Wisconsin’s Best Research Universities of 2021

Interested in attending a STEM school in Wisconsin? Our ranking of top research universities for bachelor’s degrees displays schools that will best prepare you for STEM careers.

Wisconsin’s Best Research 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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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

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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.

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

A research university is a great option for students interested in obtaining STEM degrees. Research universities invest heavily in research, which consequently provides meaningful and extensive opportunities for its students and faculty to participate in research. There are 6 research universities in Wisconsin, all of which satisfy our criteria. The list below of the best research universities in the state satisfies the following four conditions:

  1. It must be a fully accredited university.
  2. It must offer doctoral degrees across the range of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
  3. It must report high levels of research activity based upon the number of research and/or practice doctorates awarded each year.
  4. It must have a graduation rate of greater than 40%.

Best Research Universities in Wisconsin for Undergraduates

  1. #24 of 3,439 Influence
    Rank
    #216 of 3,439 Desirability
    Rank

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/29

    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

    Milwaukee , WI
    #382 of 3,439 Influence
    Rank
    #475 of 3,439 Desirability
    Rank

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1220/26

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  3. #429 of 3,439 Influence
    Rank
    #1407 of 3,439 Desirability
    Rank

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    22K

    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

  4. #4

    Edgewood College

    Madison , WI
    #3284 of 3,439 Influence
    Rank
    #1002 of 3,439 Desirability
    Rank

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1080/22

    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
  5. #4457 of 3,439 Influence
    Rank
    #693 of 3,439 Desirability
    Rank

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/20

    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
  6. #3823 of 3,439 Influence
    Rank
    #1123 of 3,439 Desirability
    Rank

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    4K

    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

Find the Best Research Universities in Wisconsin for your Major

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Photo By: Rosina Peixoto - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

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