Methodology: Best Health Schools Rankings

Find out how U.S. News ranks graduate health programs

By Robert Morse and Sam Flanigan
Posted 2014

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 scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). They were instructed to select "don't know" if they did not have enough knowledge to rate a program. Only fully accredited programs in good standing during the survey period are ranked. Those schools with the highest average scores appear in the rankings.

In fall 2011, surveys were conducted for the 2012 rankings of Doctor of Pharmacy programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (response rate: 39 percent); doctoral programs in clinical psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (25 percent); graduate programs in occupational therapy accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association (41 percent); audiology programs and speech-language pathology programs accredited by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (55 percent and 31 percent, respectively); physical therapy programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (40 percent); and Master of Social Work programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education (53 percent). Surveys were conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.

In fall 2010, surveys were conducted for the 2011 rankings of schools of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (response rate: 61 percent); health care management programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (76 percent); master's programs in nursing accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (33 percent); graduate nurse anesthesia programs accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (49 percent); graduate nurse-midwifery programs accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education (59 percent); physician assistant programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (45 percent); rehabilitation counselor education programs accredited by the Commission on Standards and Accreditation: Council on Rehabilitation Education (40 percent); and veterinary schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (48 percent). Peer surveys were conducted by the market research firm Synovate.

The nursing specialty programs are ranked based solely on input from educators at peer nursing institutions, who nominated up to 10 schools for excellence in each area; schools with the most votes are listed.

The number of schools surveyed were: audiology, 78; clinical psychology, 215; health care management, 75; nursing, 467; nursing-anesthesia, 113; nursing-midwifery, 38; occupational therapy, 156; pharmacy, 125; physical therapy, 201; physician assistant, 130; public health, 44; rehabilitation counseling, 98; social work, 206; speech-language pathology, 250; and veterinary medicine, 28.

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 listed as 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 health rankings, which 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 less than 2.0 are listed in alphabetical order as Rank Not Published.

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.