Rankings and Recognition
College rankings and guidebooks can provide useful information in helping to find the school that is the best fit for you.
1 of 44 Colleges That Change Lives
U.S. News & World Report
The Princeton Review
U.S. News & World Report
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review
Fiske Guide to Colleges
Georgetown’s Center of Education and the Workforce
Rankings and guidebooks are based both on hard data and on opinion. Ursinus is transparent about the information published about us. Please ask our admission counselors if you have a question about a ranking or information contained in a guidebook.
Colleges That Change Lives
Ursinus is among 44 Colleges That Change Lives, a book in which colleges are cited for their ability to help their students succeed. Originally written by the late Loren Pope, the book is now revised by Hilary Masell Oswald.
“Ursinus is a star of the first magnitude in the small galaxy of colleges that change lives,” the book says. “Each student has his or her own tale of transformation.”
The book notes a growth in students’ skills and self-confidence during their four years at Ursinus, and describes “how their aspirations rise, and how their perspectives broaden.” It praises Ursinus professors: “The dedication to teaching is legendary.” It states that Ursinus students have in common “civility, character, and an eagerness to learn.” More Details
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
A 2022 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce that ranked 4,500 colleges and universities by return on investment (ROI) found that liberal arts colleges outperform other institutions by more than $200,000 over the long term. Higher still is Ursinus College’s ROI, which is 29% more than the median for all liberal arts colleges, placing Ursinus in the top 6% of all colleges and universities in the nation.
With a national ranking of 249 out of 4,500 colleges and a state ranking of 27, an Ursinus College degree has an ROI of $1.355 million over 40 years. More Details
“As one first-year student brags…’I receive…[so much] attention that [it] makes it feel as though I have a SEAL team of Ph.D.s looking out for me, and that is truly amazing.’”
- Princeton Review 2023
U.S. News Best Colleges
U.S. News and World Report once again named Ursinus to its list of top liberal arts colleges. Ranked 86th—and tied for 12th in Pennsylvania—for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges, Ursinus shares the spot with two other schools.
U.S. News and World Report published its first-ever ranking of medium to large undergraduate economics programs. The rankings are based solely on the judgments of department chairs and senior faculty members in economics departments at institutions around the country who participated in a peer assessment survey. Ursinus is one of 309 colleges and universities—less than 20 of which are in Pennsylvania—included on the inaugural list of Best Undergraduate Economics Programs.
Ursinus was also named to the guide’s list of Best Value Schools (ranked 63rd), and ranked No. 96 (12th in the state) on the list of Top Performers on Social Mobility, sharing the spot with two other colleges.
The Princeton Review
Ursinus is among the best colleges in the nation, according to the Princeton Review’s 2024 edition of The Best 389 Colleges. Ursinus is also deemed a “Best Mid-Atlantic” college and one of the nation’s top “Green Colleges.” Information in the most recent edition is based both on a statistical survey and student comments.
The book says Ursinus “has done a remarkable job of building a close-knit community dedicated to helping students succeed, with strong academics and plenty of opportunities for leadership.” It commends our focus on research and small class size. “As one first-year student brags…’I receive…[so much] attention that [it] makes it feel as though I have a SEAL team of Ph.D.s looking out for me, and that is truly amazing.’”
Ursinus also gets high marks for “professors accessible” (rated 95 on a scale of 60 to 99). Says one student, “I’ve gone into some professors’ office hours three times a week for the entirety of the semester, I’ve had professors come in on Sundays to help, and I’ve been to their houses for dinner…I’ve grown substantially…with their help.”
This is “a campus filled with motivated students and professors who worked toward every student’s success.”
Ursinus has been named one of the top 20 schools in Washington Monthly’s 2023 rankings of liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Ursinus was ranked 10th in the “Bachelor’s to Ph.D.” and “Research” categories among the state’s liberal arts colleges. Since 2005, Washington Monthly has ranked colleges based on what they do for the country. Liberal arts colleges are ranked based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.D.s), and promoting public service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). Details on methodology can be found here.
