level of research,” University of Arkansas places among the top 3 percent of American universities having the highest level of research activity. The university has 10 colleges and schools that offer more than 210 academic programs. Its students come from all 50 states and represent more than 120 countries. The Fulbright Scholarship program was created by graduate and former president of the university, J. William Fulbright and Bill and Hillary Clinton each taught in the law school before entering the White House.


California

University of California-Los Angeles

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate student population: 31,002

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 19

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 1


In addition to its No. 1 ranking for top public schools, University of California-Los Angeles is also the 19th best national university in the country. Nearly a third of undergraduates at UCLA are the first generation in their family to graduate from a four-year college or university and UCLA’s faculty includes numerous Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and National Medal of Science recipients, among other prestigious awards, fellowships, and grants. The university has a highly competitive acceptance rate of 18 percent and is the most applied-to university in the country.


Colorado

Colorado School of Mines

Location: Golden, CO

Undergraduate student population: 4,794

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 80

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 32


Colorado School of Mines is known for its commitment to the study of the earth, energy, and the environment. Mines is home to the Center for Space Resources, a research and technology development center that studies how space and planetary resources can benefit society on earth. It ranks 4th in the country for its petroleum engineering graduate program according to U.S. News and World Report. The most popular majors at Mines include engineering, computer and information sciences and support services, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, and social sciences.


Connecticut

University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs, CT

Undergraduate student population: 19,241

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 63

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 22


The University of Connecticut is one of the nation’s leading research institutions and offers more than 120 majors in 14 schools and colleges. The state provided a $1.5 billion investment to strengthen the school’s science, technology, engineering, and math initiatives such as Bioscience Connecticut and The Jackson Laboratory. The Neag School of Education at UConn is ranked the 30th best education school in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and notable alumni include former senior vice president at Nintendo George Harrison, WNBA star Sue Bird, and 1996 physics Nobel Prize winner David Lee.


Delaware

University of Delaware

Location: Newark, DE

Undergraduate student population: 18,946

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 89

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 38


University of Delaware offers 149 bachelors programs, 132 masters programs and 62 doctoral programs throughout seven colleges. U.S. News and World Report ranks the internationally recognized College of Engineering at the University of Delaware the 47th best engineering school in the nation. University of Delaware ran the country’s first study abroad program in 1923, and today about one-third of students study abroad, helping them develop a broad network of connections as well as learn about new cultures and perspectives.


Florida

University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL

Undergraduate student population: 35,247

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 35

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 8


The oldest university in the state, University of Florida has more than 50,000 students that can attend its 16 colleges. Since 1985, University of Florida has been a member of the Association of American Universities, which is made up of 62 distinguished research universities across the United States. The most popular majors there include engineering, business, biological and biomedical sciences, and journalism. University of Florida ranks sixth in the nation for engineering degrees produced and has two times the national average of inventions produced per research dollar invested, according to their website.


Georgia

Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, GA

Undergraduate student population: 15,573

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 35

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 8


Aside from its public school classification, Georgia Institute of Technology has other impressive rankings. Its undergraduate engineering program is ranked 4th in the nation and all of its graduate engineering programs rank in the top 10 in the nation, per Georgia Tech’s website. The Scheller College of Business ranks also ranks 21st in undergraduate business programs. The school produces successful, work-ready graduates: per 2018 data, 66 percent of undergraduates had been offered a job upon graduation with an average starting salary of $70,500.


Hawaii

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Location: Honolulu, HI

Undergraduate student population: 12,881

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 157

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 80


Located just outside of downtown Honolulu, the University of Hawaii at Manoa has options for the study of Asian and Pacific cultures, tropical medicine, ocean and marine sciences, astronomy, volcanology, international business, and more. Its international business program ranks in the top 18 in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. It is the alma mater of the parents of former United States President Barack Obama, and renowned oceanographer, Robert Ballard. UH Manoa researchers provide expertise to local leaders on issues like sustainability, climate, food systems and health issues unique to Hawaii.


