U.S. News & World Report has ranked Virginia Commonwealth University as one of the nation’s 20 most innovative public universities in its 2024 Best Colleges rankings released today.
“At VCU, our mission is to do everything possible for students from all backgrounds to succeed. Our team constantly seeks new ways to support our students and serve our communities as their needs change and evolve,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “We celebrate this recognition because it speaks so directly to our mission and identity as a highly accessible, truly public national research institution, driven to be an impactful public good. I’m grateful for all of our faculty, staff and clinical colleagues who strive every day to innovate to help and support students, patients and our communities.”
In last year’s rankings, VCU was listed among the top 30 most innovative public universities in the U.S. This year, VCU tied for No. 19 among all public universities and moved up 21 spots to tie for No. 38 among all schools, both public and private.
VCU’s overall ranking in the 2024 Best Colleges list jumped 23 points over last year, resulting in VCU being tied for No. 76 among all public schools in the U.S. and No. 142 among all public and private institutions.
“VCU’s rapidly growing reputation for innovation and impactful research is a tribute to the tireless efforts of our faculty and staff to ensure that our university is one that matters for the future,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Thriving in a time of boundless change requires a future-focused vision, a willingness to be flexible and a deep desire to address big questions – grand-challenge, real-world problems. We’re doing that everyday across our campuses, and it’s rewarding to see that work earning greater recognition.”
The Most Innovative Schools rankings recognize institutions that are making promising innovations in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities. It is based on a peer assessment survey conducted in spring and summer 2023 in which college presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to nominate up to 15 colleges or universities that are making cutting-edge developments on their campuses.
VCU is the nation’s only urban university recognized for being a Diversity Champion, for having very high research activity with a special focus on community engagement, for ranking among the top 50 public research institutions by the National Science Foundation, and for ranking in the top 20 most innovative public universities by U.S. News & World Report.
At VCU, innovation is a common thread through the university’s academics, student life, faculty research and facilities.
- This past spring, VCU opened a 169,000-square-foot, six-floor building on Franklin Street dedicated to STEM. The state-of-the-art facility expands teaching, lab and office space for the College of Humanities and Sciences and serves more than 10,000 students taking up to 70 courses each semester.
- Also in the spring, VCU announced the creation of a dedicated School of Population Health, combining departments with population and public health programs in VCU’s School of Medicine under a new umbrella. Beginning this semester, VCU students can pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, and health care policy and research.
- VCU’s Shift Retail Lab, part of the da Vinci Center for Innovation, was recognized in August by Fast Company magazine as a winner of its 2023 Innovation by Design Awards, which honor the designers and businesses solving the most crucial problems of today and anticipating the pressing issues of tomorrow. The lab, which opened in fall 2021, supports VCU student innovators and entrepreneurs, providing them with a space where they can showcase their work, gain insights and test products, services and ideas with real-world customers.
- And VCU has been named one of five finalists for the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards, which recognize universities that demonstrate excellence and leadership in planning, implementing and evaluating programs and initiatives that support regional economic development and engagement.
In addition to the Most Innovative Schools list, U.S. News & World Report ranked VCU in several other categories and undergraduate programs. Most notable, the VCU School of Nursing’s undergraduate program is No. 31 in the country in today’s updated rankings. It offers two prelicensure pathways for students to become a nurse — the traditional B.S. and accelerated B.S., and an RN to B.S. pathway for registered nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Not all programs receive updated rankings each year. VCU has 29 graduate, online and undergraduate programs that U.S. News & World Report ranks among the nation’s top 50.