The 2023-24 US News & World Report Best Graduate School rankings are out, and the UW-Madison Computer Sciences department has risen five places, from 17th to 12th, the largest rise among top departments in the country. Furthermore, the department’s peer-assessed reputational score rose to 4.3 (out of 5), the highest it has been in the history of US News rankings.
“It’s a great day for UW-Madison, as our peers have begun to recognize all of the wonderful things going on here in the Computer Sciences department,” said CS Department Chair Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau.
Many factors have likely contributed to the dramatic rise. One major factor is likely the impactful research being done by the CS faculty and graduate students across all areas of computer science. The CS department is strong in many core areas and has been building strength in new areas by hiring excellent faculty from top institutions around the world. Specifically, the department has hired 15 assistant faculty and three senior faculty in the past five years, thus growing the faculty to the largest size it has ever been (nearly 50 faculty members).
Also a likely factor is the creation of a new school, known as the School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS). CDIS connects three top departments – CS, Statistics, and the iSchool – into a single unit, headed by founding Director Tom Erickson. While other universities have created similar entities (e.g., UC Berkeley’s CDSS, Cornell’s CIS), no other university brings together three top-rated departments (the iSchool is rated 11th, CS 12th, and Statistics 13th) into a cohesive whole. Beyond the large volume of groundbreaking research these departments produce, the departments within CDIS are also creating new educational opportunities for students, including a new Data Science major and new professional degrees in Data Science and Data Engineering.
A third factor is undoubtedly the new CDIS building, which will house all three departments, part of the Biostatistics & Medical Informatics department, and the American Family Data Science Institute. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 25th, with speeches from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, UW System President Jay Rothman, UW Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, the College of Letters & Science Dean and interim provost Eric Wilcots, and UW ‘55 alumnus and former Cisco president John Morgridge. The $260m building – entirely privately funded – is made possible through generous gifts from John and Tashia Morgridge, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Epic Systems, each of the departments, and many more individual gifts from alumni and donors. The building is expected to open in 2025 and will provide more space for CS faculty, staff, students, courses, and research, and new opportunities for creative collaboration.
Full information about the US News 2023-24 computer science rankings is available here.
More information about other UW-Madison departments including in the 2023-24 rankings is here.