Yale’s grad school ratings stay strong

U.S. News and World Report has released its rankings of graduate and professional schools, and while the Yale Law School continues its reign as the country’s top law school and other schools made good showings, students and administrators greeted the system of rankings with the usual skepticism.

In its annual rankings, the magazine once again gave the Yale Law School its top ranking, while the School of Management dropped slightly to 13th among business schools. The graduate Faculty of Engineering was ranked 39th. Among research medical schools, the Yale School of Medicine was ranked ninth.

The rankings will be published in the April 15 issue.

After moving up four spots to 12th last year, the SOM ranking fell to 13th, tying with New York University’s Stern School of Business. SOM Deputy Dean Stan Garstka said the rankings were not the whole picture.

“We’re on a good trajectory,” Garstka said. “We’re getting better. In the long run, we’re going to be rock-solid and we’ll end up where we need to be — It’s always better to be ranked higher than lower, but rankings shouldn’t affect the institution’s course of action.”

Garstka said the school’s overall vision is more important than specific rankings.

“We tend to focus more on what we are doing to ensure long-run success,” Garstka said. “We’re still focusing on the basics — hiring new faculty, increasing the applicant pool — ultimately institutions are successful because of people, so that’s what we’re focusing on.”

Hispanic Business Magazine ranked the SOM second, behind only the University of Texas at Austin’s McComb School of Business, for the best business school for Hispanic students. Garstka said the ranking recognized the SOM’s focus on diversity.

“It’s a reflection that we value diversity, and we’ve actually done quite well in recruiting Hispanic students,” Garstka said. “But it specifically measures one aspect of the institution, and what makes a good institution is the composite of all the areas. Right now, some areas are better than others. But ultimately, we’re trying to build a school that’s excellent in all respects.”

Brandon Stander SOM ’02 said in an e-mail that he thought the best school depends on the individual.

“I won’t lose sleep over the opinion of U.S. News,” Stander said. “Certainly, the school will not become complacent. While the rankings do influence the consideration set of applicants, those who visit SOM quickly recognize its advantages over other programs.”

Stacey Kamya LAW ’03 said in an e-mail that while she is happy and not a bit surprised that the Yale Law School was ranked number one, she questioned the efficacy of rankings.

“I think Yale [Law School] has a lot of unique resources to offer — smaller classes, high proportion of students involved in the community, great academics, and a pretty non-competitive and independent student body,” Kamya said. “I am pretty skeptical of rankings in general. I think that general reputation plays such a large role in informing and reinforcing rank that the process does not necessarily give a prospective student a good idea of the actual environment or feel of the school.”

Yale’s Faculty of Engineering tied for 39th with University of California-Davis. The top engineering school was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley tied for second, followed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois.

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Paul Fleury said that the top five schools all have highly focused engineering programs.

“Our differentiator is our engineering education in the context of a strong liberal arts education,” Fleury said. “I think that the rankings are a combination of a beauty contest and numbers that have a lot to do with the size of the program.”

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