Thursday, April 1, 2004


ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Georgia School of Law retained its position among the top 11 public law schools in the nation, fourth among public law schools in the Southeast, and 31st overall, according to U.S.News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best graduate schools in the nation.

“Although one must be careful about placing too much emphasis on U.S. News rankings, I’m pleased our law school continues to perform well,” Rebecca H. White, interim dean of the law school, said. “We have an outstanding law school, and our ranking as the 11th highest public law school in the country is no doubt a source of pride for our alumni and law school community. Our strong academic reputation, student credentials and excellent placement and bar passage rates are solid indicators of the strength of our school.”

Georgia Law shares the 31st position in the U.S. News rankings with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Three other UGA colleges joined Georgia Law among the best in the nation. The School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) tied for third, the College of Education tied for 24th and the Terry College of Business was ranked 42nd.

“A strong graduate studies program is one of the hallmarks of a great university,” said President Michael F. Adams. “I am pleased to see that our efforts are paying off as evidenced by this recognition of the quality of UGA’s graduate programs in a number of areas.”

“These rankings articulate to the world the fact that we have been engaged in and committed to quality graduate education for a long time,” said Maureen Grasso, dean of the Graduate School. “The UGA Graduate School has a global presence in the preparation of future leaders and the promotion of innovative research, and we are delighted with this acknowledgment.”

The graduate program in public affairs offered by SPIA is joined in the top five by programs at Syracuse, Harvard, Indiana (Bloomington), Princeton, and California-Berkeley universities.

SPIA, founded in 2001 in a consolidation of UGA’s well-regarded programs in public affairs, also saw two of its specialty programs ranked highly: public management and administration was ranked second nationally and public finance and budgeting was ranked third.

“It is gratifying to have peer assessment confirm the quality of the School of Public and International Affairs,” said Thomas P. Lauth, dean of SPIA. “The faculty and students of the departments are to be congratulated on this recognition.” Four specialty programs in the College of Education ranked in the top ten nationally: elementary education tied for third place in the nation, vocational and technical education ranked fourth, counseling and personnel services ranked fifth and curriculum and instruction ranked sixth.

“This is a wonderful affirmation of the hard work of our faculty,” said Louis Castenell, dean of the education college. “I’m proud of this college and our efforts to build on what are already excellent programs. We have great faculty and students who are engaged in innovative and significant work. They earn this recognition everyday.”

The Terry College of Business maintained its top 20 standing among public business schools.

“We’re pleased to once again be recognized as one of the nation’s best public business schools,” said Dean P. George Benson. “As we roll out our new MBA program next fall, with its strong emphasis on personal leadership development, we will continue to attract top students and place them well in the business community.”

Terry’s accounting and management information systems (MIS) programs were also singled out as being among the nation’s top 20 specialty programs in the U.S. News rankings. Terry’s J.M. Tull School of Accounting vaulted into the top 20 at number 18, 11 places higher than its rank last year, while the MIS department retained its number 17 ranking.

The rankings will be available online at www.usnews.com beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 2. The full rankings will be available in book form Monday, April 4, with excerpts in the April 12 issue of the magazine. U.S. News published its first reputation-only graduate school ranking in 1987, with the first issue of “America’s Best Graduate Schools” coming in 1990.

Each year U.S. News ranks graduate programs in the areas of business, education, engineering, law and medicine. The rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinion about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students. For the rankings in all five areas, indicator and opinion data come from surveys of more than 1,000 programs and nearly 9,100 academics and other professionals conducted in fall 2003.

This year U.S. News produced new rankings of graduate programs in selected health fields and public affairs, surveying nearly 2,700 faculty and administrators. These rankings are based solely on the ratings of academic experts.

A number of other rankings are not updated each year, but still are listed in the report. UGA programs holding significant rankings in this year’s publication in this regard include the master of fine arts program in printmaking at number 3 nationally, a ranking first announced in 2003; the College of Veterinary Medicine at number 9, as announced in 2003; and the Ph.D. program in biological sciences at number 54, a ranking announced in 2002.

The opinion data are gathered from deans, program directors and senior faculty to judge the overall academic quality of programs in their field on a scale of one (“marginal”) to five (“outstanding”). In business, education, engineering, law and medicine, U.S. News also surveyed professionals in the field who are part of the hiring process.

The statistical indicators used in the rankings of business, education, engineering, law and medical schools fall into two broad categories: inputs, or measures of the qualities that students and faculty bring to the educational experience; and outputs, measures of graduates’ achievements that can be credited to their educational experience.