U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings released

Thanks to gains in research and admissions, Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine maintained its top-25 position in this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings. For several other programs, improvements in individual categories weren’t enough to avoid slight dips in their overall standing.

“In an increasingly competitive environment, our challenge is not only to make progress,” President Barbara R. Snyder said, “but to improve at least as fast as our peers—and, we hope, aspirant institutions as well.”

The Case School of Engineering, for example, reported increases in both overall research dollars and dollars per faculty member, and graduated nearly 10 percent more doctoral students than the previous year. Yet those gains were not sufficient to keep its graduate ranking from slipping to 50th from 46th this year. Similarly, the law school raised its results for incoming students’ undergraduate grade point average (GPA), graduates’ employment, and bar passage rates, yet fell from 57th to 62nd. The school’s international law program fell one notch, to 12th, but the health law offering maintained its standing as the nation’s 9th-ranked program.

An even more extreme example of making statistical gains but losing rankings ground involves the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. U.S. News first ranked these programs in 2016, where Case Western Reserve’s debuted at 5th in the nation. This year the school’s DNP program became more selective, brought in a class with a higher mean undergraduate GPA, the proportion of faculty with doctoral degrees and the professions’ highest honors—and still fell to 8th. The University of Maryland at Baltimore, which tied with CWRU last year, improved in nearly as many categories, but dropped all the way to 10th. The nursing school’s master’s program also dipped year-to-year, moving from 8th to 11th.

The medical school reported $310.7 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding for 2016, an improvement of nearly 5 percent over the previous year and the first time the total topped $300 million since 2013. The school also posted an acceptance rate of 8.3 percent—1.5 percentage points more selective than the previous year—and an undergraduate median grade point average of 3.76, three-tenths of a point higher than for the class that entered 12 months’ earlier.

The Weatherhead School’s MBA program dropped from 71st to 77th, while the part-time MBA program fell from 51st to 63rd.

U.S. News & World Report ranks some graduate programs solely on peer assessment surveys that are not conducted each year. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences for example, saw its master’s degree program ranked 9thin the results released in 2016.