Fiske Guide to Colleges
The 2024 edition of the Fiske Guide highlights more than 300 of the country’s “best and most interesting” colleges and universities. The guide is quick to call out the benefits of our small close-knit size: “the plus side is more attention from faculty and more emphasis on independent and outside-the-box learning.” It also notes that Ursinus has “reinvigorated its liberal arts roots—expanding its offerings and restructuring its core curriculum,” Quest: Open Questions Open Minds.
“Ursinus’s culture is one of inquisitive learning through experimentation and discussion with peers that brings students together,” says one senior.
In terms of facilities, the guide gives a nod to the Innovation and Discovery Center, the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center, the Victorian-era homes that make up our Residential Village, and the “generously sized rooms” in the dorms for first-year students.
The Summer Fellows program, Experiential Learning Experience (XLP), Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies, Melrose Center for Global Civic Engagement, Philadelphia Experience (PhillyX), and the Common Intellectual Experience are all noted as hallmarks of the Ursinus experience.
Ursinus is one of America’s Top Colleges, ranking in the top 25 of private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in Pennsylvania on the most recent list. Using data on student success, return on investment, and alumni influence, Forbes “spotlights the 500 U.S. colleges that check all the boxes: impressive graduation rates, high graduate salaries, and great outcomes for low-income students, to name a few.”
Ursinus also ranks:
– 230 in private colleges
– 113 in liberal arts colleges
– 153 in the Northeast
Specifics about metrics such as alumni salary, debt, graduation rate, return on investment, retention rate, and academic success can be found here.
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ranks Ursinus No. 201 of all colleges and universities in the United States—and 16th in the state, ahead of Penn State and Temple—in its list of 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S.
Collaborating with College Pulse and Statista for the first time since they began ranking colleges and universities in 2016, WSJ ranked 400 schools based on based on three factors: student outcomes, which includes analysis of graduation rates, graduate salaries, and the cost of attendance against salary performance; learning environment, which is based on a student and alumni survey that gathered views on topics such as the quality and frequency of learning opportunities and career preparation, and satisfaction with learning facilities; and diversity, which combines metrics about the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and disability status of students and faculty with the experiences of students on campus via the survey. More information on the methodology is here.
Ursinus was ranked No. 2 in Pennsylvania—and No. 31 in the nation—on LendEDU’s list of Best Colleges for Financial Aid in 2020. Each year, LendEDU uses data from the Peterson’s Undergraduate Financial Aid Database and the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to rank which four-year colleges and universities provide the most financial aid to their students. This year’s rankings are based on data that reflects the 2018-19 academic year.
Schools were ranked according to their average financial aid offerings for need-based financial aid (60% weight), non-need-based financial aid (34% weight), and financial aid for international students (6% weight).
Ursinus had a total score of 81.326 (the highest nationally was 90.348) after recording a need-based score of 89.986, a non-need-based score of 72.207, and an international score of 46.4.
On a list of the top Consensus-ranked innovative colleges, Ursinus is ranked No. 36 out of the 50 Underrated Colleges Doing Great Things. According to their website, it’s “oftentimes the small or less prominent colleges that are the most creative, making programs and initiatives that are worth imitating, emulating, and spreading far and wide. Those are the schools and programs that College Consensus wants to highlight.”
College Consensus praises the Common Intellectual Experience: “Ursinus is notable for their model First-Year Experience program, which emphasizes intellectual development, analysis, and critical thought in an interdisciplinary mode. Built around the Common Intellectual Experience paradigm, the FYE uses freshman-only dorms, intensive seminar classes, and other methods to steep new students in inquiry.”
The site also recognizes Ursinus’s status as one of the founding institutions in Project Pericles, a nationwide consortium of select colleges and universities that “promotes civic engagement, responsible citizenship, and participatory democracy.”
Business Insider reported that Ursinus College is among the nation’s 50 underrated institutions, according to CollegeVine, a blog that serves as a resource for prospective students and their families. Ursinus was ranked No. 29 nationally and fourth among colleges in the Mid-Atlantic region earning recognition for the Common Intellectual Experience and the new Quest: Open Questions Open Minds core curriculum.
“While college rankings can do a great job of identifying specific schools that shine in traditional ways, they often don’t do as good of a job at recognizing colleges that excel in other ways,” the article states.
