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front of ayres hall in the springtime. photo by molly mullin.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, ranks 52nd among all public universities and 115th nationally, according to the 2019 U.S. News and World Report undergraduate rankings released September 10. The Tickle College of Engineering rose to 33rd among all public universities.

The university improved in key areas measured by U.S. News—including six-year graduation rate, faculty resources, alumni giving percentage, and reputation among high school counselors. Despite these gains UT fell six spots among public schools from last year, due in part to a change in the methodology used by U.S. News.

“I’m proud that we’ve improved in so many of our strategic focus areas,” said Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis. “We are a strong public university and a great asset to the state of Tennessee, and we continue to improve on our journey to become an even better university.”

Davis noted that UT is coming off a record year in undergraduate enrollment, externally funded research expenditures, and philanthropic giving. The university has also seen sustained growth in its retention and graduation rates, reaching an estimated 72 percent six-year graduation rate and 87 percent first-year retention rate this fall—both all-time highs.

As the state’s flagship land grant university, UT has maintained its commitment to access and offers a pathway to admission for 89 percent of its in-state freshman applicants.

Wayne Davis
Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis

“We are making unbelievable progress toward our goal of expanding access and success for our students,” said Davis. “We’ve admitted the largest and most academically qualified freshman class since the mid-’80s and we plan to hire 100 additional faculty members over the next few years.”

The Tickle College of Engineering’s undergraduate program rose to 33rd among all public universities and 59th among all undergraduate programs in this year’s U.S. News rankings.

“The momentum we are building in the college continues to be recognized by our peers,” said Tickle College of Engineering Interim Dean Mark Dean. “We’re excited for the progress we have made and eager to take on the challenges ahead.”

The Haslam College of Business’s undergraduate program ranks 39th among public schools and 62nd nationally. The college’s supply chain management program ranks sixth nationally, and its accounting program ranks 26th among public schools and 56th nationally.

In the overall public university ranking, UT tied with Arizona State University, Auburn University, and Rutgers University.

The rankings released today are based on data gathered in spring 2018 on a variety of metrics, including student retention and graduation rates, Pell Grant recipient graduation rates, peer and high school counselor assessments, faculty resources, and alumni giving.

Media coverage: News Sentinel, September 10; The Tennessean, September 10


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,