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University of Utah Programs Make Big Gains in ‘U.S. News’ Rankings

April 23, 2009 – Several graduate level programs at the University of Utah moved up multiple spots in the just released issue of U.S. News & World Report‘s 2010 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

For the second year in a row the S.J. Quinney College of Law moved up a full six spots, this year ranking 45th. It was also ranked 18th in the nation for environmental law. The U’s College of Law has been ranked in the top tier of law schools every year since the rankings began. “The rankings reflect the school’s achievements along almost every index that the methodology weighs, including selectivity in admissions, improvement in reputation, a lower student-faculty ratio, success in career placement, and an increase in resources per student,” said Dean Hiram Chodosh.

The biggest jump in the rankings this year belongs to programs in social sciences and humanities. The English program moved up nine spots this year, ranking 63rd, while the Department of Psychology moved up a full 41 spots. U.S. News ranks the psychology program 66th after having been ranked 107th the year before. “We are thrilled that our research productivity and graduate training successes are being recognized,” said Psychology Chair Cynthia Berg. “We have state-of-the-art research in four areas of psychology: clinical, cognition and neural sciences, developmental, and social psychology. A unique feature of the program is its interdisciplinary focus where students receive training that cross-cuts these boundaries and significantly adds to the breadth of their training.”

The College of Education improved two places, coming in 71st overall this year.

The University’s solid science rankings held steady this year, ranking in mathematics (33rd), chemistry (36th), biology (58th), computer sciences (39th), Earth sciences (43rd), and physics (56th). “The College of Science has as its goal that all of our departments are ranked in the top 25 in the country,” says Pierre Sokolsky, dean of the College of Science. “It is very gratifying to see that we are moving in this direction, with mathematics and chemistry coming down the home stretch. Our faculty members are truly dedicated to the education and success of our graduates, and the world is beginning to pay attention.”

The high math ranking is a tribute to the students and faculty in the department according to Chair and Professor Aaron Bertram. “The strong placement of Ph.D. graduates and the vibrant postdoctoral program in mathematics, which populates the mathematics community with Utah graduates and former postdocs, are keys to the success,” said Bertram. “Also, our hiring practices are key to maintaining our high ranking year after year. We only make offers to candidates who will raise the quality of the program.”

The U’s Health Sciences Center continued its strong showing in the U.S. News rankings. This year, the Medical School is ranked 51st in the nation for research and 29th for primary care, the latter moving up two spots. It also received recognition for the specialty of rural medicine ranking 10th, pharmacy (16th), its physician assistant program (4th), nursing (47th), nursing-midwifery (8th), physical therapy (19th), audiology (36th), social work (53rd), clinical psychology (57th), and occupational therapy (65th).

Other University of Utah programs fared well in the rankings. The College of Engineering was ranked 62nd in the nation, tying it with four other schools. U.S. News also recognized the long tradition of excellence of the U’s Master of Public Administration program, which the publication ranked 51st in the category of Public Affairs and the U’s Fine Arts program came 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 April 28, and the “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guidebook also available on April 28. For more information, visit