Baylor Undergraduate First-Year Experiences, Learning Communities Jump into National Top 10 in Latest U.S. News Rankings

Baylor maintains status as a Top 50 private university, Top 100 university overall

September 18, 2023
Rishi Sriram, Ph.D., is Faculty Steward at Brooks College shown here speaking with students.

Rishi Sriram, Ph.D., associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Baylor, serves as Faculty Steward of Brooks Residential College, a living-learning community of approximately 400 students. All Baylor campus residence halls have Faculty-in-Residence who share life alongside students. (Robert Rogers/Baylor University)

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media & Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (Sept. 18, 2023) –  Baylor University’s transformational undergraduate academic programs and experiences were Top 10 national highlights in the 2024 Best Colleges rankings, released today by U.S. News & World Report.

Overall, Baylor maintained its status as a Top 50 private university (No. 47) and as a Top 100 university (No. 93) in the country, following significant changes in the methodology used by U.S. News to position institutions holistically. The University’s undergraduate experiences for first-year students and its learning communities both moved up into the Top 10 U.S. News academic programs that connect to student success, while undergraduate research and teaching commitment are in the Top 25 nationally.

“It’s rewarding to have our peer institutions and others again recognize Baylor’s high-quality undergraduate programs and how much we deeply value the undergraduate student experience,” said Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “U.S. News & World Report has historically been an important component of the college choice calculus for many prospective students, and we are encouraged to see that even as the focus shifts toward social mobility, Baylor is well-positioned to build on its undergraduate success.

“Our established Strategic Enrollment Management plan focuses on graduation and retention, the Baylor Benefit affordability program focuses on high-ability students with high financial need and our endowment has grown significantly through our $1.4 billion Give Light capital campaign,” President Livingstone added. “We are also blessed with several ‘Baylor Distinctives’ that are not captured by U.S. News but that drive student choice, such as faith and character development and faculty who take a personal interest in the lives of students, providing mentorship both within and beyond the classroom.”

Baylor also scored well in the U.S. News “Programs to Look For” category, which highlights well-regarded academic programs that, research shows, are linked to student success and positive learning outcomes while fostering a rewarding undergraduate student experience. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to nominate up to 15 standout schools in each category.

The most significant move for the University came in First-Year Experiences and Learning Communities, which saw Baylor jump into the Top 10 nationally in these categories:

  • No. 5 for First-Year Experience for building into the curriculum first-year seminars or other academic programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. Baylor was ranked No. 10 last year.
  • No. 10 for Learning Communities for providing students the opportunity to live with peers in a residential living-learning center who share a common academic interest or hobby. Baylor was ranked No. 16 last year.

In addition, Baylor has two Top 25 rankings for its undergraduate research and teaching commitment, as well as program rankings for innovation and support for veterans:

  • No. 21 for Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects for providing opportunities for intensive and self-directed research or creative work, typically mentored by a faculty member, that results in an original scholarly paper or other product that can be formally presented on or off campus.
  • No. 22 for Best Undergraduate Teaching for strong commitment by faculty and administrators to teaching undergraduate students in a high-quality manner.
  • No. 38 for Most Innovative Schools for making the most innovative improvements toward curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.
  • No. 61 for Best Colleges for Veterans for participation in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members access an affordable college education.

Institutionally, Baylor’s position in Texas and within the current group of Big 12 Conference members remains strong. For the 12th consecutive year, Baylor is the No. 2 ranked university in the Big 12 and among the top five in Texas, behind only Rice (No. 17), the University of Texas at Austin (No. 32), Texas A&M (No. 47) and SMU (No. 89), and in the Big 12 ahead of TCU (No. 98), BYU and Iowa State (No. 115), University of Central Florida and University of Oklahoma (No. 124), University of Houston (No. 133), University of Cincinnati (No. 142), Kansas (No. 151), Kansas State (No. 170), Oklahoma State (No. 185), Texas Tech and West Virginia (No. 216).

Baylor ranked undergraduate programs

Baylor’s highest-ranked academic program is undergraduate entrepreneurship, which is in the Top 10 at No. 8 nationally in the U.S. News rankings. Located within the Hankamer School of Business, Baylor undergraduate entrepreneurship also is the top-ranked program in Texas, ahead of the UT-Austin (No. 9), University of Houston (No. 10), TCU (No. 14) and Rice (No. 31).

Baylor’s undergraduate accounting program moved up another six places to No. 38 nationally while the overall undergraduate business programs in the Hankamer School of Business moved up to No. 62 in the nation. Baylor’s undergraduate economics programs debuted in the rankings at No. 112.

In other academic program rankings, the undergraduate nursing programs in Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing moved up eight places to No. 31 in the U.S. News national rankings while the undergraduate psychology program in the College of Arts & Sciences debuted at No. 98 and the undergraduate engineering and computer science programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which now offers doctoral programs as well, are ranked No. 105 and No. 139, respectively.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.