During times of economic instability, college-educated workers sometimes turn to graduate school with the hope that an additional degree will increase their marketable skills. Demand for a graduate education tends to be highest when the job market is weakest.
Thus, at this time of financial adversity caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people applying to graduate school is rising rapidly. Applications to business school and law school have surged. Furthermore, because COVID-19 has illustrated the importance of health care workers, health-related graduate programs such as medical schools, nursing schools and public health programs have also witnessed a spike in applicants.
Graduate school hopefuls seeking guidance on the viability of their candidacy at a particular school can refer to the U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings and data released today. This information can help them decide where to apply.
The 2022 edition of the rankings evaluates a variety of graduate programs, including those in the following six fields, each of which attracts a significant number of students: business, law, medicine, nursing, engineering and education.
The indicators of excellence within one field of study are not necessarily identical to the success metrics within another field; thus, there are significant differences in the ranking methodologies. However, one commonality among the rankings of the six major academic disciplines is that they assess both the aptitude of a school’s incoming students and the career outcomes of a school’s graduates.
This year, for the first time, U.S. News has published a ranking of the most diverse medical schools. The Howard University College of Medicine in the District of Columbia took first place in the new ranking, which takes into account the proportion of enrolled students who are Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
For the 2022 edition, U.S. News has also introduced several medical school rankings based upon student outcomes. One ranking focuses on med schools whose graduates were most likely to practice primary care; another concentrates on schools where grads most often had careers in medically underserved regions; and the other identifies schools with the largest proportion of grads practicing in rural areas.
In addition to the rankings of the six major disciplines as well as specialties within them, U.S. News also publishes rankings of various graduate programs based purely on the opinions of academic experts, such as public health schools and programs.
Below is a summary of the top-ranked schools in each of the six major graduate program areas:
— Best Business Schools
— Best Law Schools
— Best Medical Schools
— Best Nursing Schools
— Best Engineering Schools
— Best Education Schools
Best Business Schools
Unlike last year, when there was a two-way tie for first place in the full-time MBA program rankings, there is a clear front-runner in the 2022 edition: Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in California. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School comes in at No. 2, followed by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business at No. 3.
While the top 10 mostly consists of the same schools as last year, with some slight shuffling, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business joined their ranks this year. The New Hampshire school rose from a tie at No. 12 last year to a tie at No. 10 with New York University’s Stern School of Business.
[See: Top 40 Business Schools.]
Farther down the full-time MBA rankings, there were some drastic changes. For example, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University–West Lafayette in Indiana soared more than 35 spots, rising from a tie at No. 80 to a tie at No. 44.
Meanwhile, the very top of the part-time MBA rankings looks similar to last year, since the top six schools held onto their same ranks. The part-time program at Chicago’s Booth School of Business remains No. 1.
Best Law Schools
Per usual, the Connecticut-based Yale Law School reigned supreme in the rankings of full-time law programs, and it was once again followed by Stanford Law School at No. 2 and Harvard Law School in Massachusetts at No. 3.
[See: Top 40 Law Schools.]
Looking beyond the top 10, multiple law schools moved up in the rankings. The University of Wisconsin–Madison Law School, for instance, jumped nine spots, rising from a tie at No. 38 to a tie at No. 29.
Meanwhile, in the part-time law school rankings, the Georgetown University Law Center in the District of Columbia is once again at the top. D.C.-based George Washington University Law School went up a notch, rising from No. 3 to No. 2 and displacing the Fordham University School of Law in New York City, which is now in third place.
Best Medical Schools
Among primary care focused medical programs, the Seattle-based University of Washington School of Medicine moved up from a tie at No. 2 to take the top spot this year, followed by the University of California–San Francisco School of Medicine at No. 2. Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill School of Medicine — which was the leading primary care program last year — took third place.
Several schools moved up to crack the top 10 of the primary care rankings this year. For example, the University of Kansas Medical Center surged from a tie at No. 38 last year to No. 9 in the new edition.
Best Nursing Schools
As it did last year, the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing claimed the No. 1 spot in the nursing master’s program rankings. The Atlanta-based Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing rose three spots from No. 5 to No. 2, displacing the Duke University School of Nursing, which is now tied for No. 3 with the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Within the Doctor of Nursing Practice program rankings, a new leader emerged: the Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, which soared from a tie at No. 8 last year to No. 1. Johns Hopkins rose from No. 3 to No. 2 in the DNP rankings, while the University of Washington School of Nursing dropped two spots, falling from a tie at No. 1 to No. 3.
Best Engineering Schools
The top three schools in the graduate engineering school rankings were the same as last year, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Engineering sitting at No. 1, the Stanford School of Engineering at No. 2 and the University of California–Berkeley College of Engineering at No. 3.
Best Education Schools
There is a two-way tie for first place in the graduate education schools rankings this year between the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which was No. 1 last year, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Education, which was previously No. 2. The University of California–Los Angeles Graduate School of Education & Information Studies comes in at No. 3, a step above its tie for No. 4 in the prior edition of the rankings.
Searching for a grad school? Access our complete rankings of Best Graduate Schools.