In College Raptor’s 2022 ranking of best colleges, Ursinus has been included on the list of Hidden Gem Colleges That Don’t Require Test Scores. This selection recognizes Ursinus as one of the best colleges in the country, based on a combination of factors, including retention rates, graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, endowment per student, selectivity, and other key metrics as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently available enrollment year. Colleges on this list prefer a more holistic approach to reviewing the college applications of potential students.
“Finding hidden gem schools for students is core to how we help families discover great college choices. We take pride in making it easy for students to make those connections through our Hidden Gems Rankings lists by highlighting excellent schools like Ursinus,” said Bill Staib, CEO of College Raptor. To qualify as a Hidden Gem, a school must receive fewer than 5,000 applications per year; have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students; offer five or more unique majors; and have a 10% acceptance rate or higher.
Ursinus College Named Best STEM Program
In 2023, College Raptor’s ranking of best colleges named Ursinus to the Hidden Gems Best STEM Programs, where we rank No. 11 nationally. Ursinus College is one of only three Pennsylvania colleges named to the top Hidden Gem STEM programs. According to College Raptor, “STEM education helps individuals become more innovative, creative, and divergent thinking. The classes focus on hands-on learning where mistakes are not only welcome, they’re expected. Exploring and experience are at the core of the courses, and this education ensures that the graduating students are meeting the current labor demand in these fields. Employment in STEM fields has grown by 79% since 1990 and is expected to grow a further 8.8% between 2017 and 2029.”
What Others are Saying
Great Books Can Heal Our Divided Campuses
Andrew Delbanco, Columbia University professor and president of the Teagle Foundation, cites the Common Intellectual experience in a Wall Street Journal column about programs where students from different backgrounds can engage in meaningful discussion. Read it here.
Berman Museum of Art’s new show puts in the work
The Philadelphia Inquirer previewed The Berman’s spring gallery of exhibitions, including Essential Work, which features a diverse group of international artists who examine questions of labor and value. Read the story.
Top 50 Women Leaders of New York for 2022
President Robyn Hannigan appears on this womenweadmire.com list, which acknowledges individuals for not only their professional achievements, but also their philanthropic and community efforts. Read it here.
Ursinus College launches new commitment to wellness on campus
Ursinus’s wellness commitment through the international Okanagan Charter was featured in a story in The Mercury. Read it here.
Wellness a Growing Push Across Universities
President Robyn Hannigan and Vice President for Health and Wellness Laura Moliken were quoted in a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer about wellbeing on college campuses. The story included coverage of Ursinus’s signing of the Okanagan Charter. Read it here.
The Growth Trends In Women’s Intercollegiate Wrestling
AthleticDirectorU featured a story about women’s wrestling that prominently included Ursinus Coach Joe Jamison and Director of Athletics Erin Stroble. Read it here.
Mathematics for Human Flourishing at Ursinus College
Nicholas Scoville, the Joseph Beardwood III Chair of Mathematics, authored a blog post for the Mathematical Association of America. Read the blog post.
Meet Ursinus’s new leader
The Philadelphia Inquirer profiled Incoming President Robyn E. Hannigan in a news story online and in print. Read it here.
The Best Higher Education Books Of 2021
A Forbes columnist included Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Higher Education, a book by Professor of Politics Jonathan Marks, on its list of best higher education books for 2021. Read the list.
At Ursinus College, all students are tested for the coronavirus every week
Ursinus College was featured in a story that ran on the front page of the local section and online in The Philadelphia Inquirer about our return to in-person instruction, testing policies for COVID-19, and our block CIE schedule.
How a Small Private College Met Its Admissions Goals
Inside Higher Ed: In a feature story, Shannon Zottola, vice president and dean of enrollment management, spoke about how Ursinus met its enrollment goals for 2020. Professors Susanna Throop and Scott Deacle were quoted about the high level of faculty engagement with prospective students.
Ursinus College receives $11 million donation, its largest, for student scholarships
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Ursinus has been featured in an article detailing the generous $11 million gift from Joan and Will Abele ’61.
Iconic Manhattan sculpture finds a new home in Collegeville, Pa.
A story about the ?Cubed Curve ?sculpture on the Ursinus campus appeared online and aired on WHYY-FM.
Several Colleges Already Teach the ‘Big Questions of Life’
An op-ed that appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education referenced Ursinus’s Common Intellectual Experience and the four questions of the core curriculum.