Wisconsin’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in Wisconsin. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you.

Wisconsin’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Wisconsin has 30 public schools. All the public schools in Wisconsin have affordable tuitions, ranging from $4,000 to $11,000. The University of Wisconsin – Madison has over 35,000 students in attendance, making it the largest in the state. The tuition runs about $11,000, and the school boasts an 85% graduation rate. Public affairs, veterinary medicine, and human ecology are just some of the fields students can study here.

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Of Wisconsin’s 29 private schools, 18 are religious. With just under 10,000 students, Marquette University is the largest, and tuition for this school is about $42,000. Located in Milwaukee, this Catholic, Jesuit university offers degrees in fields like business, engineering, physical therapy, and law. Also located in Milwaukee, the state’s smallest institution, the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology, is a private graduate school with just over 30 students, and is geared toward those earning their doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Wisconsin, like many states, also provides a loan forgiveness program to those who are working in the health care field.

When people think Wisconsin, they might immediately crave cheese. After all, the state is home to a museum dedicated to all things cheese, including the annual making of a 90-pound wheel of Swiss. But The Beaver State is also known for its more than 15,000 lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Prospective students looking to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree will enjoy the food, landscape, and educational variety Wisconsin has to offer.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s higher education opportunities by checking out the state’s variety of colleges and universities.


What are Wisconsin’s Colleges & Universities?

Wisconsin’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Wisconsin's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.


Every fall, more than 2 million high-school graduates will enroll in colleges and universities across the United States. Finding the best college for your educational, personal, and professional goals may be challenging. The purpose of this ranking is to help you manage this challenge with an accurate, objective, and up-to-date ranking of the best colleges and universities in Wisconsin for earning a bachelor’s degree.

We’ve identified a total of 33 colleges and universities in Wisconsin, 32 of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best schools in the state focuses on those that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, includes both public and private colleges and universities, and also meet the following two conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

Best Colleges & Universities in Wisconsin

  1. #1

    University of Wisconsin–Madison

    #24 institution's historical influence
    #216 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/29

    Madison, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Madison known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Madison’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Medical
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Marquette University

    #382 institution's historical influence
    #475 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/26

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Marquette University known for?

    Marquette University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • History
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    Beloit College

    #757 institution's historical influence
    #297 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1230/27

    Beloit, WI

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    What is Beloit College known for?

    Beloit College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Anthropology
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Ripon College

    #2712 institution's historical influence
    #314 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $47K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Ripon, WI

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    What is Ripon College known for?

    Ripon College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Physics

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Lawrence University

    #734 institution's historical influence
    #744 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1315/28

    Appleton, WI

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    What is Lawrence University known for?

    Lawrence University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
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  6. #6

    Milwaukee School of Engineering

    #1765 institution's historical influence
    #1408 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $44K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/27

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Milwaukee School of Engineering known for?

    Milwaukee School of Engineering’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Medical
  7. #7

    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

    #429 institution's historical influence
    #1407 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    22K

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Social Work
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    Mount Mary University

    #6703 institution's historical influence
    #1213 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    935/18

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Mount Mary University known for?

    Mount Mary University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Business
    • History
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Nursing
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    St. Norbert College

    #3978 institution's historical influence
    #418 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    De Pere, WI

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    What is St. Norbert College known for?

    St. Norbert College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Religious Studies
    • Computer Science
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    Edgewood College

    #3284 institution's historical influence
    #1002 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    Madison, WI

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    What is Edgewood College known for?

    Edgewood College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • History
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
  11. #11

    Northland College

    #6032 institution's historical influence
    #788 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    <1K

    Ashland, WI

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    What is Northland College known for?

    Northland College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Engineering
    • Religious Studies
    • Earth Sciences
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Cardinal Stritch University

    #4457 institution's historical influence
    #693 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Cardinal Stritch University known for?

    Cardinal Stritch University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Criminal Justice
  13. #13

    Carroll University

    #2816 institution's historical influence
    #1072 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    Waukesha, WI

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    What is Carroll University known for?

    Carroll University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • History
    • Education
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point

    #2450 institution's historical influence
    #1455 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    7K

    Stevens Point, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Medical
    • History
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #15

    Maranatha Baptist University

    #9876 institution's historical influence
    #160 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1105/22

    Watertown, WI

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    What is Maranatha Baptist University known for?

    Maranatha Baptist University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Marian University

    #6525 institution's historical influence
    #813 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    980/19

    Fond Du Lac, WI

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    What is Marian University known for?

    Marian University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Education
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

    #3800 institution's historical influence
    #1386 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    6K

    Green Bay, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Green Bay known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Green Bay’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  18. #18

    University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

    #2127 institution's historical influence
    #1259 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    10K

    Eau Claire, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. #19

    Alverno College

    #5253 institution's historical influence
    #1242 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    1K

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Alverno College known for?

    Alverno College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Philosophy
  20. #20

    University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh

    #2325 institution's historical influence
    #1357 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    10K

    Oshkosh, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #21

    Carthage College

    #2987 institution's historical influence
    #390 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/24

    Kenosha, WI

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    What is Carthage College known for?

    Carthage College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • History
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
  22. #22

    Concordia University Wisconsin

    #3823 institution's historical influence
    #1123 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    4K

    Mequon, WI

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    What is Concordia University Wisconsin known for?

    Concordia University Wisconsin’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Business
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. #23

    University of Wisconsin–Whitewater

    #2811 institution's historical influence
    #1239 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    11K

    Whitewater, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Whitewater known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Whitewater’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #24

    University of Wisconsin–Stout

    #6505 institution's historical influence
    #1465 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    7K

    Menomonie, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Stout known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Stout’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  25. #25

    University of Wisconsin–Superior

    #6881 institution's historical influence
    #1053 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    Superior, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Superior known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Superior’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Business
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  26. #26

    University of Wisconsin–River Falls

    #2647 institution's historical influence
    #1066 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    5K

    River Falls, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–River Falls known for?

    University of Wisconsin–River Falls’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  27. #27

    Lakeland University

    #8508 institution's historical influence
    #932 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    982/19

    Plymouth, WI

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    What is Lakeland University known for?

    Lakeland University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  28. #28

    Viterbo University

    #5507 institution's historical influence
    #1151 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $29K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/23

    La Crosse, WI

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    What is Viterbo University known for?

    Viterbo University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  29. #29

    University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

    #2821 institution's historical influence
    #1128 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    10K

    La Crosse, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–La Crosse known for?

    University of Wisconsin–La Crosse’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  30. #30

    Wisconsin Lutheran College

    #10960 institution's historical influence
    #1198 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1155/24

    Milwaukee, WI

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    What is Wisconsin Lutheran College known for?

    Wisconsin Lutheran College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  31. #31

    University of Wisconsin–Platteville

    #4884 institution's historical influence
    #1354 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

    Platteville, WI

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    What is University of Wisconsin–Platteville known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Platteville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  32. #32

    Holy Family College

    #10559 institution's historical influence
    #943 overall school desirability

    Acceptance

    51%

    Graduation

    59%

    Median SAT/ACT

    988/18

    Manitowoc, WI

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    What is Holy Family College known for?

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