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Programs Make Big Gains in “U.S. News” Grad School Rankings

March 15, 2011-Graduate level programs at the University of Utah are heading in the right direction, according to the 2012 edition of America’s Best Grad Schools published by U.S. News & World Report.

The College of Education made the biggest jump in the rankings this year, moving up 25 spots to number 66 in the nation. “The college has undertaken several exciting initiatives this past year to expand faculty research opportunities,” says Michael L. Hardman, dean of the College of Education. “We are building on the quality of our programs, creating access, equity and diversity in the student experience and we are very pleased to learn these accomplishments are being recognized through these rankings.”

In the category of part-time (or professional) MBA, the David Eccles School of Business moved up to number 44, a gain of 14 spots in just one year. The school’s overall graduate program ranks 80th. “We are honored to be included among the nation’s top part-time MBA programs,” said Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. “The ranking highlights the business school’s world-class faculty and exceptional students. Our program’s unique, hands-on learning environment empowers these part-time students to enhance their careers and the organizations they represent.”

The S.J. Quinney College of Law was once again recognized as an elite national program, ranking number 42 in the nation. “This ranking reflects, albeit imperfectly, the accomplishments of our exciting programs,” Dean Hiram Chodosh says. “The College of Law climbed in major indices considered by the rankings, including improvement in reputation among lawyers and judges; median LSAT scores; median GPA, in which the College of Law ranked 22nd; expenditures per student and bar passage. The college’s student-faculty ratio places it at 5th in the country.”

The university’s solid science programs continue to hold their own with mathematics ranking number 30 in the nation U.S. Other programs also held their rankings or advanced: chemistry came in at 36th, biology moved up two spots to rank 56th, earth sciences ranks 45th, and physics is at 63rd. “Each time these rankings come out, the departments in the College of Science show improvement toward our goal of moving all of them into the top 25,” says Pierre Sokolsky, dean of the College of Science. “We have hired some exciting new faculty over the past few years and these new rankings are proof that others agree that the programs they are putting together are top-notch.”

University of Utah health sciences make another strong showing this year in the U.S. News rankings. The medical school is ranked 54th in the nation for research and 26th for primary care. The publication also recognizes it for the specialty of physician assistant training, coming in at number 2 in the nation, moving up two spots. Family medicine ranks 15th. Pharmacy ranks number 16, physical therapy comes in at number 19, nursing is at 36th, up 11 spots from the year before, and nursing-midwifery is ranked 8th.

“The latest US News rankings show that the University of Utah health sciences remain among the nation’s top training programs,” said Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health sciences. “From our pharmacy and nursing colleges to primary medical care, physician assistant training, and other areas, our students are receiving the education and training to be among the best in their fields.”

Other University of Utah programs fared well in the rankings. The College of Engineering ranks 60th, up three spots from last year. Engineering also ranks 22nd for biomedical/bioengineering, an improvement of one spot. Computer sciences ranks 39th, up seven spots. Chemical engineering comes in at 53rd, electrical/electronic/communications engineering also holds steady at 53rd, civil engineering once again ranks 65th and mechanical engineering, 67th.

The U’s College of Health has several programs included again this year. Audiology is ranked as the number 36th program in the country and occupational therapy is number 65. The College of Social Work ranked 53rd in the country. Programs in social sciences and humanities show up again in the rankings. Namely, the English program holds steady at 63rd, the psychology program is ranked 66th, clinical psychology is 57th, political science is 83rd and history is 92nd.

U.S. News also recognized the U’s Master of Public Administration program, which the publication ranked 51st in the category of public affairs. The U’s graduate program in the College of Fine Arts comes in at number 106.

Each year, U.S. News ranks school programs in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. From time to time, other programs are also surveyed and ranked. U.S. News says its rankings are based 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. Highlights of the graduate school rankings are scheduled to be published in the May print issue of U.S. News & World Report magazine, available for newsstand purchase beginning on March 16, 2011. For more information, visit