Idaho

University of Idaho

Location: Moscow, ID

Undergraduate student population: 9,885

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 165

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 87


The University of Idaho prides itself on a focus in teaching, research, outreach and engagement.There are more than 96 undergraduate majors at the University of Idaho, and the most popular include psychology, mechanical engineering, finance, marketing, and accounting. There are 80 masters programs for students to choose from including business, law, engineering, and education. Many undergraduates participate in research on computer security, transportation innovations, environmental science, agricultural science, evolutionary biology, biomedical research, and power applications, among others.


Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Location: Champaign, IL

Undergraduate student population: 33,955

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 46

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 13


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, College of Engineering, and Department of Psychology are ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The university was the first to provide disability access to all university services, curricula and facilities. There are 150 undergraduate programs of study to choose from and more than 80 research centers and labs. Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert and the co-founder of YouTube, Steve Chen are among the notable alumni that graduated from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Indiana

Purdue University-West Lafayette

Location: West Lafayette, IN

Undergraduate student population: 31,006

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 56

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 17


Purdue University-West Lafayette has many high-ranked programs and schools, including the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.Twenty-two well-known American astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, studied at Purdue University, and U.S. News and World Report ranks it 5th in the nation for Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical engineering programs. One hundred and thirty countries and all 50 of the United States are represented in the student body. Purdue University was rated the number 1 destination for international students in STEM disciplines, according to the United States Department of Homeland Security.


Iowa

University of Iowa

Location: Iowa City, IA

Undergraduate student population: 24,503

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 89

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 38


University of Iowa is a premier national public research university with a strong liberal arts program. The university encourages undergraduate involvement in research in the arts, humanities, natural/physical sciences, social sciences, health, medicine, engineering, and more. The university’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides research opportunities, professional development, and financial support to minorities interested in STEM careers. University of Iowa is home to the distinguished Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Faculty there have included Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, and John Irving and graduates of the school have won 17 Pulitzer prizes.


Kansas

University of Kansas

Location: Lawrence, KS

Undergraduate student population: 19,338

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 129

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 61


With 142 undergraduate programs, 233 masters, doctorate, and professional degree programs, more than 100 study abroad programs, and a highly ranked honors program, the University of Kansas prepares its students well for a competitive workforce. University of Kansas is one of the 62 members of the Association of American Universities and has been associated with more than 300 Fulbright scholars. The top majors there include journalism, psychology, accounting, biology, nursing, pharmacy, finance, business, speech communication and rhetoric, and mechanical engineering.


Kentucky

University of Kentucky

Location: Lexington, KY

Undergraduate student population: 22,425

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 147

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 75


The University of Kentucky has nearly 350 clubs for students to get involved in as well as a strong Greek life and award-winning student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel. The university offers about 120 masters programs including highly ranked graduate programs in public affairs and health. The most popular fields of study at the University of Kentucky include engineering, business, and education, and its freshman retention rate is higher than the national average, at 82 percent. Notable alumni include actress Ashley Judd, professional basketball player Anthony Davis, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Louisiana

Louisiana State University

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Undergraduate student population: 25,444

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 149

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 70


Located in Louisiana’s capital, Louisiana State University is the state’s flagship university. It is one of only 30 institutions in the United States that holds both land grant and sea grant status. DesignIntelligence magazine, a prominent journal for design professionals, ranked LSU’s undergraduate program as number one in the nation and its graduate program as number five in the nation. LSU offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in several different fields like agriculture, business, coastal environmental sciences, engineering, communication, and also offers online studies for remote students.


Maine

University of Maine

Location: Orono, ME

Undergraduate student population: 9,279

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 177

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 97


University of Maine is the state's only public university classified by the Carnegie Foundation as being a doctoral granting university that has “High Research Activity.” Researchers at the University of Maine study advanced materials, marine sciences, climate change, environmental studies, forestry, engineering and aquaculture. UMaine students have the opportunity to work on projects for NASA, the U.S. military and get hands on research experience tagging wildlife, conducting medical research, and studying how Antarctic ice sheets react to climate change. Alumni have won Pulitzer and Nobel Peace Prizes and work for the United Nations, Google, General Electric, and the Los Angeles Times.


