September 14, 2020

U.S. News & World Report rankings: Purdue nation’s 5th-most innovative school

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is the fifth-most innovative school in the country in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, released Monday (Sept. 14). It’s a one-spot improvement over last year’s rankings, with Purdue overtaking Stanford University for the fifth spot.

The annual Best Colleges rankings compared more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics. Overall, Purdue ranked 53rd among all institutions, up four spots from the previous year, and 17th among public institutions, up one spot from 2019.

In other recent rankings, Purdue was No. 4 on CNBC’s 2020 list of the top public U.S. colleges that pay off the most. Purdue also was ranked third in startup creation in an IP Watchdog Institute report.


In the U.S. News innovation ranking, Purdue is the only Indiana institution among the top 50 and the only Big Ten Conference school in the top 10.

The ranking for most innovative was based on a survey of peers. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to nominate up to 15 colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. These rankings enable top college officials to pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes the colleges are making on their campuses.

Purdue is regarded for its persistent pursuit of innovation where people bring their best and learn to build a better world together. Its pillars of affordability and accessibility, online learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) leadership, transformative education and world-changing research support its land-grant mission, as captured in the University’s mantra, “The Next Giant Leap” (see YouTube video highlighting Purdue pillars).

“Ingenuity and innovation is a large part of what defines Purdue,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity. “It is what attracts some of the most promising students around the world and brings some of the finest faculty and staff to West Lafayette. Purdue provides opportunity at all levels … to create, to innovate, to try – and fail – and to try again. We’re very proud of the role we play in bringing solutions to the world’s challenges – small and large.”

Only Arizona State University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology topped Purdue on the most innovative list. After Purdue in the fifth spot, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Elon University rounded out the top 10.

In other undergraduate rankings, Purdue’s College of Engineering continues to be ranked in the top 10 of the country at No. 9. Four engineering disciplines are among the nation’s top five in specialty rankings, including a 10th straight No. 1 ranking for agricultural and biological engineering. Industrial engineering is at No. 2, while civil engineering is at No. 3. Aeronautical and astronautical engineering is ranked fifth.

“The consistency Purdue Engineering has shown as a top-10 national program is gratifying,” said acting dean Mark Lundstrom. “To have four specialty programs ranked in the top five, led, of course, by the persistent No. 1 ranking of agricultural and biological engineering, is a credit to our overall engineering program. Purdue engineers are highly sought, both in state, and around the nation.”

Agricultural and biological engineering, a department in both the colleges of Engineering and Agriculture, represents a partnership that has led to the department’s internationally recognized contributions (College of Agriculture release).

“Our colleges work together to support extraordinary faculty whose prominence as researchers is matched by their commitment to their students,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. 

In the overall ranking, Purdue’s rank of No. 53 is tied with Ohio State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Santa Clara and Villanova University. The 17th ranking among public schools is tied with Ohio State.

In other rankings of note:

Co-ops and Internships: No. 13. Purdue is the only Indiana or Big Ten institution ranked in the top 20.

Computer Sciences: No. 20 (tied with Harvey Mudd College, Johns Hopkins University, Rice University and Yale University).

Best Colleges for Veterans: No. 27 (tied with Ohio State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer: Tom Schott, 765-427-1721,

Media Contact: Jim Bush, 765-336-1909,

Sources: Jay Akridge,

Mark Lundstrom,

Karen Plaut,

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