University graduate programs rank highly in U.S. News and World Report
Several Washington University graduate school programs ranked within the top 50 in their respective fields on U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate School” lists, released Monday.
The Olin Business School jumped from 29th to 25th place among business schools. Joseph P. Fox, associate dean and director of MBA programs in the Olin Business School, said he was he was pleased U.S. News recognized the school’s excellence but that it does not change his already-high opinion of the school.
“We’re encouraged that the rankings show us to be moving in the right direction, but the students and alumni already knew how good the education is here,” Fox said. “We’re satisfied, not surprised, to see the rankings reflect significant improvements.”
Fox said that this year’s rankings bode well for both those coming into the business school as well as those graduating from it.
“An increase in size and strength of the applicant pool allowed us to deliver a really strong incoming class, which certainly gave us upward mobility,” he said. “And our graduates are also doing better-finding jobs after graduation, average starting salary and so on-which gave us the opportunity to get ahead of some of the programs ranked around us.”
Also distinguished was the University’s School of Medicine, which ranked third in the country, moving up one spot from its fourth-place ranking of the past two years. The medical school also ranked 13th in clinical patient care.
Within the medical school, the occupation therapy (OT) department ranked first in its field alongside Boston University. OT Business Manager Bill Bauer said the ranking shows the high opinion that other occupational therapists-whose responses determine the rankings-have of the department.
“It’s a reflection of our peers,” he said. “Our goal is to foster excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service. It’s an honor to be recognized by our peers.”
The Law School also fared well in the rankings, standing at 19th in the nation.
Vice Dean Daniel Keating stressed, however, that the school’s ranking isn’t the final determination of its value.
“We are pleased to be named a top 20 law school for the third year in a row, but we don’t feel like the year-to-year variation in the rankings necessarily reflect actual differences in our quality,” Keating said.
The rankings, he said, function instead as a quick, standardized way for people to judge the school.
“Whether the rankings are accurate is almost beside the point. Prospective students pay attention to them, current students pay attention to them and prospective faculty and alumni pay attention to them,” Keating said.
The Law School ranked high in reputation among academics, lawyers and judges, and in student quality.
“We did extremely well in those categories, and those are three of the most highly-weighted categories,” Keating said.
The University’s undergraduate program is listed as 12 among “Top National Universities,” following the University of Chicago and Dartmouth College.
While undergraduates are glad to see the University recognized, many said that the rankings play little role in their assessment of the University.
“It doesn’t matter to me that much,” sophomore Mindy Sher said. “But maybe it will help publicize Wash. U. as a whole, since there are still a lot of people who haven’t even heard of the University.”
And though sophomore Edward Lu said he would rely on graduate school rankings to choose programs, he agreed that the specific position of the University’s schools is irrelevant.
“I don’t really follow [the rankings],” he said. “It’s a prestige thing, and people shouldn’t pay too much attention to that stuff. The top 10, 15, 20 universities, they’re all about the same at that point.”
In total, 16 of the University’s graduate programs were ranked within the top 50 of their respective fields.
-With additional Reporting by Ann Johnson, Ben Sales and Sam Guzik.
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