Maryland

University of Maryland, College Park

Location: College Park, MD

Undergraduate student population: 29,868

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 63

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 22


With a suburban campus located between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, the University of Maryland is a great place for students who want a residential lifestyle with easy access to big cities. The A. James Clark School of Engineering is ranked 22nd best in the nation and the UMD Health School has the nation’s 17th best audiology program. Research opportunities for students are abundant at the school: Recently, researchers at the School of Engineering demonstrated a way to make salty water drinkable by using a self-cleaning device made of wood that would make small-scale desalination more practical.


Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Location: Amherst, MA

Undergraduate student population: 23,388

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 70

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 26


Though the University of Massachusetts Amherst is large, students can get a smaller school feel by taking classes at nearby smaller liberal arts colleges like Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, and Hampshire College. Students can choose from almost 90 majors and even have the option to design their own major through the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration. Students are encouraged to participate in internships, co-ops and research where they’re able to work alongside faculty in subjects such as energy and materials, the environment, governance and society, and life sciences and health.


Michigan

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Undergraduate student population: 29,821

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 27

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 4


Admission at the University of Michigan is highly competitive with an acceptance rate of 29 percent. U.S. News and World Report ranks it as the 27th best university in the nation and University of Michigan’s bachelor of business administration program is 4th in the nation. Notable alumni include actress Lucy Liu, actor Darren Criss, CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, CEO and director of JetBlue Airways David Barger, and Katie Bouman, who helped produce the first image of a black hole in April 2019.


Minnesota

University of Minnesota

Location: Twin Cities, MN

Undergraduate student population: 35,433

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 76

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 30


Students at the University of Minnesota learn from the best: Faculty include members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and other prestigious organizations. Students have the opportunity to do research alongside faculty on subjects like DNA repair, human-wildlife conflict, climate change, and more. Students on campus come from 130 nations, 84.3 percent were in the  top 25 percent of their class, and people of color represent about 20 percent of the student population.


Mississippi

University of Mississippi

Location: Oxford, MS

Undergraduate student population: 18,737

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 152

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 78


University of Mississippi is one of the  R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity, a prestigious ranking by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Notable alumni include writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner, civil rights movement leader James Meredith, writer John Grisham, and football player Eli Manning. University of Mississippi is the state’s largest university and was ranked one of the nation’s fastest growing universities by the Almanac of Higher Education. Students represent all 50 states and 90 countries, and 23 percent of all students are minorities.


Missouri

University of Missouri

Location: Columbia, MO

Undergraduate student population: 23,817

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 129

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 61


The University of Missouri is famously home to the world’s first school of journalism. It’s also the first public university with a school of education and holds the state’s first and only veterinary school. The most popular majors include journalism, communications, business, management, marketing, health professions, engineering, and biological and biomedical sciences. The university has more than 300 degree offerings and more than 90 online options. More than 40 percent of the 9,150 degrees awarded at the University of Missouri in the 2016-2017 school year were in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health fields.


Montana

University of Montana

Location: Missoula, MT

Undergraduate student population: 9,323

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 201

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 109


With majestic Mount Sentinel as a backdrop and Clark Fork River nearby, students at the University of Montana can take in some of the most scenic parts of the state while they study. University of Montana offers unique programs such as entertainment management, which addresses the business side of entertainment and event management, wilderness and civilization, and more. University of Montana journalism students established the first student chapter of the Native American Journalists Association and it’s been named a top university for Udall scholars, who are students committed to issues related to Native American nations or the environment. It produced the most Udall scholars in 2005 and the most since the award’s inception in 1996, at 22 scholars.


Nebraska

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Location: Lincoln, NE

Undergraduate student population: 20,954

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 129

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 61


The University of Nebraska is one of the nation’s fastest growing research institutions and has a strong research presence. In 2016, Springer Nature's international list of Rising Stars in research ranked University of Nebraska 9th, with leadership in fields like food and water security, early childhood development and nanoscience. In 2017, the university was ranked 16th in the nation by the Milken Institute for its ability to commercialize the work of its faculty for the benefit of people in the state and around the world.


Nevada

University of Nevada-Reno

Location: Reno, NV

Undergraduate student population: 18,348

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 201

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 109


University of Nevada-Reno is the state’s first institution of higher education and the leading research institution. It’s well known for its programs in earthquake science and engineering with one of the largest earthquake simulation laboratories in the country. It’s also known for its programs in neuroscience, environmental science, bioscience, biotechnology, and advanced autonomous systems. University of Nevada offers more than 460 undergraduate and graduate degree, certificate, and minor programs and holds an R2 Carnegie Classification as a comprehensive doctoral university with high research activity.  


