April 23, 2009 — Five of the University of Virginia's graduate schools and 12 of its programs are among the nation's best, according U.S. News & World Report's 2010 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools. The schools of law, business, education, engineering and medicine were all in the top 50.
"The University of Virginia has been honored with a great deal of good news this month," said Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., U.Va.'s executive vice president and provost. "First, the announcement that five of our faculty members were selected as Guggenheim Fellows, followed by the election of four of our faculty to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"And now five of our schools have been ranked among the nation's top universities for their graduate programs. These prestigious honors reflect the hard work being done here every day – by individuals, schools and units – and are testament to our collective dedication to the sustained excellence of the University."
U.S. News bases its rankings on expert opinions about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students. Some 11,000 academics and professionals participated in surveys last fall in order to compile the rankings of more than 1,200 programs.
The School of Law led the University's rankings, sharing 10th place with Duke and Northwestern universities. The Darden School of Business tied for 15th with Carnegie Mellon. The School of Medicine ranked 24th among research universities and 29th among primary care programs.
The Curry School of Education rose seven spots this year, moving into the No. 24 position in a tie with five other universities, including Arizona State University, the University of Illinois and the University of Maryland.
In a competitive environment in which many other schools are also working diligently to improve, Curry's ascent is a tremendous step forward, Dean Robert Pianta said. "This jump shows that our peers regard us as on the right track and serious about the quality of what we do," he said.
The U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science moved up one position in the rankings, from No. 38 last year to No. 37.
"Our rise in the rankings reflects a continuation of our strengths, respect among our peers as well as improvements at the Engineering School," said Dean James H. Aylor. "We have much to celebrate and to look forward to, including the increased research capacities we will have when construction is completed on Rice Hall, our information technology and engineering building."
In addition to the overall rankings of graduate schools, U.S. News ranks individual departments and programs.
The magazine ranked Ph.D. programs in several disciplines that fall under the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. These were the results of surveys of department chairs and senior faculty from across the country.
The Arts & Sciences rankings include:
• English: 10th, three-way tie with Duke and UCLA;
• History (Corcoran): 20th, tie with Rutgers;
• Psychology: 23rd, six-way tie with such schools as Johns Hopkins, Duke and the University of Chicago; and
• Economics: 28th, three-way tie with Ohio State University and Washington University in St. Louis.
The English, Psychology and History departments each had two specialties that received top honors: American literature before 1865 (No. 4) and 18th- through 20th-century British literature (No. 6) in English; developmental psychology (No. 4) and social psychology (No. 10) in Psychology; and modern U.S. history (No. 8) and U.S. colonial history (No. 6) in History.
"I am pleased by this recognition of the College's departments and specialties that were ranked this year," said Arts & Sciences dean Meredith Jung-En Woo. "Building strength across all of our departments will require disciplined investment in graduate fellowships and new faculty to keep pace with climbing undergraduate enrollment."
The Law School's international law program, which was ranked by faculty who teach in the field, tied for No. 8 with George Washington University.
The Darden School's business management program also received a No. 8 ranking as judged by business school deans and MBA program directors.
The Curry School had four programs highlighted: special education (No. 4),
elementary education (No. 5), secondary education (No. 6), and curriculum and instruction (No. 10).