University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Review and Rankings IllustrationThe University of Illinois is located in the twin college town cities of Urbana and Champaign, in Illinois. Roughly half the campus is in Urbana and the other half in Champaign. The campus is enormous, covering over 6000 acres, much of which is devoted to research fields for their college of Agriculture. The university officially changed its name to include the cities’ names in 1977.


The original founding purpose of Illinois was to teach industrial technologies and agriculture – values reflecting the make-up of the state’s economy. Of course Chicago is a main industrial hub, and the remainder of Illinois (“downstate”) remains one of the most fertile agricultural regions of the United States to this day. Soon after the university was founded, it expanded its curriculum into other fields, including the arts and social sciences. The campus library system is the second largest university research library in the United States, after Harvard’s.


Besides academics, Illinois’ athletic teams are known as the “Fighting Illini” and they compete in the Big 10. That gives the university a high profile in athletics, however, at least in football they have fell to the conference bottom in recent years. Basketball is different, and often they are competing there for the conference championship. This renown serves to encourage alumni engagement and donations, and foster the sense of university community that gives graduates some connection back to the university.


The Basics

Location Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
Official Website Illinois
Nickname Fighting Illini
School Colors Orange & Blue
Athletic Conference Big 10

RealRank Ranking Categories

Reputation Silver
Renown Gold
Diversity Success Platinum
Sports Renown Silver
Tuition Profile Public – low cost for in-state residents, but high cost for out of state residents.
Endowment Silver
Alumni Engagement Bronze

Key: Platinum: Elite Class; Gold: Very good; Silver: Successful, with room to improve;

Bronze: Mid to low range; NI: Needs improvement.


Academic Profile

Academic Range Well-Rounded
Professional Schools:
Architecture No
Business Yes
Dental No
Engineering Yes
Law Yes
Medical No
Nursing No
Core Science Breadth Yes
Arts, Social Sciences & Humanities Breadth Yes
Human Sciences / Education Yes
Public Health / Urban Policy Yes

Renowned Alumni

Here are a few of the famous alumni of the University of Illinois that you may have heard of. Can you think of any who should be included as well?

  • Marc Andreessen – Founder of Netscape Communications.
  • John Bardeen – Only person to ever win the Nobel Prize twice; first for the invention of the transistor, and next for theory of superconductivity.
  • Arnold Beckman – Founder of Beckman Instruments.
  • Donald Blitzer – Co-Inventor of the plasma screen display.
  • John Chancellor – Journalist and Anchor for NBC News.
  • Steven Shih Chen – Co-Founder of YouTube.
  • Roger Ebert – Film critic.
  • Brendon Eich – Inventor of Javascript.
  • Larry Ellison – Founder of Oracle.
  • Harold Edward “Red” Grange – football halfback for the University of Illinois, the Chicago Bears, nicknamed “The Galloping Ghost.”
  • Hugh Hefner – Founder and CEO of Playboy.
  • Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. – Civil Rights Activist.
  • Walter Jeremiah (Jerry) Sanders – Founder of AMD.
  • Paul C. Lauterbur – Pioneer of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • Robert Louis Johnson – Founder of BET – Black Entertainment Network.
  • Jawed Karim – Co-Founder of YouTube.
  • Max Levchin – Founder of Paypal.
  • Suze Orman – Financial Analyst and CNBC newscaster.
  • Thomas Siebel – Founder of Siebel Systems.
  • Russell Simmons – Co-founder of Yelp!
  • Jeremy Stoppelman – Co-founder of Yelp!
  • Jack Welch – CEO of General Electric.

Who else would you add to this list?


Most Popular Majors

The most popular majors at Illinois include the following, in decreasing order of popularity. This ordering may change slightly from year-to-year.

  1. Engineering
  2. Business
  3. Communications
  4. Social Sciences
  5. Biology
  6. Agriculture
  7. Health Professions
  8. Psychology.



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