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April 14, 2005

Pitt graduate programs ranked in U.S. News & World Report

Pitt was included among the nation’s top graduate schools in several disciplines and subspecialties in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings.

Each year, the magazine measures graduate programs in five major disciplines (business, education, engineering, law and medicine), using measures such as peer assessments, entering students’ test scores, faculty/student ratios and reputation ratings drawn from inside and outside academia.

Information on the five disciplines was printed in the magazine’s April 11 edition, which was published last week.

The magazine also produces an expanded supplement that includes more extensive listings, and top 10 rankings for subdisciplines and specialty program areas.

In addition, U.S. News offers an expanded on-line edition of its rankings, with even more extensive listings. The on-line version is the source for this story.

The magazine this year also ranks graduate programs in the social sciences and humanities, last ranked in 2001, and certain health specialties.

The magazine’s web site ( also includes rankings done in previous years; only new rankings are summarized here.

There were no new rankings in the fine arts, natural sciences, library science, nursing or public affairs areas.

U.S. News methodology

According to U.S. News, rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinion about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students. “For the rankings in all five areas, indicator and opinion data come from surveys of nearly 1,300 programs and almost 9,600 academics and other professionals conducted in fall 2004,” U.S. News stated.

In the five disciplines, the magazine also surveyed professionals in the field who are directly involved in the hiring process.

“The statistical indicators used in our rankings of business, education, engineering, law and medical schools 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 that can be linked to their degrees,” the magazine stated.

For example, indicators in the business discipline include starting salaries after graduation and the time it takes graduates to find jobs. For law, indicators include state bar exam passage rates and how long it takes new attorneys to land jobs.

Every school’s performance is presented relative to the other schools with which it is being compared. Tied schools are listed alphabetically.

Rankings of graduate programs in selected health fields 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.

The magazine made some adjustments to its methodology from previous years.

In the medical school research category, U.S. News added the total dollar amount of research grants awarded per full-time science and clinical faculty member from the National Institutes of Health to the medical school.

In education and engineering, the magazine used research expenditures per full-time faculty member instead of per full-time faculty member engaged in research.

In engineering the Graduate Record Exam analytical score was eliminated because that portion of the test is no longer offered.


The Katz Graduate School of Business was ranked No. 57 (tied with Southern Methodist University) out of 88 business schools listed in the expanded on-line edition. That ranking is down six spots from 2004.

According to U.S. News, all 391 master’s programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business were surveyed. Of these, 318 responded, and 189 provided the data needed to calculate rankings using the magazine’s methodology.

One business specialty at Katz was ranked nationally. The school’s information systems specialty was ranked 17th nationally (the same spot as last year), out of the 30 programs listed.

Business specialty rankings are based solely on ratings by business school deans and directors of accredited master’s programs from the list of schools surveyed.

They were asked to nominate up to 10 programs for excellence in each of the 10 specialty areas listed.


Pitt’s School of Education was tied with Temple University for 31st (up from 34th last year) out of 98 education schools listed in this year’s rankings.

Of the 249 education schools granting doctoral degrees surveyed, 199 replied, with 190 of those providing the data needed to calculate rankings, according to U.S. News.

The school’s educational psychology specialty was tied for 21st with Penn State University and the University of Arizona among the 23 schools listed. The program was not ranked last year.

Specialty ranks are based solely on nominations by education-school deans and deans of graduate studies from the list of schools surveyed. They selected up to 10 top programs in each of 10 areas.


Pitt’s School of Engineering tied for 49th with Brown University. That ranking was up four slots from last year. Programs at 198 engineering schools that grant doctoral degrees were surveyed, with 180 responding. Of those, 179 provided the data needed to calculate rankings; U.S. News lists the top 92 in its on-line premium edition.

Pitt also had several engineering specialty programs listed among the nation’s best by U.S. News. Those rankings are based solely on assessments by department heads in each specialty area.

Pitt’s specialty program in biomedical/bioengineering tied for 15th, the same as last year. Pitt tied with Columbia University and the universities of Texas-Austin and Virginia. Forty-nine such programs were listed.

Pitt’s program in chemical engineering tied for 40th with Case Western Reserve and Yale universities, down six spots from last year, of the 67 specialty programs listed.

The school’s civil engineering specialty area tied for 62nd, up from 65th last year, among 86 institutions listed overall. Pitt tied with Clarkson, Louisiana State-Baton Rouge, Northeastern, Oklahoma State and Oregon State universities, as well as with the universities of Delaware and Oklahoma.

Among 83 programs listed in the electrical/electron/communications specialty area, Pitt tied for 55th with Auburn, Colorado State, Lehigh, Polytechnic and Syracuse universities, as well as with the universities of Iowa and Utah and Washington State University. That ranking was down one spot from last year.

In the industrial/manufacturing specialty category, Pitt was ranked 24th, the same as last year, of the 39 programs listed by the magazine’s on-line edition.

Among 100 specialty programs in mechanical engineering, Pitt’s program tied for 60th, up two spots from last year’s rankings. Pitt tied with Boston, Clemson, Colorado State and Washington State universities, SUNY-Stony Brook, and the universities of Cincinnati, Massachusetts-Amherst and Rochester.


For overall quality, Pitt’s School of Law was tied for 52nd (47th last year) with Baylor and Southern Methodist universities and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, out of a total of 179 accredited law schools nationwide.

In the health care law specialty, Pitt’s program ranked 11th among the top 15 programs listed. The rankings are based solely on votes by law faculty who are listed in the AALS Directory of Law Teachers 2003-2004 as teaching in the field.

U.S. News also ranked all 179 law schools based on a diversity index of data collected by the magazine “to identify law schools where students are most likely to encounter classmates from different racial or ethnic groups.”

The magazine created the index based on the total proportion of minority students — not including international students — and the mix of racial and ethnic groups on campus.

The methodology source is the International Journal of Public Opinion Research.

According to the magazine, Pitt law school’s diversity index is 0.24 (maximum score is 1.0), which tied it nationally for 128th with the College of William and Mary, Howard and Mercer universities, the New England School of Law, the University of Dayton and Washburn University.

African Americans, who represent 7 percent of the Pitt law school 2004-2005 student body, are the largest minority group, according to the magazine.

“Because student-body ethnic diversity data are not consistently compiled and reported as yet for other types of graduate schools, U.S. News prepared a diversity table for law schools only,” the on-line version stated.


U.S. News issues two separate medical school rankings, one emphasizing research activity and the other a school’s preparation of primary care physicians.

Pitt’s School of Medicine was tied for 16th (last year it ranked 15th) for research among 64 medical schools listed, and was tied for 40th (31st last year) for primary care among the 62 schools listed in the on-line edition.

In the primary care category, Pitt tied with the Medical College of Georgia and the universities of Mississippi and Virginia.

The magazine surveyed the 124 accredited medical schools (plus 19 accredited schools of osteopathic medicine) for both primary care and research rankings; 123 schools provided the data needed to calculate rankings in both medical school categories.

Among medical school specialties, Pitt’s AIDS program ranked 19th among 22 such programs listed in the U.S. News on-line edition. Pitt was tied with Washington University in St. Louis.

The drug and alcohol abuse program tied for 17th (among 21 listed) with Boston and Stanford universities and the universities of Connecticut and North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The geriatrics specialty was ranked 13th among 19 schools listed.

Internal medicine was ranked 22nd among 27 schools listed.

None of those programs was ranked in last year’s on-line edition.

The pediatrics specialty program tied for 15th with Northwestern University among 22 schools listed. The program was ranked 19th last year.

Pitt’s women’s health program ranked 5th (6th last year) nationally among 20 such programs listed.

Medical specialty rankings are based solely on ratings by deans and senior faculty at peer schools, who were asked to identify up to 10 schools offering the best programs in each specialty area.

On a rotating basis, U.S. News also rates graduate programs in selected health disciplines. Only 2005 rankings are included here.

Pitt’s School of Pharmacy doctoral program was ranked tied for 24th with the University of Colorado-Denver/Health Sciences Center among 57 such programs listed. The magazine ranked doctoral programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

Social Sciences and Humanities

U.S. News and World Report ranked Ph.D. programs in economics, English, history, political science, psychology and sociology, along with subspecialty areas in each of those disciplines.

Pitt’s economics Ph.D. program was ranked 44th, tied with Arizona State and Texas A&M universities and the University of Florida. The magazine listed 56 institutions overall in its on-line edition.

The doctoral program in English tied for 36th with programs at the universities of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Notre Dame, among 93 programs listed.

Literary criticism and theory is a Pitt specialty area that was tied for 17th with the University of Wisconsin-Madison; 18 schools were listed. Specialty rankings are based on nominations by department heads and directors of graduate studies at peer schools from the list of schools surveyed.

Pitt’s history Ph.D. program tied for 42nd among 91 such programs listed. Pitt tied with Claremont Graduate School, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

In political science, Pitt’s Ph.D. program tied for 41st with doctoral programs at Georgetown, George Washington and Rutgers-New Brunswick universities and with the University of Notre Dame.

Pitt’s psychology doctoral program ranked tied for 55th among 209 schools listed in the on-line edition of the magazine. Pitt tied with Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, the universities of Arizona, Maryland-College Park, Michigan-Ann Arbor, Minnesota-Twin Cities and Southern California, as well as the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign and Vanderbilt University.

The sociology Ph.D. program at Pitt tied for 49th among 64 schools listed. Pitt tied with Boston College, Brandeis, New School Texas A&M-College Station, universities and the University of Notre Dame.

—Peter Hart

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