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U.S. News & World Report Ranks UC San Diego 8th Best Public University in Nation

Campus moved up two spots, compared to last year, and named nation’s 15th best colleges for veterans


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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The U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges Guidebook ranks the University of California San Diego the nation’s 8th best public university, up two spots compared to last year. The school also ranks 15th among the best colleges for veterans for participating in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

“UC San Diego continues to gain recognition for providing students with rich, equitable and flexible opportunities to learn and grow,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The university’s excellence is demonstrated in our student-centered, holistic approach to education. We aim to support and empower students so they can thrive as agents of change well beyond their years at the university.”

Overall, the publication rates the university 35th best among private and public colleges in the nation. U.S. News also touts the campus’ Jacobs School of Engineering, which is named 22nd among public engineering schools that offer doctorates. Programs within the school that rank in the nation’s top 10 include biocomputing/bioinformatics/biotechnology (2nd) biomedical (8th) and cybersecurity (9th).

This summer, bioengineers at the school recently developed a non-invasive blood test that can detect whether an individual has one of five common types of cancers, four years before the condition can be diagnosed with current methods. The test detects stomach, esophageal, colorectal, lung and liver cancer.

The campus has spearheaded other health intervention discoveries recently. A study from the UC San Diego School of Medicine found thousands of social media posts on two popular platforms — Twitter and Instagram — tied to financial scams and possible counterfeit goods specific to COVID-19 products and unapproved treatments. The study helps communities better identify information from health care leaders and government officials to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, members of the campus community will be better equipped to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 as part of a voluntary pilot program that uses Apple and Google smartphone technology to quickly notify individuals when a COVID-19 exposure may have occurred. The pilot is supported by the UC San Diego Return to Learn initiative and is one of the several tools the university community will be invited to use on a voluntary basis to help detect and prevent the spread of the virus.

U.S. News and World Report releases its Best Colleges rankings each fall. Now in its 36th year, the rankings assess U.S. bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. The latest edition evaluated 1,452 institutions across 17 measures of academic quality. Measures include retention and graduation rates, social mobility, faculty resources and academic reputation.

Data for the rankings was pulled from fall 2019 and earlier, so the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect school data submission. To account for the pandemic, the rankings reduced emphasis on admissions and alumni giving data.

UC San Diego consistently performs well is a variety of national and international rankings. Most recently, campus was named the country’s 14th best university by they 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). And it was again named the number one public university in the nation by Washington Monthly based on the university's contributions to social mobility, research and service.

For more information about the U.S. News Best Colleges guidebook, go to the publication’s website at For more information about UC San Diego’s rankings, go to the Campus Profile at

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