University of Michigan
#15 Overall Influence#37 Desirability Rank

University of Michigan

Public research university in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

By James Barham, PhD

The flagship campuses of many of the state university systems have superb faculties and excellent academic reputations. However, setting aside Berkeley as a special case, by our criteria the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus is the most distinguished of all these many fine institutions. That is, Michigan has a strong claim to be considered (after Berkeley) the best public research university in the US.

One thing in Michigan’s favor is its sheer size (more than 46,000 students and 6,000 academic staff members) and corresponding wealth (an annual research budget of around $1.5 billion). Administratively, the university is subdivided into 17 schools and colleges offering some 600 undergraduate and graduate major programs.

Another reason for Michigan’s research prowess is its truly astonishing library, containing more than 14 million individual items, including over 220,000 serials.

Michigan has some 25 Nobel Prize laureates associated with its name. Prize-winners in physics include:

  • Wolfgang Pauli
  • Charles Townes
  • Samuel Ting
  • Donald Glaser

while Robert Shiller and Lawrence Klein were Michigan-connected Nobelists in economics. In addition, the great Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, who taught at Michigan for many years after being expelled from the USSR, was a Nobelist in literature.

Many other famous people have been connected to the University of Michigan over the years, including:

  • Clarence Darrow, the famed criminal attorney who defended Nathan Leopold, Richard Loeb, and John T Scopes
  • Claude Shannon, the father of the modern theory of information
  • Distinguished poet, W.H. Auden
  • Celebrated playwright and author of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
  • Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary during World War II
  • Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the US
  • Distinguished stage and screen actor, James Earl Jones
  • Legendary dramatic soprano, Jessye Norman
  • Google co-founder, Larry Page
  • Lori Lightfoot, the current mayor of Chicago


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


503 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor MI 48109

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

14 per 100k

Violent Crime

0 per 100k

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

17 per 100k

Violent Crime

2 per 100k

What is University of Michigan known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#4 World Rank #4 USA Rank
Social Work
#9 World Rank #5 USA Rank
#10 World Rank #6 USA Rank
#11 World Rank #6 USA Rank
#9 World Rank #7 USA Rank
#11 World Rank #7 USA Rank
#12 World Rank #7 USA Rank
#9 World Rank #7 USA Rank
#8 World Rank #7 USA Rank
Computer Science
#16 World Rank #8 USA Rank
#9 World Rank #8 USA Rank
Political Science
#25 World Rank #9 USA Rank
#12 World Rank #9 USA Rank
#12 World Rank #11 USA Rank
#17 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#22 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#18 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#18 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#32 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#27 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#34 World Rank #13 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#16 World Rank #14 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#39 World Rank #15 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#21 World Rank #19 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are University of Michigan's Most influential alumni?

University of Michigan's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Social Work, Computer Science, and Engineering. University of Michigan’s most academically influential people include Claude Shannon, Marshall Sahlins, and Arthur Miller.

Claude Shannon
Claude Shannon

American mathematician and information theorist

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Marshall Sahlins
Marshall Sahlins

American anthropologist

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Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller

American playwright

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Jonas Salk
Jonas Salk

Inventor of polio vaccine

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Clarence Darrow
Clarence Darrow

American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union

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Marshall Warren Nirenberg
Marshall Warren Nirenberg

American biochemist and geneticist

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Larry Page
Larry Page

American computer scientist and Internet entrepreneur

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Bill Joy
Bill Joy

American computer scientist

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Robert Ezra Park
Robert Ezra Park

American sociologist

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Charles Cooley
Charles Cooley

American sociologist

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Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter

American author, political commentator

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Amos Tversky
Amos Tversky

Israeli Psychologist

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