New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire

Location: Durham, NH

Undergraduate student population: 12,967

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 106

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 46


University of New Hampshire students conduct offshore research at the UNH-Cornell Shoals Marine Laboratory, work alongside professors who advised the White House on the BP oil spill disaster, and help build instruments for NASA satellites. The university comprises seven colleges and three schools including the Graduate School, Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, and the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. The four-year graduation rate is 68 percent and some popular majors include business administration and management, speech communication and rhetoric, and biomedical sciences.


New Jersey

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Location: Piscataway, NJ

Undergraduate student population: 35,641

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 56

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 17


Established in 1766, Rutgers University is the 8th oldest higher education institution in the country. Today it has more than 150 undergraduate majors, more than 400 graduate programs, and is home to 300 research centers and institutes. The most popular undergraduate majors are psychology, biology and biological sciences, and kinesiology and exercise sciences. Rutgers and partners form New Jersey’s largest academic health system and it is a member of Association of American Universities, a group of America’s leading research universities.


New Mexico

University of New Mexico

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Undergraduate student population: 19,516

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 187

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 100


University of New Mexico offers more than 350 degree and certificate programs with 65 associate, 58 credit-bearing certificates, 97 baccalaureate, 78 master's, and 47 doctoral degree programs.  Students at the University of New Mexico can participate in more than 300 student organizations that are academic, service, political, cultural, and religious. University of New Mexico is also the only Hispanic Serving Institution in the U.S. that is also a Carnegie Research University with Very High Research Activity. In 2019,  University of New Mexico researchers were selected by NASA to partner in moon rock studies that will advance understanding of the moon.


New York

Binghamton University - SUNY

Location: Binghamton, NY

Undergraduate student population: 13,728

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 80

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 32


Binghamton is a large research university in the southern tier of New York State. Freshman at Binghamton University can dive into research right away with the Freshman Research Immersion program that provides first-year students with research projects in one of 10 research streams, including biogeochemistry, biomedical chemistry, molecular and biomedical anthropology, neuroscience, and smart energy. The university encourages business savvy with the entrepreneurship program. Students are able to create and pitch new business plans to judges who are typically alumni and may work on Wall Street as venture capitalists, or be local business owners or entrepreneurs.


North Carolina

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Undergraduate student population: 18,862

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 30

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 5


University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is the nation’s first public university and also ranks 30th in national universities by U.S. News and World Report. Students are encouraged to give back to the community while at the university. They participate in projects like starting community gardens for the hungry, conducting EPA-funded research with professors, or creating a digital collection of North Carolina history for one of University of North Carolina’s libraries. Students can study abroad in more than 70 countries and choose from more than 70 majors and minors. The most popular ones included biology, journalism, exercise and sport science, and economics.


North Dakota

University of North Dakota

Location: Grand Forks, ND

Undergraduate student population: 11,000

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 205

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 112


University of North Dakota has a strong liberal arts foundation and abundant research opportunities. The university is recognized for research and development of unmanned aircraft systems, rural health and petroleum engineering. UND has one of the best wellness centers in the nation and was ranked by Greatist.com as one of the healthiest colleges in the United States. Popular majors at the University of North Dakota include psychology, nursing, airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew, and speech communication and rhetoric.


Ohio

Ohio State University - Columbus

Location: Columbus, OH

Undergraduate student population: 45,946

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 56

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 17


Ohio State University ranks 56th for national universities by U.S. News and World Report. It’s also recognized as a top-rated academic medical center and a premier cancer hospital and research center. The Ohio State College of Medicine improves health in local communities by transforming scientific discoveries into clinical therapies. Students can choose from more than 160 undergraduate majors or design their own through the Personalized Study Program. The school has a high retention rate of 94 percent and the 4-year graduation rate is 59 percent.


Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University

Location: Stillwater, OK

Undergraduate student population: 20,978

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 157

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 80


Oklahoma State University offers 200 undergraduate majors and options, 79 master’s programs, and 45 doctoral programs. If students are unsure of what path they want to take, they can take an assessment test to help them figure it out. The university’s honors college curriculum is among the top 10 in the nation, per the book Inside Honors. Oklahoma State University faculty and staff work closely with students to provide them with hands-on experience and mentoring that cultivates intellectual capabilities, creativity and entrepreneurial skills.


Oregon

University of Oregon

Location: Eugene, OR

Undergraduate student population: 19,340

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 102

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 45


The University of Oregon has more than 310 academic programs for students to choose from. It is centered around its College of Arts and Sciences, which means that every student graduates with a broad liberal arts and sciences degree regardless of major. The university’s Robert D. Clark Honors College is the oldest honors college in the United States with about 800 students that take advantage of its scholarships, networking, and seminars. The most popular majors at the University of Oregon include business, journalism, social sciences, psychology, and economics.


Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

Location: University Park, PA

Undergraduate student population: 40,835

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 59

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 20


Pennsylvania State University has a three-fold mission: Teaching, research, and public service. Researchers have tackled issues such as the malaria parasite and how climate change may affect it, water quality in the Chesapeake watershed, and more. The university’s 4-year graduation rate is 67 percent and freshman retention rate is 93 percent. In an effort to bolster entrepreneurship and economic development in areas touched by Penn State’s campuses, the university funded 21 innovation hubs as part of its Invent Penn State initiative.


Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

Location: Kingston, RI

Undergraduate student population: 15,092

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 157

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 80


The University of Rhode Island began as an agricultural school and today offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and more than 80 graduate programs. Seventy six nations are represented in the student body, and 20 percent of newly admitted students and more than 18 percent of tenured faculty identify as people of color. University of Rhode Island is committed to the advancement of research. Since 2007, more than $900 million has been invested in campus projects which included new facilities for chemistry and forensic science, pharmacy, and communications.


South Carolina

Clemson University

Location: Clemson, SC

Undergraduate student population: 19,402

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 157

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 24


Clemson University is one of the most selective public research universities in the country, with an acceptance rate of 47 percent, and high student satisfaction with a freshman retention rate of 93 percent. Clemson is an R1 Carnegie research university and focuses on subjects such as sustainable environment, cyberinfrastructure and big data science, health innovation, human resilience, and more. According to Princeton Review, Clemson is the 15th best university with regard to internship opportunities. Students tend to major in engineering, business, management, biological and biomedical sciences, and health professions.


South Dakota

South Dakota State University

Location: Brookings, SD

Undergraduate student population: 10,896

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 226

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 129


South Dakota State University is large enough to have a big campus feel but not too large that students feel lost, according to its website. There are more than 200 student organizations, 180 plus undergraduate majors, and more than 50 graduate programs for students to immerse themselves in. There are also online programs and a study abroad program that range from one week to a full academic year. South Dakota State University’s research began with the creation of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and today, the university’s research promotes economic development, academic programs, and provides valuable experience for students.


Tennessee

University of Tennessee

Location: Knoxville, TN

Undergraduate student population: 22,317

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 115

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 52


The University of Tennessee manages the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory where students can work with faculty to find research solutions to problems in energy and security. Its supply chain management/logistics concentration within the business program ranks 6th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Students initiated a “green fee” in 2005, which increased the student facilities fee to establish funding for green power and campus sustainability initiatives. The university has been recognized by the EPA as the largest higher education purchaser of green power through the Green Power Partnership program.


Texas

University of Texas - Austin

Location: Austin, TX

Undergraduate student population: 40,492

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 49

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 15


The University of Texas is a very large research university with degree offerings to match: Four hundred undergraduate and graduate degree programs across 18 colleges and schools. In addition to being in the top 20 best public schools in the country, UT Austin is also ranked 49th in national universities by U.S. News and World Report. The university’s McCombs School of Business ranks 19th for best business schools and 8th for part-time MBA programs. The student to faculty ratio matches the national of 18:1, despite the extremely large student population.

