US News & World Report College Rankings

Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs on two types of data: expert opinion about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. To arrive at a school’s rank, they examined the data for each quality indicator. Where appropriate, they adjusted the indicators in which low values suggest higher quality, such as acceptance rates. They then standardized the value of each indicator about its mean. The scores were then rounded to the nearest whole number and schools placed in descending order. Other schools were ranked based solely on the ratings of academic experts.

Business

Methodology: All 425 master’s programs in business accredited by AACSB International were surveyed in fall 2007 and early 2008 and all 425 schools appear in the directory. The schools were ranked by quality assessment, placement success and student selectivity. In order to be ranked, a full-time M.B.A. program had to have 20 or more graduates who sought employment in 2007. For a school to have its employment data considered in the ranking model, at least 50 percent of its 2007 full-time M.B.A. graduates needed to be seeking work. Executive M.B.A. and Part-time M.B.A. program rankings were based solely on ratings by business school deans and directors of accredited master’s programs from the list of schools surveyed.

Law

Methodology: U.S. News surveyed more than 18,000 students at 174 law schools, in addition to collecting data from school administrators, to create 11 ranking lists. In order for a school to appear on their ranking lists and receive “Students Say” text, it must meet their criteria for academic excellence and allow them to conduct surveys of its students. They attempted to collect student opinions and statistical data from all law schools approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). This survey was conducted during the 2007-2008, 2006-2007 or 2005-2006 academic years via their Web site and on paper.

Medical

Methodology: The 125 medical schools fully accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education plus the 20 schools of osteopathic medicine fully accredited by the American Osteopathic Association were surveyed in the fall 2007 and early 2008. The medical school research model is based on a weighted average of eight indicators, and the primary-care model is based on seven indicators. Both rankings are based on a weighted average of indicators, four of the data indicators are used in both the research and primary-care ranking model. The research model factors in research activity; the primary-care model adds a measure of the proportion of graduates entering primary-care specialties. Rankings were sorted by quality assessment and research activity.

Engineering

Methodology: Programs at 198 engineering schools that grant doctoral degrees were surveyed; 193 responded, and all 198 schools were listed in the directory. Rankings for 192 schools that provided the data needed were calculated based on a weighted average of 10 indicators, including quality assessment, student selectivity, faculty resources and research activity. Specialty rankings were out of 55 schools, and were based solely on assessments by department heads in each specialty area. Department heads in their specialty area rated the other schools that offered a doctoral degree in the specialty on a 5-point scale.

Education

Methodology: Graduate programs at 278 schools granting doctoral degrees in education were surveyed in fall 2007and early 2008. Of those schools, 245 responded; 242 provided the data needed to calculate rankings based on a weighted average of the 10 quality measures described here.The schools were ranked by quality assessment, student selectivity, faculty resources and research activity. Ranking model changes that were used in the faculty resources part of the rankings in 2009 included student-faculty ratio and number of doctoral degrees granted. The proportion of fall 2007 degree-seeking students that were doctoral students and the proportion of full-time faculty engaged in funded research were dropped from the 2009 ranking model, and the weight in the ranking model of the average research expenditures per full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty member averaged over fiscal years 2006 and 2007 was increased to 15 percent from 10 percent.

Sciences

Methodology: Rankings of doctoral programs in the sciences were based on the results of surveys sent to academics in computer science, mathematics, and physics during the fall of 2007, in biological sciences and chemistry during fall 2006, and in other fields during fall 2005. The individuals rated the quality of the program at each institution from “marginal” (1) to “outstanding” (5). The schools with the highest average scores among those who rated them were sorted in descending order and appear here. Surveys in biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, and physics were conducted by Synovate.

Fine Arts

Methodology: The master of fine arts program rankings were based solely on the results of a peer assessment survey. Their ranking, completed in 2008 based on surveys conducted in fall 2007, were based solely on a survey of art school deans and other top art school academics, two per school, at 220 master of fine arts programs in art and design. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Scores for each school were totaled and divided by the number of respondents who rated that school. The response rate was 39 percent. Surveys were conducted by Synovate

Library and Information Sciences

Methodology: US. News ranked 50 master’s degree programs in the United States that are accredited by the American Library Association. The rankings were based on the results of a fall 2005 survey sent to the dean of the program, the program director, and a senior faculty member in each of these programs. The questionnaires asked individuals to rate the academic quality of programs at each institution as outstanding (5); strong (4); good (3); adequate (2); or marginal (1). Scores for each school were totaled and divided by the number of respondents who rated that school. The response rate was 51 percent.

Social Sciences and Humanities

Methodology: Rankings of doctoral programs in the social sciences and humanities are based solely on the results of peer assessment surveys sent to academics in each discipline. Each school (or, in the case of psychology, each institutional unit) offering a doctoral program was sent two surveys. The questionnaires asked respondents to rate the academic quality of the program at each institution on a 5-point scale: outstanding (5); strong (4); good (3); adequate (2); or marginal (1). Scores for each school were determined by computing a trimmed mean (eliminating the two highest and two lowest responses) of the ratings of all respondents who rated that school; average scores were then sorted in descending order.

Health

Methodology: All the health rankings are based solely on the results of peer assessment surveys sent to deans, other administrators, and/or faculty at accredited degree programs or schools in each discipline. All schools surveyed in a discipline were sent the same number of surveys. Respondents rated the academic quality of programs on a 5-point scale: outstanding (5 points), strong (4), good (3), adequate (2), or marginal (1). Only fully accredited programs in good standing during the survey period are ranked. Those schools with the highest average scores appear in the rankings. Nursing specialty rankings are based solely on ratings by educators at peer schools. Nursing educators nominated up to 10 schools for excellence in each area.

Public Affairs

Methodology: The public affairs program rankings are based solely on the results of a peer assessment survey. Their ranking, completed in 2008 and based on surveys conducted in fall 2007, are based entirely on responses of deans, directors, and department chairs representing 269 master’s of public affairs and administration programs, two per school. Respondents were asked to rate the academic quality of master’s programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Scores for each school were totaled and divided by the number of respondents who rated that school. The response rate was 40 percent. Surveys were conducted by Synovate.

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