The university often benchmarks itself against its peers and other related institutions. University of Iowa peer and comparison groups include: include:
- Association of American Universities
- Big Ten Conference
- Committee on Institutional Cooperation
- Official UI Peer Group
- Regents Comparison Group
The University of Iowa is a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of 62 universities recognized for their excellence in research.
The University of Iowa is a member of the Big Ten Athletic Conference. The 14 members of the Big Ten are:
- University of Illinois, Urbana (public)
- Indiana University, Bloomington (public)
- University of Iowa, Iowa City (public)
- University of Maryland, College Park (public)
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (public)
- Michigan State University, East Lansing (public)
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (public)
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln (public)
- Northwestern University (private)
- The Ohio State University, Main Campus (public)
- Pennsylvania State University, Main Campus (public)
- Purdue University, Main Campus (public)
- Rutgers University, New Brunswick (public)
- University of Wisconsin, Madison (public)
The University of Iowa is also one of the 15 members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), sometimes known as the "academic Big Ten." The CIC comprises all of the Big Ten universities listed above plus the
- University of Chicago (private).
Because the members of the Big Ten and CIC differ from one another in a variety of ways (for example, some campuses have large health sciences centers and others do not), the University of Iowa regularly uses an "official UI Peer Group" to benchmark itself against other, similar, institutions.
The university formed the official UI Peer Group in the mid-1980s, and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa approved it. It included all of the public universities in the Big Ten at the time (Penn State was not yet a member), except for Michigan State and Purdue, which did not have comparable health science centers. In addition, four comparable campuses from various geographical regions of the country were added.
The 10 public university members of the official UI Peer Group are:
- University of Arizona, Tucson
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Illinois, Urbana
- Indiana University, Bloomington
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- The Ohio State University, Main Campus
- University of Texas, Austin
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
In some reports, at the request of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, The University of Iowa provides comparison benchmarking data for a group that includes all of the Big Ten public universities plus the four non-Big Ten universities that are part of the official UI Peer Group: Arizona, UCLA, North Carolina, and Texas.