Graduate schools fare well
|The Law School, consistently ranked in the top 10, climbed to the No. 8 spot in the latest U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of graduate schools and programs, released on April 1.
By Anne Bromley
Five of the University’s graduate schools continue to be ranked among the best in the nation, according to the latest U.S. News & Word Report annual rankings of graduate schools and programs, which were released April 1.
The most significant rankings include the Law School, consistently ranked in the top 10, which inched up to eighth, in a tie with Michigan; and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, which jumped from No. 42 to No. 34. The Darden Graduate School of Business Administration came in at 14th and the Curry School of Education at 22nd. The School of Medicine was ranked 26th in research.
The Engineering School’s rise in the rankings is the largest the school has seen in 10 years.
“We are pleased to see the excellence of our faculty and students recognized in this manner,” said interim dean James H. Aylor. “Recent initiatives in NanoQuEST [which comprises nanoscale and quantum engineering, science and technology], bioengineering and other programs have given our school more visibility, and we see this rise in rankings as an indication of our bright future ahead.”
Engineering tied at No. 34 with N.C. State, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Washington University in St. Louis.
U.Va. was the only medical school in Virginia to be ranked in the survey and is one of just six schools in the mid-Atlantic, including Johns Hopkins, Duke and U.N.C., to crack the top 30 in the research category. The magazine ranked U.Va. 40th in primary care.
“U.S. News uses a number of factors to measure the success of medical education today, and one of those is research dollars from the National Institutes of Health,” said Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the School of Medicine. “We are proud at U.Va. to be once again among the top 20 percent of all medical schools. Now, with the addition of a number of world-class physicians, scientists and teachers and new construction to increase research capacity at U.Va., we will continue to lead cutting-edge medical research to cure disease and benefit patients in Virginia and worldwide.”
U.S. News does not rank every graduate school or every graduate program every year. Of those that are ranked this year, several departments or areas placed high on their respective lists: international law, No. 8; in the Darden School, management, No. 7, and nonprofit, No. 8; and in the College, developmental psychology, No. 9.
In the Curry School’s curriculum, instruction and special education department, the special education program maintained its top 5 ranking, and secondary education was ranked seventh, up from 10th last year.
“Special Education has an excellent reputation for preparing doctoral-level teacher educators,” said Daniel Hallahan, department chairman. “One thing [in secondary education] that I think distinguishes Curry is that we are consistently strong across all of the areas.” Secondary education includes English, foreign language, math, science and social studies.
“In addition, we have a strong national reputation in technology applications, especially in science and math. And in the past few years, we have recruited some exceedingly strong young faculty in the areas of social studies and science,” Hallahan said.
Overall, the English department ranked No. 12, with four areas in the top 10: 18th through 20th century British literature, No. 3; American literature before 1865, No. 5 (tied with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and the University of California, Los Angeles); American Literature after 1865, No. 7; and African-American literature, No. 9, tied with the University of Maryland.
English department chairman Gordon Braden takes the news with a grain of salt. “I really prefer to think of academic quality in absolute terms — being very, very good — rather than competitive ones (truth isn’t a zero-sum game), and, of course, anyone who’s had anything to do with the operation of these rating systems knows that the scoring is in itself something of a joke. ... But I know the sport of it all is irresistible, and I’m certainly glad to have some of our very, very good departments’ excellencies recognized by the mainstream press.”
The history department, tied for 19th with Indiana University and the University of Texas, Austin, had three highly ranked areas: U.S. colonial history, No. 7; modern history, No. 13 (tied with Rutgers); and African history, No. 17 (tied with Princeton University).
In addition, the economics department was ranked 27th and the psychology department, 28th.
Categories that were not newly ranked this year: health disciplines, the sciences, fine arts (including creative writing) and public affairs.
U.S. News ranks a longer list of subcategories. To view them, visit www.virginia.edu/Facts /Glance_Rankings.htm.