Best in the West: Saint Mary’s Maintains No. 4 Ranking in Top Universities
U.S. News & World Report also puts SMC among the top two colleges for faculty-to-student ratio.
Saint Mary’s College of California maintains its No. 4 position in the Best Regional Universities on the West Coast category for 2023–24, according to the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Today’s announcement is a testament to the College’s unwavering commitment to academic excellence and its continued dedication to delivering a world-class educational experience for its students.
Saint Mary’s has achieved top-tier rankings among West Coast universities for the past three years. These impressive accolades underscore the College’s sustained growth and progress, solidifying its reputation as a preeminent educational establishment in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the finest in the western United States.
Saint Mary’s earns particularly high marks for its student-to-faculty ratio—No. 2 among its peers in the West. “Those who know Saint Mary’s know the value of small class sizes and professors who know you by name,” says Brother Thomas Jones, FSC, Interim President of Saint Mary’s. “It’s wonderful to see U.S. News recognize this since it’s a key part of the transformative educational experience Saint Mary’s provides.”
“It’s great to see this level of recognition across the board,” says Giiuliana Sorbi ’24, “because Saint Mary’s provides students with such amazing opportunities—not just inside the classroom, but outside experiences where they feel supported.”
The high ranking translates into more than just pride for Saint Mary’s students.
“I think Saint Mary’s is a wonderful gem,” says Giuliana Sorbi ’24, a Saint Mary’s fourth-year student majoring in Justice, Community, and Leadership (special education). “It’s great to see this level of recognition across the board, because Saint Mary’s provides students with such amazing opportunities—not just inside the classroom, but outside experiences where they feel supported. Professors truly care about students and get to know them, so that they can build relationships with them to ensure they reach their full potential. It’s a wonderful learning experience. It’s a place I can really call home.”
“This just goes to show how much Saint Mary’s excels and is constantly improving as well,” adds Madeline Martinez ’24, a fourth-year student majoring in Politics. “I’m very proud of it. I love telling my friends and the community just how amazing Saint Mary’s is. We have professors teaching subjects they’re super passionate about. They take great care of us.”
Beyond graduation, Martinez says, “Saint Mary’s helps students prepare for the professional world as well, making sure that students are being the best version of themselves.”
The ranking of Saint Mary’s as No. 4 out of 120 regional universities in the West is based on the College’s performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence, which altogether give SMC a score of 93 out of 100.
A Commitment to First-Generation Students
For 2023–24, the U.S. News & World Report results include a change in ranking factors as part of broader revisions to the methodology. Several metrics that were in the previous editions’ formula—including alumni giving, class size, and high school class standing—were removed to place greater focus on outcomes and to rely on data universally reported by schools. Several new metrics were added as well, including first-generation graduation rates.
Using the new methodology, the most recent rankings also saw SMC climb significantly in providing social mobility of graduates, up 14 points from No. 52 to No. 38, while continuing to rank in the top 25% for best-value schools.
“We’re especially heartened to see U.S. News pay greater attention to first-generation students,” says SMC President Brother Thomas. “The foundation of Saint Mary’s is built on providing access to a quality education for all. And this year, we mark the 50th anniversary of the High Potential Program, which provides additional support and mentorship for first-generation students.”
“We’re especially heartened to see U.S. News pay greater attention to first-generation students,” says SMC Interim President Brother Thomas Jones, FSC. “The foundation of Saint Mary’s is built on providing access to a quality education for all."
U.S. News and World Report groups colleges based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the most widely accepted classification system in the United States. Carnegie categories are the accepted standard in U.S. higher education and have been used by U.S. News and World Report since the first Best Colleges rankings were published in 1983.
This latest recognition for Saint Mary’s comes one month after The Princeton Review profiled SMC as one of the nation’s top higher education institutions for undergraduates. That review is based on what students themselves say about the College. They highlight robust academic offerings, an ethnically and intellectually diverse student body, and the stunning campus “that goes hand-in-hand with the chill vibe of the San Francisco Bay and the student population.”
Read more about the methodology and criteria used in the U.S. News Rankings
MORE INFO OR VISIT: Get in touch with a member of the Saint Mary’s admissions team.
Kevin Wing is Director of Media Relations and News at Saint Mary’s. Write him.