Boston University Ranking

Boston University Ranking – Introduction 

As you plan your application process, you might wonder about the Boston University ranking. According to US News, the Boston University ranking is #41 among National Universities. 

Certainly, it’s important to familiarize yourself with national college rankings. But what exactly is a college ranking? Also, how does a college ranking affect admissions? Finally, what’s the difference between US News college rankings, Forbes college rankings, and other national college rankings? 

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Boston University ranking. We’ll also discuss whether Boston University is a top-tier school, what goes into college rankings, where you can find college rankings you can trust, what the Boston University rankings mean for you, and more. 

But before we dive into the Boston University rankings, let’s learn more about Boston University and its admissions statistics.  

Boston University background

Founded in 1839, Boston University (BU) is a private university located in Boston, MA. Boston University has a total undergraduate enrollment of just over 18,000 students. The Boston University acceptance rate is 19%, which places it among the most selective schools. Additionally, students who are admitted to Boston University have an average SAT score of 1360-1520 or an ACT score of 31-34. 

So, if you want to be competitive in the Boston University admissions process, you’ll need high grades and strong extracurriculars. Moreover, you’ll need to craft a candidate profile that will impress the admissions team.

Many factors influence the Boston University rankings. We’ll break these down in more detail later in this guide. But first, let’s explore some of the most trusted Boston University rankings. 

What are the Boston University rankings? 

boston university ranking

The Boston University rankings are determined by a specific ranking system. This system varies by source and can also change from year to year. So, the Boston University rankings will differ depending on which resource you are looking at. 

We’ll provide the college ranking for BU from the top three sources—the Boston University ranking in US News, the Boston University ranking in Forbes, and the Boston University ranking in Wall Street Journal. Then, we’ll break down how these rankings are calculated.

US News College Rankings

Each year, US News college rankings are released for universities and liberal arts colleges. Currently, the Boston University ranking among all National Universities is #41.

However, the national college rankings aren’t the only US News rankings that matter. US News college rankings also include other categories, such as Best Value, Most Innovative, and more. The Boston University rankings also give applicants a better understanding of the school’s offerings. Additionally, they show how BU stacks up against other top-tier schools. 

Here’s where the Boston University rankings land in other US News college rankings categories

  • Best Value Schools: in this category, the Boston University ranking in US News is #29. 
  • Most Innovative Schools: in this category, the Boston University ranking in US News is #41. 
  • Top Performers on Social Mobility: in this category, the Boston University ranking in US News is #303. 
  • Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs: in this category, the Boston University ranking in US News is #45. 
  • Best Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Programs: in this category, the Boston University ranking in US News is #12. 
  • Best Study Abroad: in this category, the Boston University ranking in US News is #17. 
  • Best Global Universities: in this category, the Boston University ranking world is #70. 

Forbes College Rankings 

Like US News, the Forbes college rankings include their best overall colleges and a variety of sub-categories. 

For the Top Colleges 2023 list, the Boston University ranking in Forbes is #48

The Boston University ranking is also listed for these categories in the Forbes college rankings: 

  • Private Colleges: in this category, the Boston University ranking in Forbes is #32. 
  • Research Universities: in this category, the Boston University ranking in Forbes is #40. 
  • Universities in the Northeast: in this category, the Boston University ranking in Forbes is #20. 

Wall Street Journal College Rankings

The Boston University ranking in Wall Street Journal is similarly high at #42. You may also notice that this is similar to where US News ranks BU. We’ll discuss the reasoning behind the Boston University ranking in Wall Street Journal later in this guide. 

Next, let’s take a deeper dive into college rankings. Then, we’ll review some other Boston University ratings you might find interesting.

Is Boston University a top tier school?

Yes, Boston University is a top tier school. Indeed, across different college ranking sources, the Boston University ranking consistently appears within the Top 50 best colleges and universities. 

But what does it mean to be a “top tier” school? A school is considered top tier if it has a history of educational excellence. This means they are focused on inspiring academic prowess across all disciplines. It also shows that they provide their students with research and post-graduate opportunities. 

However, don’t just add a top tier school to your college list based on national college rankings alone. Importantly, your list should include colleges and universities that match your unique goals, regardless of where they fall on the national college rankings list. 

More information on college rankings

boston university ranking

You can expect college rankings to change each year based on new criteria, categories, and/or school policies. However, schools that are already in the “Top 10,” “Top 20,” or “Top 50” are probably not going anywhere. Moreover, if their spot does change, they still may only drop one or two spots in the rankings.  

Here’s why. Highly ranked colleges and universities tend to have more resources and have earned their spots as prestigious universities. Additionally, highly ranked schools can afford to be more selective in their admissions process. By being more selective, these schools also increase their rankings and prestige.

Because of their prestige, many students want to apply to selective schools. Their established popularity, in turn, helps ensure that these colleges and universities remain at the top of the college rankings lists. 

Subsequently, college rankings have become synonymous with how “good” a particular school might be. However, you’ll want to look at other factors besides college rankings when you research colleges.

So, if your dream school isn’t in the top 10 best colleges, that’s okay. You’ll want to make your final college decision based on the school that is right for you, regardless of where it falls in any college rankings. 

More Boston University Rankings to Consider

Aside from the Boston University rankings in US News, Forbes, and WSJ, there are other Boston University rankings to consider before adding BU to your college list. 

These additional Boston University rankings help show why thousands of applicants have BU at the top of their college list:  

  • In the Top 50 Best Colleges in Big Cities by Newsweek, the Boston University ranking is #17. 
  • The Boston University ranking for Top US Colleges for International Students is #7. 
  • On the list of Most Employable Graduates by Times Higher Ed, the Boston University ranking is #10.

In conclusion, these are just a few of the Boston University rankings available to students. To read more about any of the Boston University ranking information above, please visit BU’s page dedicated to Facts and Rankings. 

Where can I find Boston University rankings I can trust? 

Looking at college rankings can become more confusing than it is helpful—how do you know which Boston University ranking is accurate? Moreover, where can you find Boston University rankings you can trust? 

In short, the most accurate Boston University ranking information can be found in the most trusted sites for college rankings—US News, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. 

However, each of these sites calculates college rankings using slightly different standards. For example, US News calculates its rankings based on indicators of academic quality to determine a school’s overall score and rank. 

US News college rankings criteria 

  • Graduation and Retention Rates (22%)
  • Social Mobility (5%)
  • Graduation Rate Performance (8%)
  • Undergraduate Academic Reputation (20%)
  • Faculty Resources (20%)
  • Student Selectivity for the Entering Class (7%)
  • Financial Resources per Student (10%)
  • Average Alumni Giving Rate (3%)
  • Graduate Indebtedness (5%)

Forbes uses their own set of criteria to calculate national college rankings. Here’s a list of criteria Forbes uses to calculate national college rankings. 

Forbes college rankings criteria

  • Alumni Salary (20%)
  • Debt (15%)
  • Graduation Rate (15%)
  • Forbes American Leaders List (15%)
  • Return-on-Investment (15%)
  • Retention Rate (10%)
  • Academic Success (10%)

Likewise, the methodology for the WSJ college rankings is similar to US News and Forbes. Here are the criteria from WSJ used to calculate college rankings, including the overall Boston University ranking.

Wall Street Journal college rankings criteria 

  • Resources (30%)
  • Engagement (20%)
  • Outcomes (40%)
  • Environment (10%)

These are the most trusted sites for college rankings. Since these sites use extensive research and data, you can trust each list of college rankings specified above. Although you may find Boston University ranking information on other websites, the most trusted Boston University ratings can be found from these sources. 

Boston University Ranking vs. Boston College Ranking

Boston University ranking
The O’Neill Library at Boston College” by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

If you are hoping to attend college in Massachusetts, you might find both Boston University and Boston College on your college list. So, how does the Boston University ranking stand up to the Boston College ranking? 

