Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, and medicine. The rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research, and students.
The data come from surveys of administrators at more than 1,250 programs and more than 13,000 academics and professionals, conducted during the fall of 2012 and early 2013.
As you research course offerings and weigh schools' intangible attributes, the information on our website can help you compare concrete factors such as faculty-student ratio and placement success upon graduation. It's important that you use the rankings to supplement—not substitute for—careful thought and your own inquiries.
Beyond the five disciplines ranked annually, we also periodically rank programs in science, social sciences and humanities, health, and many other areas based solely on the ratings of academic experts.
This year, new peer surveys were conducted and new rankings published for social sciences and humanities Ph.D. programs in economics, English, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. For the first time, the new Ph.D. rankings were based on the results of the two latest surveys, in 2008 and 2012.
In addition, new peer surveys were conducted and new rankings published for master's degree programs in library and information studies.
Rankings of graduate health fields, Ph.D. programs in science, and master's degree programs in public affairs and fine arts are based on earlier surveys and will be republished. The year that the ranking was first published appears at the top of each list.
To gather the peer assessment data, we asked deans, program directors, and senior faculty to judge the academic quality of programs in their field on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). In business, education, engineering, law, and medicine, we also surveyed professionals who hire new graduates.
Statistical indicators used in these disciplines fall into two categories: inputs, or measures of the qualities that students and faculty bring to the educational experience, and outputs, measures of graduates' achievements linked to their degrees. As inputs, for example, we use the appropriate admissions test scores for each discipline: the LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, or GRE.
We changed the way we computed the admissions selectivity component of the full-time and part-time MBA rankings and have introduced the GRE quantitative and verbal scores of students entering in fall 2012 as a ranking factor, while retaining GMAT scores. This allowed us to take into account the admissions test scores of the entire entering class.
In education and engineering, we incorporated both the new GRE scores (on a 130-170 scale) and the old GRE scores as ranking variables. In education and engineering, only the new GRE scores are displayed in the rankings tables. These GRE data are only available via a U.S. News Graduate School Compass subscription.
Different output measures are available for different fields. In business, for example, we use starting salaries and the ability of new MBAs to find jobs upon graduation or three months later. In law, we look at employment rates and state bar exam passage rates.
This year we changed the way we computed placement rates for 2011 J.D. grads employed at graduation and nine months later because more detailed statistics about the types of positions new attorneys land is now reported to the American Bar Association and U.S. News.
How schools are scored: To arrive at a school's rank, we examined the data for each quality indicator. We then standardized the value of each indicator about its mean. The weights applied to the indicators, which are discussed in the methodologies, reflect our judgment about their relative importance, as determined in consultation with experts in each field.
The final scores were rescaled so that the highest-scoring school was assigned 100; the other schools' scores were recalculated as a percentage of that top score. The scores were then rounded to the nearest whole number, and schools were placed in descending order.
Every school's performance is presented relative to those with which it is compared. A school with an overall score of 100 did not necessarily top out on every indicator; it accumulated the highest composite score.
A school's rank reflects the number of schools that sit above it; if three schools are tied at 1, the next school will be ranked 4, not 2. Tied schools are listed alphabetically.
Rank Not Published means that U.S. News did calculate a numerical ranking for that school/program, but decided for editorial reasons that since the school/program ranked below the U.S. News cutoff that U.S. News would not publish the ranking for that school/program.
U.S. News will supply schools/programs marked with Rank Not Published with their numerical rankings, if they submit a request following the procedures listed in the Information for School Officials.
Schools/programs marked as Rank Not Published are listed alphabetically. Schools in the rankings that are based solely on a 5.0 peer assessment score are numerically ranked down to a peer assessment score of greater than or equal to 2.0. Schools with scores beneath 2.0 are listed in alphabetical order as Rank Not Published. These include the engineering specialties and all the ranking in science, social sciences and humanities, health, and many other areas based solely on the ratings of academic experts.
Schools in the specialty rankings, which are based solely on nominations from school officials, are numerically ranked in descending order based on the number of nominations they received as long as the school/program received seven or more nominations in that specialty area. This means that schools ranked at the bottom of each specialty ranking have received seven nominations.
Unranked means that U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for that school or program. The school or program did not supply U.S. News with enough key statistical data to be numerically ranked by U.S. News. Schools or programs marked as Unranked are listed alphabetically and are listed below those marked as Rank Not Published.
Extended rankings and details on each discipline's ranking methodology can be found with the ranking tables.