April 8, 2003

U.S. News Releases Rankings

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U.S. News and World Report released its annual rankings of the nation’s top graduate schools last week. Cornell’s scores varied slightly from the previous year but overall remained relatively stable.

“These are essentially the same range as they have been in previous years, and that shouldn’t be terribly surprising since the quality of first-rate programs doesn’t change much from year to year,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations.

The College of Veterinary Medicine held on to its position at number one, while the Law School moved up to tie for 10th place with the University of California-Berkeley’s Boalt Hall. The Johnson Graduate School of Management remained in 16th place, engineering was ranked 11th, education was ranked 24th and the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences was ranked 12th in research.

Dullea added that a similar ranking conducted by the National Research Institute would be released in the next year, a report which is “seen by faculty and students … as a more authoritative and in-depth review than what is done for U.S. News.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, the ratings are calculated using both expert opinions and statistical data. In the fields of business, education, engineering, law and medicine, faculty representatives and hiring professionals are asked to provide their analysis of programs. Numerical measures vary from field to field but include the average salary of graduates for business schools and bar exam passage rates for law schools. The report also looks at factors such as faculty-student ratios and research funds.

Although reaction to the rankings was generally positive, faculty members warned potential graduate students against relying too heavily on rankings in their search for schools. While U.S. News and World Report cautions that their rankings should be utilized in addition to “many other factors that cannot be measured,” some feel that students may place too much emphasis on the ratings.

“I have a sense that [students] do put value in them, more value than they should,” said Lee E. Teitelbaum, the Allan R. Tessler dean of the Law School. “The scale only includes those things which can easily be counted and the changes from year to year are usually small changes in areas of random variability.”

Dullea expressed a similar viewpoint, saying, “I think the [rankings] are of less importance for potential graduate students than a number of other factors.”

Archived article by Jeff Sickelco