Law School continues reign atop rankings



In the latest U.S. News & World Report graduate rankings, the Yale Law School continued to occupy the top spot, while the University’s other graduate schools saw slight drops in the magazine’s standings.

Since the inception of U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings, the Yale Law School has perennially been ranked first, outshining rivals Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. Meanwhile, the Yale School of Management continued a slight fall in the rankings and tied with the University of California at Los Angeles for 14th place. In addition, the Yale Faculty of Engineering dropped from 39th to 41st, tying Lehigh University. The School of Medicine also saw a minor drop, falling from 9th place last year to 10th this year. But Yale administrators once again stated their skepticism about the magazine’s methodology.

In the law school rankings, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and New York University rounded out the top five. But among business schools, Yale’s SOM could not penetrate the top tier — Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School.

David Stewart SOM ’05 said the SOM is a better school than ever before and is headed in a direction the rankings may not value.

“I believe that SOM’s true strength is not accurately reflected in the rankings,” Stewart said. “In large part, SOM’s strength in the nonprofit sector is actually a disadvantage in the U.S. News ranking formula. One of the most important criteria for the formula is the mean post-MBA starting salary, and those who come from or go into non-profit generally earn less money and thus lower the overall school average.”

Although Yale’s School of Medicine received a relatively high ranking behind top schools such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins University and Washington University in St. Louis, Yale medical school admissions director Richard Silverman said there were more important elements to a school than those the rankings measured.

“The most thoughtful [prospective students] seem to evaluate medical schools on the basis of a number of factors that don’t figure at all in the U.S. News rankings,” Silverman said in an e-mail. “Among them are curriculum quality, teaching quality, faculty mentoring, residency match results, student body composition, opportunities associated with the medical school’s parent university, student satisfaction with the school, and the school’s general culture or character — an extremely important factor that is impossible to quantify.”

Yale’s Faculty of Engineering continued to occupy a relatively low ranking this year, behind top engineering schools at MIT, Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley.

But Faculty of Engineering Dean Paul Fleury said the school offered more than the rankings showed and considered.

“I continue to have trouble with these types of rankings,” Fleury said in an e-mail. “The [part of the rankings] that is purportedly objective focuses strongly on numbers which favor larger programs and are couched in terms of total dollars, numbers of graduates, size of faculty, etc. Engineering at Yale is one of the country’s smallest programs, and one of the best. But the latter fact gets lost in such rankings.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings are determined according to “expert opinion about the excellence of the school’s program and statistical indicators that measure the quality of the school’s faculty, research and students.”

Despite the rankings’ popularity amongst prospective students, they remain peripheral in the eyes of administrators, Fleury said.

“I am not at all disappointed in our performance, the quality of our students, faculty or research. I am disappointed in the attention that rankings continue to get,” Fleury said. “Nevertheless we have to live with them and continue to hope [the rankings] catch up with reality sooner rather than later.”

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