Our instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional, continuing, and extension education offered through both resident instruction and distance learning. Our educational programs are enriched by the talent, knowledge, diversity, creativity, and teaching and research acumen of our faculty, students, and staff.
Our discovery-oriented, collaborative, and interdisciplinary research and scholarship promote human and economic development, global understanding, and advancement in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and its applications in the natural and applied sciences, social and behavioral sciences, engineering, technology, arts and humanities, and myriad professions.
As Pennsylvania’s land-grant university, we provide unparalleled access to education and public service to support the citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond. We engage in collaborative activities with private sector, educational, and governmental partners worldwide to generate, integrate, apply, and disseminate knowledge that is valuable to society.
Penn State, founded in 1855 as an agricultural college, admitted its first class in 1859. The Pennsylvania legislature designated Penn State as the Commonwealth’s sole land-grant institution in 1863, which eventually broadened the University’s mission to include teaching, research, and public service in many academic disciplines. Penn State has awarded more than a half-million degrees and has been Pennsylvania’s largest source of baccalaureate degrees at least since the 1930s.
Although the University is privately chartered by the Commonwealth, it was from the outset considered an “instrumentality of the state,” that is, it carries out many of the functions of a public institution and promotes the general welfare of the citizenry. The governor and other representatives of the Commonwealth have held seats on Penn State’s Board of Trustees since the University’s founding, and the legislature has made regular appropriations in support of the University’s mission since 1887.
Today, Penn State is one of four “state-related” universities (along with the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University), institutions that are not state-owned and -operated but that have the character of public universities and receive substantial state appropriations. With its administrative and research hub at the University Park campus, Penn State has twenty-three additional locations across Pennsylvania. While some of these locations, such as the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, have specialized academic roles, they all adhere to a common overall mission and set of core values and strategic goals.
U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” (Undergraduate) 2021
Penn State ranks No. 63 overall among national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 “Best Colleges” rankings. In addition, U.S. News ranked the University at No. 23 nationally among “Top Public Schools,” and No. 33 for “Best Colleges for Veterans.”
Best Undergraduate Business Programs
- #23 overall (Smeal College of Business) (tie)
- #4 in Supply Chain Management/Logistics
- #11 in Insurance (tie)
- #12 in Production/Operation Management
- #12 in Management
- #13 in Real Estate
- #17 in Marketing (tie)
- #21 in Accounting (tie)
- #31 in Finance (tie)
Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs (at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate)
- #21 overall (College of Engineering) (tie)
- #5 in Petroleum Engineering (tie)
- #6 in Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering
- #6 in Biological/Agricultural (tie)
- #10 in Materials Engineering (tie)
- #13 in Civil Engineering
- #15 in Mechanical Engineering (tie)
- #17 in Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering
- #17 in Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering
- #20 in Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering (tie)
- #20 in Chemical Engineering (tie)
- #25 in Computer Engineering (tie)
- #27 in Biomedical Engineering (tie)
U.S. News & World Report, “America’s Best Graduate Schools 2021-22”
U.S. News “Best Graduate Schools” ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing, including specialties in each area.
#33 in Best Business Schools (Smeal College of Business) (tie)
- #5 in Supply Chain/Logistics
- #12 in Production/Operations (tie)
- #16 in Management (tie)
- #18 in Real Estate (tie)
- #28 in Business Analytics (tie)
- #36 in Accounting (tie)
#41 in Best Education Schools (College of Education) (tie)
- #2 in Higher Education Administration (tie)
- #7 in Educational Administration and Supervision
- #9 in Student Counseling and Personnel Services
- #14 in Education Policy
- #14 in Secondary Teacher Education
- #15 in Special Education
- #17 in Educational Psychology (tie)
- #18 in Elementary Teacher Education
- #18 in Curriculum and Instruction (tie)
#33 in Best Engineering Schools (College of Engineering) (tie)
- #4 in Petroleum Engineering (tie)
- #10 in Nuclear Engineering (tie)
- #11 in Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems Engineering (tie)
- #11 in Biological/Agricultural Engineering
- #11 in Materials Engineering
- #15 in Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering (tie)
- #15 in Mechanical Engineering (tie)
- #20 in Civil Engineering (tie)
- #22 in Chemical Engineering (tie)
- #22 in Computer Engineering (tie)
- #31 in Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering (tie)
- #38 in Biomedical Engineering/Bioengineering (tie)
- #24 in Best Nursing Schools: Master’s (tie) (Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing)
Health Disciplines (last ranked in 2016)
- #4 in Rehabilitation Counseling (tie)
- #10 in Clinical Psychology (tie)
- #25 in Speech-Language Pathology (tie)
Read also: Penn State: The Pennsylvania State University Admission 2022/2023
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
- #5 in Criminology
- #23 in Sociology
—#3 in Sociology of Population (tie)
—#15 in Social Stratification (tie)
- #25 in Economics (tie)
—#11 in International Economics (tie)
- #26 in English (tie)
—#8 in American Literature Before 1865 (tie)
—#11 in African-American Literature (tie)
—#13 in American Literature After 1865 (tie)
- #26 in Psychology (tie)
—#5 in Developmental Psychology (tie)
- #34 in Political Science
—#15 in Political Methodology
—#17 in International Politics
—#25 in Comparative Politics
- #38 in History
- #64 in Best Fine Arts Program
—#6 in Ceramics
- #83 in Best Public Affairs Program (tie)
- #1 in Geology
- #4 in Geochemistry
- #5 in Earth Sciences
—#1 in Geology (tie)
—#3 in Environmental Sciences
—#4 in Geochemistry (tie)
- #20 in Chemistry
- #20 in Statistics (tie)
- #25 in Physics (tie)
—#9 in Cosmology/Relativity/Gravity
—#11 in Condensed Matter (tie)
- #30 in Computer Science (tie)
- #32 in Mathematics (tie)
- #46 in Biological Sciences (tie)
- Penn State Law — #60 in Best Law Schools (tie)
- Penn State Dickinson Law — #60 in Best Law Schools (tie)
U.S. News “Best Online Programs” Rankings – Penn State World Campus
Penn State World Campus is ranked in the top 10 of five graduate degree disciplines and the overall bachelor’s degree programs category.
