Three UC Berkeley graduate programs have been named best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Graduate School Rankings released Tuesday.
UC Berkeley’s departments of history, English and sociology ranked first in the nation overall. The College of Engineering and the Haas School of Business maintained their positions at third and seventh, respectively, while the School of Law faltered in rank by two places and returned to its 2011 ranking of ninth.
“We’re thrilled, of course, about our number one ranking,” said Ethan Shagan, chair of the department of history, in an email. “Great faculty attract great students, and great students attract great faculty, so we’ve been able to feed off of our own success.”
Additionally, more than 14 specializations within the graduate programs scored first-place rankings, including four in the English department, three in history and two in engineering. Every specialization examined by U.S. News & World Report across all graduate programs placed within the top 10 in their fields.
Among its particular specializations, the department of sociology ranked first in historical sociology, a subgroup in the department mostly composed of newly hired faculty.
“It reflects that the new people we have hired are being ranked as top scholars and recognized as leaders in their field,” said Raka Ray, chair of the department of sociology.
Despite budget cuts to state funding, UC Berkeley graduate programs have maintained top rankings since 2009.
“We’re especially proud that we managed to sustain that excellence throughout the budget crisis and have now emerged out (of) the other side still ranked number one,” Shagan said.
Rankings for business, medicine, education, engineering and law schools are determined by indicators such as average GPA, mean test scores, acceptance rates, student-to-faculty ratios and number of doctorates granted. However, rankings for other disciplines are based solely on reputation, which is determined by extensive surveys and feedback from graduate program administrators.
While graduate schools of law, business, education, engineering and medicine are ranked by the report annually, other disciplines, such as social sciences and humanities, are ranked periodically on an irregular cycle.
“U.S. News is probably the most well-known among academic rankings and the one that comes to mind when students are considering graduate programs,” said Karen Rhodes, executive director of marketing and communications for the College of Engineering. “And as far as we’re concerned, it’s an accurate reflection of the quality of our programs.”
UC Berkeley ranked 21st among national universities in the current U.S. News & World Report rankings. It stands at fifth place in reputation among universities worldwide, according to Times Higher Education rankings report published earlier this month.