Updated rankings for programs in these, the largest professional graduate school disciplines, will be released on March 11 on usnews.com as part of the 2015 Best Graduate Schools rankings.
The 2015 rankings – highlights of which will be available in the "Best Graduate Schools 2015" guidebook, on sale April 8 – will also include various specialties within each of those five broad disciplines, as well as part-time MBA and part-time law school programs.
In a change from previous years' rankings, we asked all ranked schools in the fields of law, medicine and education to supply U.S. News with names of working professionals or company contacts in their disciplines who hire their new graduates. U.S. News used a sampling of those names as the basis for creating the pool of nonacademics surveyed in those fields who were asked to rate the schools.
In the medical school ranking model for admissions data, U.S. News will start using the MCAT median total score and median undergraduate GPA instead of the average of those two factors.
Methodologies for the other disciplines will not change from last year. Explanations of the methodologies used to create all the rankings will also be available March 11.
All the extended rankings and complete data will be available online only through the subscription-based U.S. News Graduate School Compass, which will offer the most comprehensive rankings.
New peer assessment surveys were conducted for the 2015 rankings in some of the important STEM fields. Rankings will be published online for science Ph.D. programs in biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, physics and statistics as well as key specialties associated with those disciplines.
Rankings of graduate health programs such as nursing and physician assistant studies, Ph.D. programs in the social sciences and humanities, and master's degree programs in public affairs, fine arts and library and information studies based on earlier surveys will continue to be available on the site, labeled with the year that the ranking was first published.
The Best Graduate Schools rankings allow prospective graduate students to compare concrete characteristics of schools. The data includes factors such as student-faculty ratios; research expenditures; acceptance rates; undergraduate grade-point averages; average scores on the GRE, LSAT, and GMAT; and job placement success upon graduation.
Prospective students should also consider other factors along with these concrete measures, such as the course offerings and department culture, total cost to obtain the degree, the advising or mentoring students can expect to receive and the location and campus life.
rankings should be a supplement for careful decision-making, not a substitute. U.S. News encourages students to use the rankings as a tool to help choose the right graduate school, not as the sole factor behind their final choice.