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Iowa surpasses Harvard, Princeton as No. 2 for writing

Sep 12, 2022
Books at the University's Dey House

The University of Iowa is tied with Yale as the No. 2 university in the country for writing, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report. Iowa is the only public university in the top 10, behind No. 1 Brown University, and is ahead of universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Duke, and Princeton.

The ranking, which debuted in 2020, recognizes the importance of teaching writing and communication in all disciplines. In 2020, Iowa was 13th overall, and in 2021 was No. 10. For the third consecutive year, Iowa is the top-ranked public institution.

Strong writing and communication skills in any field of study help students find success when they enter the job market or apply to graduate school.

“If you look at what most employers want these days, it’s what I call higher-order skills, and those are typically related to communication: How well you work in teams, how clearly you express yourself, and how effectively you use analytical skills in problem-solving situations,” says UI President Barbara Wilson. “The emphasis on writing and communication at Iowa benefits all students.”

Iowa is known as “The Writing University” largely because of world-renowned graduate programs such as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Nonfiction Writing Program, but the university’s commitment to helping all students build strong writing and communication skills is evident across campus and in every field of study.

“This ranking reflects the breadth of our commitment to writing excellence at Iowa,” says Kevin Kregel, executive vice president and provost. “The world knows us for our unparalleled writing programs, but we are just as proud of the writing-related resources we provide to all students, whatever their field of study. Employers care about writing and communication skills, and they know graduates from Iowa bring those skills to their organizations.”

In the annual US News & World Report 2023 Best Colleges rankings, Iowa is 83rd among all public and private universities, the same ranking it received last year, and 35th among publics, a slight dip from last year’s No. 33 slot. Iowa also continues to be among the colleges and universities named as a best value.

In the College of Nursing, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is ranked ninth, up one spot from last year.

In undergraduate business programs, the Tippie College of Business ranks 34th, up two spots from last year, with its accounting program jumping 15 spots to 35th overall.

In undergraduate engineering programs at universities that also offer doctoral programs, Iowa is ranked 68th. According to the report, research at the graduate level often influences the undergraduate curriculum, and engineering schools with doctoral programs tend to have the widest possible range of undergraduate engineering courses and program offerings.

In undergraduate computer science programs, Iowa ranked No. 65, up six spots from last year. A fast-growing course of study within Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, its graduates join many computer and technology-related professions that are identified as in-need across the state of Iowa.

The rankings also list Iowa as 51st on the Best Colleges for Veterans list.

The full rankings and methodology can be found on the U.S. News website.