Elon University has stepped up to the National Universities category in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guide, earning a #84 ranking among the most prestigious comprehensive universities.

Elon is ranked #2 in the nation for excellence in teaching.

The “Best Colleges” guide ranks Elon #1 for study abroad, #2 for excellence in undergraduate teaching, #11 for innovation and the national leader in eight academic programs focused on student success.

This is Elon’s first ranking in the National Universities category of schools that provide a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs. Elon moved to the category 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, MIT, Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern, Duke and Johns Hopkins.

#51Private National Universities
90%First-Year Student Retention Rate
#26in Alumni Giving
12-1Student-Faculty Ratio

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

Elon is also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #11 Most Innovative National University. Schools in the top-10 include Arizona State, MIT, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Cal Tech. Among North Carolina schools, Duke University is ranked #26, North Carolina State University is ranked #31 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is ranked #63.

Elon is ranked #84 overall and #51 among private National Universities based on strong scores in several areas of the U.S. News “Best Colleges” methodology. Elon is one of only 12 schools with zero percent of classes larger than 50 students, and ranks #26 in alumni annual financial support, #64 in faculty resources, and #69 in graduation and student retention rates.

In this inaugural move from #1 Regional University in the South to the National Universities category, Elon has assumed a new level of leadership. We are especially proud that U.S. News & World Report and higher education leaders across the country have recognized Elon for quality teaching and mentorship and highlighted the excellence of Elon’s academic programs that prepare students to thrive and succeed.

Connie Ledoux Book, Elon University president

For the fifth straight year, Elon is the leader in the U.S. News “Focus on Student Success” feature – the only college or university in the nation recognized for excellence in all eight categories of high-impact academic programs.

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

Other colleges and universities recognized in multiple categories include Duke in seven programs; Stanford and Agnes Scott in six programs; and Amherst, Brown, Princeton, Yale and Carleton in five programs.

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

  • #1 Princeton University
  • #2 Elon University
  • #3 Brown University
  • #3 Georgia State University
  • #5 College of William & Mary
  • #5 Dartmouth College
  • #7 Boston College
  • #8 Miami University-Oxford (Ohio)
  • #8 Rice University
  • #10 Arizona State University-Tempe

Top-15 “Most Innovative” National Universities:

  • #1 Arizona State University-Tempe
  • #2 Georgia State University
  • #3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • #4 Georgia Institute of Technology
  • #5 Stanford University
  • #6 Purdue University-West Lafayette
  • #7 Carnegie Mellon University
  • #8 California Institute of Technology
  • #9 Northeastern University
  • #9 University of Maryland-Baltimore County
  • #11 Elon University
  • #12 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • #12 University of Texas-Austin
  • #14 University of California-Berkeley
  • #15 Brown University

North Carolina colleges and universities in the National Universities category:

  • #10 Duke University
  • #27 Wake Forest University
  • #29 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • #84 Elon University
  • #84 North Carolina State University
  • #185 University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • #228 East Carolina University
  • #228 University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • #272 Campbell University
  • #272 University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • #281 Gardner-Webb University
  • #281 North Carolina A&T State University
  • #293-381 Wingate University