- #4 for online graduate engineering
- #7 (tie) for online graduate education
- #7 (tie) for online MBA
- #8 (tie) for online graduate computer information technology
- #10 (tie) for online bachelor’s programs
Of note, Penn State World Campus is No. 1 for its bachelor’s degree program in psychology, which consists of a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science. This was the first year U.S. News included a psychology program ranking. In the graduate program rankings, Penn State World Campus was No. 3 for graduate engineering management and No. 9 for business analytics among online MBA programs.
In addition, U.S. News ranked Penn State’s online programs for veterans in the top 10 of six categories:
- #1 in online graduate engineering
- #3 in online graduate business (non-MBA)
- #3 in online graduate education
- #5 in online MBA
- #5 in online graduate computer information technology
- #7 (tie) in online bachelor’s programs
Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2021
Penn State ranked fourth in the U.S. and 32nd in the world out of 1115 institutions that participated in the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings, placing Penn State in the top 3% of universities worldwide.
The global rating is a broad multidimensional assessment of a university’s research, community outreach and education and campus operations. The criteria used in the assessment are linked to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global goals adopted by all U.N. Member States that look to improve life for all people and protect the planet.
In addition to being in the top 3% globally overall, Penn State also had strong showings in individual goals. The University ranked first in the U.S. and 25th in the world in SDG 17 (Partnerships), second in the U.S. and 16th in the world in SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities), second in the U.S. and 16th in the world for SDG 15 (Life on Land), and third in the U.S. and 12th in the world for SDG 2 (Zero Hunger).
Rea also: Penn State University: Penn State University Acceptance Rate
International University Rankings
Center for World University Rankings 2021-22
Penn State is ranked 54th among the best universities in the world for the quality of education of its students and the research prowess of its faculty.
QS World University Rankings 2022
Penn State is ranked at No. 96 internationally among 1,300 schools ranked in the 2022 QS World University Rankings, and ranked No. 44 among universities in the United States.
Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022
Penn State is ranked No. 119 internationally, among more than 1,600 institutions across 99 countries, by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2022. The rankings are based on performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
U.S. News & World Report “Best Global Universities” 2022
Penn State is ranked at No. 80 internationally, among 1,750 institutions evaluated, across 91 countries, in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Global Universities” for 2022.
Academic Ranking of World Universities (AWRU) 2021
The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked Penn State in the range of 101-150 in its 2021 listing of the top 1,000 world-class universities, out of more than 1,800 institutions ranked worldwide.
The Princeton Review/Entrepreneurship Magazine, Top Schools for Entrepreneurship 2021
Penn State has been ranked as the No. 21 school for undergraduate entrepreneurship studies in the U.S. in annual ratings of the top schools for entrepreneurship studies, by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneurship Magazine. Among schools in the Northeast, Penn State came in at No. 5.
Campus Pride Index 2019
Penn State has received 5 out of 5 stars for overall campus climate in the 2019 Campus Pride Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning-Friendly Campus Climate Index. Campus Pride is a national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to improve LGBTQ environments at colleges and universities.
Forbes “Best Employers for New Grads” survey 2021
Penn State ranked 38th among all large U.S. employers — public, private, and nonprofit — for new college graduates entering the workforce, according to a Forbes survey.
Open Doors: Institute of International Education report, 2019-20
Penn State is listed among the top 15 U.S. institutions hosting international students in 2019-20, with 9,244 students at University Park in addition to more across the Commonwealth. Penn State is the No. 1 receiving institution in the state and 3rd in the Big Ten.
Penn State also ranks 10th in study abroad, sending 2,672 University Park students abroad in 2018-19 as well as several hundred more from campuses across the Commonwealth. Penn State also ranks 3rd in the Big Ten in study abroad numbers.
U.S. News & World Report, “Best Children’s Hospitals 2021-22”
For the 10th consecutive year, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital ranks among the nation’s best hospitals for children in multiple specialties—cardiology and heart surgery (#17), cancer (#38), neonatology (#42), nephrology (#49), and pulmonology (#39).