Guided by a deliberate and detailed strategic plan unveiled in 2015, Denison has expanded its academic programs, invested in the arts and athletics, and strengthened its student recruitment. These accomplishments have led to a steep rise in applications and growing recognition among prospective students and peer institutions of Denison’s place among the country’s top liberal arts colleges.
Today, newly released U.S. News & World Report college rankings further reinforce Denison’s continued upward trajectory. In 2023 rankings determined by surveys with top college officials, Denison ranked No. 9 most innovative and No. 9 most international liberal arts college in the country, as well as the No. 19 best college of any type in the country for internships, tied with Clemson, Notre Dame, and Harvard.
Overall, Denison is ranked No. 39 among national liberal arts colleges — a leap of 16 places since 2016 — and is the 22nd most selective liberal arts college in the country, according to the leading producer of college rankings.
While the rise in rankings reflects Denison’s momentum over the past decade, it only tells a fraction of the life-shaping academics, exploration, and innovation taking place on The Hill.
“The students choosing to come to Denison are highly motivated, engaged, and excited to be challenged by their experiences on The Hill,” says Denison University President Adam Weinberg. “And we’re matching that talent and enthusiasm with world-class faculty, facilities, and resources that are helping unlock the potential of our students to be the architects of their lives. This external recognition is a testament to the dedication of our students, faculty, and staff to making the most of the transformative liberal arts education and opportunities we offer here on The Hill.”
Applications to Denison have nearly tripled over the past decade as the college has also become more selective, with admission rates dropping to an all-time low of 22% for the Class of 2026. Meanwhile, the university has committed to making a Denison education accessible to lower- and middle-income students and is one of the few colleges in the country to meet the full demonstrated financial aid need of every admitted student.
“Among the many things we do well, Denison gets the relationships right,” Weinberg said. “Our students form lifelong friendships with peers from around the world, they develop life-changing mentoring relationships with faculty and staff who both support and challenge them in ways that lead to remarkable personal growth, and they graduate into an alumni community that is ready to help them explore careers and land great jobs.”
In recent years, Denison also created a robust new model for career exploration and internship placement through the Knowlton Center for Career Exploration — helping students launch quickly and successfully into lives and careers.
“Our Knowlton Center establishes the gold standard for career exploration, including internship placement, and that along with our rigorous academic experience sets our graduates up for success,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Gregory Sneed. “These rankings by U.S. News place us firmly in the company of the nation’s most storied and respected institutions, and reinforce what we already know — that there is immense value in Denison’s transformative experience.”
In determining its rankings, U.S. News weighs metrics including graduation and retention, graduation rate performance, graduate indebtedness, social mobility, faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving.