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Rankings and honors

Ranking among the top midwest public universities, the University of Northern Iowa has been recognized for its many achievements in preparing graduates to embrace challenge, engage in critical inquiry and creative thought and contribute to society.

U.S. News & World Report

Best Online Master's in Education degrees - Top 25% in nation

The University of Northern Iowa has ranked among the top 25% nationally in U.S. News and World Report's 'Best Online Master's in Education Programs' in 2021. Programs were assessed based on engagement, expert opinion, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies, and student excellence

2nd in the Best Regional Universities

UNI maintained its rank as the Midwest’s second-best regional public university in the released 2021 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2020” report. UNI is also in the top 20 public regional universities in the 12-state Midwest region when it comes to undergraduate teaching and serving veterans and active-duty service members.

College Choice

Best online college in Iowa

Based on institutional excellence and student satisfaction, College Choice has ranked UNI as the No. 1 “Best Iowa Online College” for 2020.

Best Value Schools

Ranked #6 for best Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs

In 2021, the UNI Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development (MA) degree was ranked as #6 nationwide. This ranking is based on UNI's graduation rates for the program and affordable tuition rates.

Top Online College 2018

The University of Northern Iowa has been ranked as the No. 1 best online college in Iowa by Best Value Schools for 2018. UNI received this top honor through our “commitment to making distance learning more accessible and technologically innovative, while providing a quality education for undergraduate and graduate students.”

Guide to Online Schools

Best online Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree -- Top 20 in the nation 

Representing the best combination of tuition cost and academic strength, UNI recently ranked in the Top 20 “Best Online Colleges for Liberal Studies Degrees” by Guide to Online Schools.


Top Online Master’s in Teaching degrees -- #3 in the nation 

Master’s in teaching programs are designed to provide advanced, practical training for hands-on teachers. Deepening the understanding of the profession, UNI’s master's in education programs recently ranked third in GoGrad’s Online Master’s in Teaching degree for 2018.

Online U

Top 25 most affordable online Master of Social Work program for 2019

SR Education Group, a leading education research publisher, along with OnlineU  have recognized UNI in the Top 25 “Most Affordable Online MSW Programs” for 2019. According to SR Education Group, this award represents online schools across the nation that are committed to providing affordable, economical options for students.

#10 most affordable master’s in Library Science online

The SR Education group and OnlineU also recognized UNI’s Master’s of Library Science #10 in their “2019 Most Affordable Master’s in Library Science Online” ranking.

College Factual Ranking

Ranked in the Top 10% of Schools for Non-Traditional Students - 2018

College Factual has recognized UNI in the Top 10 percent of schools across the nation and ranked UNI sixth in Iowa as one of the “Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students.” According to College Factual, these honors make UNI a great option for returning adults and other non-traditional students who want to complete a four-year degree.


Top Online Master’s in Elementary Education

The Elementary Education MAE program was ranked #13 on TheBestColleges.org national list of Top Online Master's in Elementary Education programs for 2018.


Top Online Master’s in Secondary Education Program

Our Master of Arts in Mathematics: Secondary Teaching Emphasis program has been recognized as one of the best secondary education master's programs in the country for 2018 by BestColleges.com. The ranking highlights institutions who have developed exceptional academic online programs for students looking to advance their knowledge, skills, and career in secondary education.

Affordable Schools

Ranked #18 Most Affordable Online Library Science Master's Degree 

Our School Library Studies Master of Arts program was recognized as one of the most affordable programs nationwide in 2020 by AffordableSchools.net.


Top online Master’s in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development degree

The Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development MA program was recently ranked #6 on the Best Online Master’s in Nonprofit Management Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org.

Best online Master’s Reading Degree

UNI was recently featured as the #6 “Best Online Master’s in Reading Degree Programs” for 2018 by TheBestSchools.org. UNI received top honors based on the quality of program and range of courses provided to students from a distance.

Top online Bachelor in Liberal Studies Program

Our Bachelor of Liberal Studies program was recently honored as #9 on the “50 Best Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts Programs” list by TheBestSchools.org.

Top Education Degree

Best Values for Online TESOL Master’s Degree

TopEducationDegrees.org recently ranked UNI in the “Top 20 Most Affordable TESOL Master’s Online 2018” degrees. Those selected were considered based on tuition, national recognition, and the program’s student-to-faculty ratio. TopEducationDegrees.org editors noted this is one of the best values for an online TESOL master’s degree.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

Top 100 Best-Value Public Colleges

Ranked on competitiveness, graduation rates, academic support, cost and financial aid, and student indebtedness, UNI has earned a spot in Kiplinger's Best College Values list for 2016. 


Iowa's Best Public College for Job Placement

In 2020, UNI was named the best public college in Iowa for getting a job by Zippia, an online career service platform. The company used U.S. Department of Education data to find the highest listed job placement numbers ten years after graduation in each state, and UNI led the way with a 94% job placement rate.

View more national rankings and honors.