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ECU Rankings and Recognitions

College guides and rankings can be differentiated from one another by the data each collects and the process used for collecting that information.  The most accurate guides obtain data from the schools directly through annual surveys, e.g. College Board’s “Big Future”website or the National Center for Education Statistics’ “College Navigator” website.  The most reputable rankings are accompanied by detailed descriptions of methodologies and data sources.  

Guides and rankings can also be differentiated by the types and number of institutions evaluated.  For categorizing by type, many follow a framework loosely based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education that labels four-year institutions as Doctorate-granting Universities, Master's Colleges and Universities, or Baccalaureate Colleges.  Popular guides and rankings will label doctorate-granting universities as National Universities, while others are considered to be liberal arts or regional colleges and universities. As a doctorate-granting research university, ECU is typically compared to other National Universities only.  Additionally, not all schools in a category end up on the final ranking list.  For example, when preparing their annual Best Colleges ranking for 2017, U.S. News & World Report began with a pool of over 1500 institutions; however, 162 schools did not meet one or more of the criteria U. S. News had established for an institution to be ranked.  Of the 310 National Universities in the pool, 12 did not meet criteria for ranking.  


East Carolina University is particularly proud to achieve high rankings and recognitions that align with our mission to be a national model for student success, public service and regional transformation.  For example, ECU recently ranked 99th of 1195 schools evaluated by Educate to Career.  The basis for this ranking is the economic value added as a result of receiving a degree from East Carolina University.  As one measure of student success, economic value added means that a graduate of ECU experiences an improvement in employability and potential earnings as a result of a high quality yet affordable education.

This page includes information about where ECU falls within some of the more well-known rankings, along with some notable recognitions of the university. Although guides and rankings may be useful tools in the college search process, they fall far short of portraying the full college experience.  To determine if East Carolina University is the best fit for you, explore our website or, better yet, visit our campus to see ECU’s mission of student access and success in action.

The SMI differs from most other rankings in that it focuses directly and broadly on economic mobility or the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged individuals at lower tuition and graduates them into good paying jobs.

Year of most recent ranking: 2016

Where we rank: In top 10% of schools ranked, 93 of 918


Link to methodology

Educate to Career determines the Economic Value Added by each college ranked. Economic value added is defined as being the improvement in earnings and employability of graduates; measured against the total cost of the education. 


Year of most recent ranking: 2017

Where we rank: In top 30% of schools ranked, 355 of 1200


Link to methodology

The Washington Monthly ranking system (which it has issued annually since 2005) rates colleges and universities in three areas:  social mobility, commitment to research, and commitment to community service. Washington Monthly also issues each year a best “bang for your buck” list which includes schools that combine better-than-expected graduation rates with an affordable price. 

Year of most recent ranking: 2016

Where we rank: In top 50% of all schools ranked

  • Overall National Universities, 117 of 303
  • Service National Universities, 105 of 303
  • America’s Best Bang for the Buck Colleges Southeast, 83 of 288

Link to methodology

U. S. News & World Report

One of the most well-known ranking publications, U.S. News has been providing education rankings since 1983.

Year of most recent rankings: 2018 for Best Colleges and Top Public Schools; 2016 and 2017 for others

Where we rank:

  • Best Colleges, National Universities: 207 (tie) of all National Universities ranked
  • Top Public Schools: 113 (tie) of all Public National Universities ranked
  • Top 25% of schools ranked
    • Online Graduate Programs, Nursing: 35 (tie) of 144
    • Online Graduate Programs, Education: 16 (tie) of 278
    • Online Graduate Programs, Criminal Justice: 15 (tie) of 60
    • Best Graduate Programs, Physical Therapy: 46 of 217
    • Best Graduate Programs, Rehabilitation Counseling: 18 of 88
    • Best Medical Schools: Primary Care: 20 of 118
  • Top 50% of schools ranked
    • Online Graduate Programs, MBA: 86 of 255
    • Best Online Bachelor's Programs: 156 (tie) of 311
    • Best Graduate Programs, Nursing-Master’s: 97 (tie) of 312
    • Best Graduate Programs, Nursing-Anesthesia: 29 of 112
    • Best Graduate Programs, Nursing-Midwifery: 15 of 39
    • Best Graduate Programs, Nursing-DNP: 85 of 181
    • Best Graduate Programs, Fine Arts: 104 of 229
    • Best Graduate Programs, Physician Assistant: 70 of 142
    • Best Graduate Programs, Speech-Language Pathology: 92 of 249

Link to methodologies

Each year, The Princeton Review recognizes colleges and schools in four regions of the country—Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, & West—that they consider academically outstanding.

Year of most recent review: 2017

Our recognitions:

Best Southeastern College

Best Business Schools

Best Business Schools (Southeast)

Best Medical Schools

NCTQ is a non-partisan research and policy organization that evaluates multiple educational programs across the nation for quality of teacher training.

Year of most recent ranking: 2017

Where we rank:

  • Undergraduate Secondary Education Program, 96th percentile (Only 61 of 716 programs reviewed scored over the 90th percentile.)

Link to methodology

The Military-Friendly School list was created by Victory Media Inc. in 2003 and is published annually on MilitaryFriendly.com and GIJobs.com

Year of most recent review: 2017

Our recognitions:  

  • Military Friendly School Gold Award
    (Second highest honor awarded; places ECU in top third of 132 schools reviewed.)
  • Military Spouse Friendly School

Link to methodology