 

Utah

University of Utah

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Undergraduate student population: 24,635

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 119

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 56


The University of Utah has several prominent schools and colleges including their college of law, ranked 47th in the nation and college of engineering, ranked 55th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The School of Medicine is the only medical school in the state and is also regarded for its primary care. William Devries, an alumnus of the School of Medicine, performed the first artificial heart transplant on a human patient. The student to faculty ratio is very low at 3.4:1, which can be an important factor in student success.


Vermont

University of Vermont

Location: Burlington, VT

Undergraduate student population: 11,339

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 96

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 42


Along with traditional indoor classrooms, the University of Vermont has unique outdoor classroom settings. The cutting-edge Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory is a waterfront campus with a floating classroom on Lake Champlain. While there, students can also study lake ecology on the Melosira, a 45-ft long research boat. Ninety-two percent of seniors report being involved in research, an internship or other experience-based learning during their time at the University of Vermont and 95 students have won or been finalists in scholarship competitions like the Fulbright and Goldwater in the last five years.


Virginia

University of Virginia

Location: Charlottesville, VA

Undergraduate student population: 16,655

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 25

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 3


The University of Virginia ranks 25th in National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, and has several high-ranking specialized areas of study. The Darden School of Business is ranked 12th in the country and the School of Engineering and Applied Science ranks 41st for best engineering schools. The university’s research centers include the Center for Applied Biomechanics, which studies impact and injury that high-speed car crashes cause, and the Center for Safe and Secure Nuclear Energy. Popular majors at the University of Virginia include economics, biology/biological sciences, business/commerce, international relations and affairs, and psychology.


Washington

University of Washington

Location: Seattle, WA

Undergraduate student population: 31,331

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 59

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 20


Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest public universities on the west coast. It has a low acceptance rate of 46 percent and a high 4-year graduation rate of 65 percent. The university is associated with seven Nobel Prize wins; has 296 research centers including the Asian Law Center, Autism Center, Cancer Vaccine Institute, and Center for AIDS research. It was also ranked 10th by U.S. News and World Report for Best Global Universities.


West Virginia

West Virginia University

Location: Morgantown, WV

Undergraduate student population: 22,504

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 205

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 112


West Virginia University alumni include 49 Fulbright, 45 Goldwater, 23 Truman, 49 Gilman, 22 Boren and 25 Rhodes scholars. The university has a strong research program with focus on STEM education, rural healthcare, natural resources utilization, and radio astronomy, to name a few. West Virginia University has one of the first accredited forensic science programs in the United States, and the largest crime scene training complex in the country. Students typically major in engineering, business, management, marketing, communication, journalism, social sciences, and biological and biomedical Sciences.


Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Location: Madison, WI

Undergraduate student population: 32,196

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 49

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 15


The University of Wisconsin-Madison is 6th in the nation among universities for volume of research, with annual research expenditures of more than $1.2 billion. Research centers include the Institute on Aging, Aquatic Sciences Center, Center for Child and Family Well-being, Cardiovascular Research Center, and more. The University of Wisconsin offers 130 undergraduate majors, 144 masters, 14 professional degree programs, and 109 doctoral degrees. According to a 2015 study, 65 percent of job growth in the United States since 2010 is the result of partnerships between advanced industries and research institutions like University of Wisconsin-Madison.  


Wyoming

University of Wyoming

Location: Laramie, WY

Undergraduate student population: 9,791

U.S. News and World Report Overall National Universities Ranking: No. 183

U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools ranking: No. 99


The University of Wyoming offers almost 200 areas of study and popular majors include nursing, psychology, elementary education and teaching, criminal justice/safety studies, and petroleum engineering. The university has a robust research program, focusing on the interface between science and technology, environment and natural resources, arts and language, and more. Students are encouraged to get involved in research, and a number of scholarships exist to facilitate this. Examples include the McNair Scholars program which prepares students from groups that are typically underrepresented in graduate school for eventual success in doctoral degree programs, and the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, which includes research fellowships and internships for students.



Public universities offer many benefits to students like lower tuition costs, wide range of degree offerings, and cutting edge facilities like science labs, teaching hospitals, and libraries. Students who emerge from these schools are hardworking, talented, and ready for the workforce. Make sure to include these top-ranked public universities in your recruitment strategies.


Download our guide “Beyond The Ivy League” for more information on expanding your recruitment reach and finding students at the top public schools, HBCUs, and HSIs.


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