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Three University programs rank top 25

U.S. News 2015 recognizes Law, Darden, Curry

	<p>University of Virginia Law School, above. </p>

University of Virginia Law School, above.

U.S. News and World Report released its 2015 graduate school rankings last week, pegging several University programs as among the top in the nation.

The Darden School of Business and the Law School were the highest ranked University schools, keeping in line with previous years’ rankings. Darden moved up one spot from 2014, landing at No. 11, while the Law school dropped one spot for the No. 8 ranking.

Representatives from both schools, however, qualified the rankings. Stephen Parr, the Law School’s senior associate dean for administration, said in an email not to read too much into the one spot drop.

“We do not focus on year-to-year fluctuations in rankings, but instead on constantly improving the quality of teaching, research, and service in the Law School,” he said.

Sarah Neher, Darden’s associate dean for admissions, said though the school was happy to move up a spot, U.S. News was only one of several rankings the school uses to benchmark itself against competition.

“What’s different for business schools is that there are five [important] rankings, and U.S. News is just one of them,” Neher said. “When we put the five together it tells us something about how we compare.”

Neher said that Darden is more focused on high quality teaching than other top-ranked institutions are, and that U.S. News does not take into account teaching as much as other rankings.

“As long as we feel like we’re the best teaching school, we’re fine being 11,” she said. “But in the Economist we’re number 4 in the world … [and] they use a lot of teaching metrics.”

The University also fared well in education program rankings, with the Curry School standing at No. 22 —the same ranking as last year.

Within the education school category, the Curry School ranked in the top 10 nationally in educational administration and supervision, elementary teacher education, secondary teacher education and special education — three of which were improvements from last year.

“[The ranking] reflects the exceptional quality of our faculty and students,” Curry Dean Robert Pianta said in a University press release. “And our doctoral programs overall are among the top three public universities in terms of competitiveness for admission.”

The Medical School ranked No. 26 in research and No. 29 in primary care, while the Engineering School rounded out University schools ranked this year at No. 40. Within the Engineering School, four programs place in the top 30 — industrial/manufacturing/systems at No. 25, aerospace at No. 28, materials at No. 29 and biomedical at No. 30.

The magazine also ranked several science programs within the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, with physics at No. 44, chemistry at No. 49, biological sciences at No. 50 and mathematics at No. 52.

Other graduate school programs, like nursing and public policy, are not annually ranked by the magazine and were not included this year. The Nursing School currently sits at No. 15, while the Batten School sits at No. 46 based on previous years’ data.

According to the U.S. News press release accompanying the rankings, schools are “evaluated on standardized test scores of newly enrolled students, opinions from experts on each program’s quality, acceptance rates and other criteria.”


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