According to US News, Boston College ranks higher than Boston University, coming in at #36 on the list of National Universities. Located in Chestnut Hill, MA, Boston College is much smaller than Boston University, with a total undergraduate enrollment of 9,500 students. 

Boston College has a higher sticker price as well. Tuition and fees at Boston College average about $64,000 per year. In contrast, at Boston University, tuition and fees are approximately $62,000 per year. However, BU offers plenty of opportunities to receive a Boston University scholarship to cover the cost of attendance. 

Additionally, one Boston University scholarship covers full tuition and fees. Recipients of the Trustee Scholarship have stellar academic records, including high GPAs and test scores (although BU is now test-optional). 

However, don’t decide between these colleges based on the Boston University ratings alone. The best college for you is going to be the one that meets your needs.

Need help deciding between BU and BC? Then, check out our webinar panel for more information on Boston University and Boston College. You can also read our top 10 reasons to choose BU. 

Boston University rankings for top majors

Boston University ranking

Now that we know more about the Boston University ranking world, let’s break it down even further. Next, we’ll cover the Boston University rankings for top majors. 

The top three majors at Boston University are business, communications, and economics. Business and economics majors are housed in BU’s Questrom School of Business. Although the majors themselves are not ranked, the Questrom School is ranked #51 in US News’s list of Best Business Schools. 

Students can pursue a communication major at Boston University’s College of Communication. Niche ranks Boston University as #8 in the Best Colleges for Communications in America. 

Still, as you choose your major, remember to do your research. Be sure to check out the Boston University rankings for the major you are interested in as part of your “how to get into Boston University” strategy. 

Boston University Ranking – Top 10 Schools in the Boston Area

The Wall Street Journal college rankings also include a list of the top 10 schools in the Boston area. There are two pages of rankings—one lists colleges in Boston and nearby cities and towns, while the other lists schools within a 20-mile radius of Boston. However, both Wall Street Journal college rankings for the top 10 colleges in the Boston area are the same. 

So, what is the Boston University ranking in Wall Street Journal? The Boston University ranking is in the middle of the top 10 list at #5. 

Top 10 Boston Area College Rankings from Wall Street Journal: 

Boston Area College RankSchool LocationWSJ National Ranking
1Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA1
2MITCambridge, MA3
3Wellesley CollegeWellesley, MA28
4Tufts University Medford, MA32
5Boston UniversityBoston, MA40
6Boston CollegeChestnut Hill, MA60
7Northeastern Boston, MA66
8Brandeis UniversityWaltham, MA87
9Bentley University Waltham, MA98
10Babson CollegeBabson Park, MA123

What do Boston University rankings mean for me? 

So, what does a Boston University ranking mean for you? First, consider how the Boston University ranking relates to the Boston University acceptance rate. Additionally, as we mentioned above, students are attracted to selective colleges. When more students apply to these schools, the college’s acceptance rate can further decrease. This, in turn, can also make their ranking increase.

In conclusion, you’ll want to use the Boston University rankings as a jumping-off point when you begin your college search. However, the Boston University rankings should not be your only point of reference as you compare colleges. So, don’t treat it as the be-all-end-all of your college research. Rather, you should create your own college ranking system to find the best colleges for you. 

Boston University Rankings – Final Thoughts 

The Boston University rankings are going to be different based on the source you come across. They will also shift based on what set of criteria goes into the rankings. For example, US News has the Boston University ranking listed as #41, while qualifies the Boston University ranking as 4.5 stars. So, remember that each ranking system is different.

So, keep these distinctions in mind as you review Boston University rankings to determine whether you want to apply to this school. We recommend using Boston University rankings as one reference statistic in your college search. However, you shouldn’t rely on them to determine if a college is right for you. 

Regardless of rank, Boston University is considered a highly competitive school. So, you’ll need a top-notch academic profile to be a standout candidate. This means you’ll want to perform well in school, write compelling essays, and begin your BU application well before the deadline. 

Need help as you begin the college application process? Sign up for a free College Admissions Strategy session with today. 

Boston University Ranking

This article was written by Claire Babbs. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.