Elon University is ranked #88 among the nation’s most prestigious comprehensive universities, with a #2 ranking for excellence in undergraduate teaching for the second straight year and a #10 ranking for Most Innovative National University. The 2021 rankings are included in the annual U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guide.

Best Colleges US News and World Report Logo

For the second straight year, Elon is ranked #2 in the nation for excellence in teaching.

As the #2 ranked National University for undergraduate teaching, Elon trails only Brown University and joins a group of outstanding universities committed to teaching excellence, including Georgia State University, Princeton University, the College of William & Mary, Rice University, Dartmouth College, Boston College, Duke University and Stanford University.

Schools in the National Universities category offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs. Elon moved to the category in 2019 after it was classified as a Doctoral/Professional University by the Carnegie Classification of Colleges. The top schools in the National Universities category this year are (in rank order) Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, California Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern University.

#55Private National Universities
90%First-Year Student Retention Rate
#22in Alumni Giving
12-1Student-Faculty Ratio

Elon is also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #10 Most Innovative National University. Schools in the top-10 include Arizona State University-Tempe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University-West Lafayette, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Duke University is ranked #14, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#50), North Carolina A&T State University (#68) and North Carolina State University (#68).

Elon is ranked #88 overall and #55 among private National Universities based on strong scores in several areas of the U.S. News “Best Colleges” methodology. Elon ranks #22 in alumni annual financial support, #64 in graduation and student retention rates, with 90 percent of first-year students returning for their sophomore year and 85 percent going on to graduate within six years. Elon is one of only 10 schools with zero percent of classes larger than 50 students.

I am especially proud of Elon’s #2 national ranking for teaching excellence,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “This is a defining characteristic of our university and that has been especially apparent this year. Elon’s highly skilled faculty, with the support of staff across the university, have created innovative and effective approaches to teaching and learning during the pandemic. In the most difficult circumstances, Elon is again setting the standard for student success in the classroom and beyond.

Connie Ledoux Book, Elon University president

For the sixth straight year, Elon is the leader in the “Focus on Student Success” feature – the only college or university ranked in the top-20 in all eight categories of high-impact academic programs.

  • #1 Learning Communities
  • #1 Study Abroad
  • #2 First-Year Experiences
  • #2 Senior Capstone
  • #2 Service Learning
  • #7 Internships/Co-ops
  • #10 Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects
  • #19 Writing in the Disciplines

With Elon ranked in the top-20 in eight categories, Duke University was ranked in the top-20 in seven categories; Yale University and Agnes Scott College in six categories; and Stanford University, Amherst College, Brown University and Princeton University in five categories.

Top-10 National Universities recognized for excellence in undergraduate teaching:

  • #1 Brown University
  • #2 Elon University
  • #3 Georgia State University
  • #4 Princeton University
  • #5 College of William & Mary
  • #6 Rice University
  • #7 Dartmouth College
  • #8 Boston College
  • #9 Duke University
  • #9 Stanford University

Top-10 “Most Innovative” National Universities:

  • #1 Arizona State University-Tempe
  • #2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • #3 Georgia State University
  • #4 Georgia Institute of Technology
  • #5 Purdue University-West Lafayette
  • #6 Stanford University
  • #7 California Institute of Technology
  • #8 Carnegie Mellon University
  • #9 University of Maryland-Baltimore County
  • #10 Elon University

North Carolina colleges and universities in the National Universities category:

  • #12 Duke University
  • #28 Wake Forest University
  • #28 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • #80 North Carolina State University
  • #88 Elon University
  • #187 University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • #217 East Carolina University
  • #227 University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • #258 Campbell University
  • #258 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • #272 North Carolina A&T State University
  • #284 Gardner-Webb University
  • #298-389 Wingate University