The new graduate school rankings are less than a month away.
Our new Best Graduate Schools rankings will be published online on March 13, 2012 on usnews.com. Highlights of the rankings will be published in the Best Graduate Schools 2013 edition newsstand guidebook, on sale April 3, 2012. The most comprehensive version of the upcoming Best Graduate Schools, including all the extended rankings and the most comprehensive data, will be available online only through the U.S. News Graduate School Compass.
As in the past, we will have new rankings in the five largest professional graduate school disciplines: business, law, education, engineering, and medicine, as well as the various specialties associated with each of those five broad disciplines.
In addition to the five main professional disciplines ranked annually, we also periodically rank programs in the sciences, social sciences and humanities, the health arena, and many other areas based solely on the ratings of academic experts. This year, new peer assessment surveys were conducted and new rankings will be published online for the health specialties of occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work, audiology, speech-language pathology, and clinical psychology, as well as for public affairs and fine arts.
Rankings of other health fields; Ph.D. programs in the humanities and social sciences and the sciences; and master's programs in library and information studies are based on earlier surveys and will be republished. The date of the ranking appears at the top of each list.
As you research course offerings and weigh schools' intangible attributes, the rankings and other information in our new Best Graduate Schools guide can help you make comparisons of concrete factors such as student-faculty ratios; research expenditures; acceptance rates; undergraduate grade point averages; average scores on the GRE, LSAT, and GMAT; and placement success upon graduation.
But many other factors that cannot be measured should also figure in your decision, including the course offerings and culture of departments that interest you, the advising or mentoring you can expect to receive, and the location and campus life.
It's important that you use the rankings to supplement—not substitute—careful thought and your own inquiries. The rankings should only be used as one tool to help you choose the right graduate school or program, not as the only factor driving your choice.