Several organizations and publications rank graduate schools, though students can benefit greatly by looking to trusted sources. Prospective grad students should consider the ranking criteria as well as the ranking categories when determining which school ranks highest in the area they need it most, whether academics, cost, future potential or other factors.
Graduate School Ranking Publications
There are several sources to turn to for graduate school rankings. However, U.S. News & World Report is one of the more popular and trusted publications for college and university rankings. The publication includes a variety of grad program rankings, as well as graduate school tips on taking the GRE, applying to programs and funding one's education. Other resources include Bloomberg Business and The Princeton Review.
U.S. News & World Report Rankings
Once a year, U.S. News & World Report releases school rankings in several categories. These categories include national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional colleges, business programs and engineering programs. Recently, U.S. News & World Report has expanded upon its rankings with lists like A+ schools for B students, best undergrad teaching and up-and-coming colleges. The publication also profiles the best graduate schools in America by subject. These subjects include the following:
- Library and information studies
- Social sciences and humanities
- Public affairs
- Fine arts
U.S. News & World Report gathers data for up to 15 indicators of academic success when researching graduate schools. These indicators include the following:
- Academic reputation
- Student selectivity
- Graduation and retention rates
- Financial resources
- Faculty resources
While rankings are available for free online, the organization charges for the hard copy version of U.S. News & World Report, which gives detailed, complete listings of all best colleges in a given category. Students may also obtain this information online with a subscription.
Bloomberg Business ranks the nation's top business schools each year according to surveys by alumni, current students and employers in addition to job placement rates and starting salaries. For full-time MBA's, Harvard ranked #1 while Stanford, Duke (Fuqua), Chicago (Booth) and Dartmouth (Tuck) rounded out the top five, respectively, in 2016.
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review ranks schools on their lists of 'The Best 381 Colleges' after accumulating data from student assessments and surveys. The top graduate school for entrepreneurship in 2017 was Harvard. Babson College came in second, followed by Rice University in third, Northwestern University in fourth place, and the University of Chicago coming in at number five. This resource also permits searches, by region, for the best law programs in the country, in addition to the best business schools, the best medical schools, and other areas of interest for potential students.
Aspiring graduate students who want to learn about the quality of various universities in particular field of studies can look to publications such as U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review and Bloomberg Business.