Citadel Military Review Parade


New top ranking in S.C. for Most Innovative Schools; #1 for veterans; engineering still top 25

For the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks The Citadel as the #1 public college in the South offering up to a master’s degree. The Citadel ranks #3 Best College in the South, when private and public schools are combined, up from #4 last year.

The Citadel moved up to #1 for Best College for Veterans in the South, from the #2 position last fall. Additionally, The Citadel is in the top 10 for Most Innovative Schools in the South for the first time. At #9, The Citadel leads South Carolina institutions along with the College of Charleston, which tied for the spot. According to U.S. News & World Report, the innovative schools rankings come from input from the colleges and nominations from peers ”for those making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

Another first for The Citadel is being ranked in the top ten for Best Undergraduate Teaching, at #8. The college ranks #3 Best Undergraduate Teaching in the South.

“We do not take the U.S. News & World Report ranking of best public college in the South for granted. It affirms the effectiveness of dedicated faculty, staff, alumni and donors who are committed to our mission to educate and develop principled leaders,” said Lt. Gen. John B. Sams Jr., USAF (Ret.), interim president of The Citadel. “A Citadel education is based on the values of honor, duty and respect which clearly resonate with many families across America.”

The 2019 Best Colleges rankings were released Sept. 10 by the news outlet that was one of the first American publishers to produce a college rankings list based on a complex formula of publically reported data to help prospective students select colleges.

The Citadel earned notable rankings in the following areas:

  • #1 Best public college in the South offering up to a master’s degree
  • #1 Best College for Veterans in the South
  • #3 Regional Universities South
  • #8 Best Undergraduate Teaching in the South
  • #9 Most Innovative Schools in the South; tied with College of Charleston for top in state
  • #11 Best Value in the South
  • #23 Best Engineering Programs offering up to a master’s degree nationally

“For members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, the U.S. News and World Report top ranking is a source of pride,” said Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer. “This achievement underscores the effectiveness of our 24/7 military structure, cadet leadership and our shared commitment to always strive for excellence.”

The Citadel is also at the top of its peer group when it comes to alumni giving, according to U.S. News & World Report, which ranks The Citadel at 25 percent, followed by Elon University at 22 percent, with the average giving level at 7.37 percent, according to the chart.

“Alumni giving demonstrates the passionate commitment our graduates have for their alma mater,” said Jay Dowd, Ph.D., chief executive officer of The Citadel Foundation. “Our current 25 percent alumni participation rate represents a strong vote of confidence in the college’s strategic vision and the experience we provide for future leaders.”

The Citadel’s average alumni starting salary is listed at $58,000, the second highest in the state after the Medical University of South Carolina, which is listed at $58,400. Starting salaries for specific majors are noted as follows:

  • Accounting: $56,800
  • Business Administration: $50,500
  • Civil Engineering: $60,700
  • Electrical Engineering: $68,700
  • English Language and Literature: $107,100
  • Health and Physical Education: $37,300
  • Homeland Security and Criminal Justice: $42,100
  • Physics: $72,800
  • Political Science and Government: $41,600

Additionally, the 2019 findings show the student faculty ratio at 12:1, with 41 percent of the college’s undergraduate classes having fewer than 20 students.

According to U.S. News & World Report, it ranks only regionally accredited institutions with four-year undergraduate-degree-seeking students.

“The rankings are formulated based on data from and about each school in up to 15 areas related to academic excellence. Each indicator is assigned a weight (expressed as a percentage) based on U.S. News’ judgments about which measures of quality matter most,” according to the website.

A detailed breakdown of the methodology can be found on the Best Colleges 2019 Methodology webpage.