U of A Graduate Programs Make Significant Gains in U.S. News Rankings

Education, business and law programs all show improvement

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three graduate programs at the University of Arkansas showed impressive gains in the rankings in U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 edition of Best Graduate Schools.

The College of Education and Health Professions’ graduate education programs moved up nearly 50 places in the overall rankings; the Sam M. Walton College of Business M.B.A. program moved up 11 places in the rankings, but even more notable, it continued to lead the nation in the number of full-time Master of Business Administration graduates employed at graduation; the School of Law, meanwhile improved its overall ranking by seven places over last year, and has climbed 47 spots since the 2008 rankings.

“This progress in the recognition of University of Arkansas graduate programs is very impressive, and truly a mark of the hard work that is being done on our campus,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “Strong graduate school programs are one of the hallmarks of any great public research university, and these rankings are proof that we are steadily moving toward our goal, to be recognized as a Top 50 public research university.”

Achieving the Top 50 goal would mean that the University of Arkansas ranks among the top 8 percent of all public research universities in America.

"This is a testament to the entire university's commitment to graduate education," said Todd Shields, dean of the Graduate School and International Education. "Programs in three distinct areas are climbing at significant rates, which happens only through the hard work of many people. Deans Smith, Leeds and Jones should be very proud of the accomplishments shown here."

College of Education and Health Professions

The U of A’s graduate education program is ranked 86th nationally, up from 132nd place last year. The programs placed 70th among public universities.

Tom Smith, dean of the college, said the rankings reflect steady progress in several areas.

“Rankings are just one of many factors prospective students must consider when choosing a college,” Smith said. “I think this ranking reflects a continued effort by our faculty and staff to improve the education our students receive. This rise in the rankings would not be possible without their hard work and dedication, and in the end it’s the students – and the students they go on to teach – who benefit.”

The Best Graduate Schools ranking is based on ratings by deans from other education schools and graduate programs, assessments by school administrators who hire teachers, student quality, faculty resources and research activity.

Smith said the college’s improvement has occurred despite an off-year for research dollars, but he said a recently announced $32-million, five-year research grant from the U.S. Department of Education will count in next year's rankings and should help the college continue its steady climb.

The grant, believed to be the largest in the U of A’s history, was awarded to the U of A and the Arkansas Department of Education to implement the PROMISE program.

Sam M. Walton College of Business

Walton College’s full-time M.B.A. program is ranked 55th among public and private graduate business schools, up from 66th last year, and is 30th among public business schools, up seven places since last year. The U.S. News ranking is based on peer assessments among business school deans as well as business recruiters, student quality and employment rates.

Once again the Sam M. Walton College of Business led the nation for the number of full-time Master of Business Administration graduates employed at graduation. An impressive 88 percent of Walton M.B.A. students have jobs upon graduation, edging out those from Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.

“At a time when general public sentiment is that college graduates are struggling to get jobs, it is especially gratifying to know that Walton graduates are not only securing careers, they are getting a higher starting pay, on average, than past years,” said Eli Jones, dean of the Walton College. “This reflects the powerful connectivity we have to corporations and is a testament to the work of our outstanding faculty, staff and students.”

School of Law

The University of Arkansas School of Law is ranked in the top tier of law schools for the sixth consecutive year. It is now tied for 61st place overall and 33rd among public law schools. It has moved up 47 places in the overall ranking since 2008, and 12 places in the public ranking since 2011.

“Our outstanding career placement and bar passage rates speak to the quality education our students receive,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “Our national standing and low tuition reinforce our reputation as one of the best values in legal education.”

The U.S. News ranks law schools based on a peer assessment score, an assessment by lawyers and judges, the student/faculty ratio, bar exam passage rates, post-graduation employment rates, and other measures.

Contacts:

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu

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