A student works at the UMass farm.

UMass Amherst Rises to Top 20 Nationally in QS World University Rankings for Sustainability

The University of Massachusetts Amherst rose to the top 20 among higher educational institutions in the nation for its social and environmental sustainability development efforts, education and practices, according to QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 edition.

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In the expanded second edition, published by global higher education analyst firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), UMass Amherst rose to No. 16 out of 210 colleges and universities in the United States, up from No. 28 in last year’s ranking that highlighted only 135 U.S. institutions.

In the overall global sustainability rankings, UMass Amherst rose to the top 10% (No. 136) among 1,403 institutions across 95 countries and territories, which is more than double the number of institutions featured in last year’s inaugural edition.

The ranking provides a unique and detailed framework to assess how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing global challenges through evaluation of universities based on three areas: social impact, environmental impact and governance. UMass Amherst also scored well above the global median in each of these areas.

“It’s good to see our accomplishments recognized at the global scale through this ranking,” UMass Amherst Sustainability Manager Ezra Small said. “I hope this helps attract more young bright minds from around the globe who can come study here and help us continue to solve these pressing challenges by using our campus as a sustainable learning laboratory.”

Jessica Turner, QS chief executive officer, highlights the role of the QS Sustainability Rankings as a cutting-edge tool for gauging the progress and collaborative efforts of universities globally in tackling pressing existential challenges. Turner notes the increasing importance of these considerations for prospective students.

“Our 2023 Sustainability Survey revealed a striking trend: 79% of prospective international students view an institution’s sustainability practices as extremely or very important,” Turner said. “Additionally, 82% actively seek information on these practices while researching universities. This demonstrates a clear shift in priorities among today’s students who are increasingly weighing the social and environmental impact of their future alma mater alongside academic excellence.”

This latest QS Sustainability Ranking adds to UMass Amherst sustainability accolades this year.  In November, UMass Amherst moved up 10 spots to No. 18 in Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges.