Magazine Includes Auburn Programs in Annual Review of Graduate Schools

Published: Apr 10, 2008 1:00:00 AM
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Source: AU Report

New rankings of graduate programs from U.S. News & World Report contain a range of results for several colleges and schools at Auburn.

The magazine's 2009 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools," ranks four AU colleges and schools and three programs from the College of Liberal Arts against other programs in similar fields across the United States. The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering was the only AU college in which multiple departments were also ranked.

Engineering at AU was ranked 42nd among public institutions and 73rd among public and private institutions in the rankings, which U.S. News released on March 28. The college's ranking increased three spots for public institutions and one spot among all engineering schools, compared to the magazine's 2007 survey.

The doctor of pharmacy program in AU's Harrison School of Pharmacy, meanwhile, was ranked 23rd among public institutions and 24th overall. Numbers for last year were unavailable.

Although the rankings are popular reading material for the public, scholars frequently question the validity of the magazine's surveys, noting that large, random shifts, which are common and unexplained in U.S. News rankings from year to year, seldom occur in scientific surveys.

The magazine, without explanation for individual placements, moved its ranking of the AU College of Business up 14 points to 66th place among all business schools. It ranked the doctoral program in the College of Education at no. 77 among all schools in its field. The college was ranked no. 70 overall two years ago and no. 62 last year.

Comparative numbers of public institutions in education and business were not available.

Although the magazine's ranking for graduate programs in the College of Business rose to no. 66, the magazine only listed the first 60 schools on its Web site. It confirmed the ranking with representatives of the dean's office.

Three graduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts were ranked. One of those, AU's program in speech-language pathology, was ranked 43rd among public institutions and 53rd overall.

AU's doctoral program in clinical psychology was ranked 83rd among all such programs nationwide, while the graduate program in public administration was in a 15-way tie for 57th among private and public institutions. Comparative numbers just for public institutions in those fields were not available.

The magazine also ranked graduate programs in seven departments of the Ginn College of Engineering. Those departments and their rankings against other public institutions were: Aerospace, 23; Chemical, 32; Civil, 33; Computer Science and Software, 33; Electrical and Computer, 30; Industrial and Systems, 15; and Mechanical, 40.

U.S. News obtains its rankings from responses to questionnaires submitted to graduate schools, but not all institutions respond to the inquiries or submit complete data. Evaluation data vary widely but usually include opinions on a program's quality from deans at other institutions and external sources such as recruiters, as well as data on GRE scores of students, acceptance rates of applicants, student-faculty ratio, degrees granted and research expenditures.

The magazine does not rank all graduate programs at U.S. institutions; of those it does rank, many are evaluated every second or third year