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School Updates

Rice graduate programs land among nation’s best in US News rankings

by Jeff Falk

Numerous Rice University graduate programs ranked in the nation’s top 25 in their respective categories in the latest edition of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” rankings.

The George R. Brown School of Engineering, which ranks No. 30 nationally, has seven departments in the top 25: bioengineering/biomedical (tied for No. 10), environmental engineering (No. 12, up from No. 16 last year), chemical engineering (No. 22, up from No. 24), electrical engineering (No. 23, up from No. 25), civil engineering (No. 19, up from No. 26), materials engineering (No. 24, up from No. 27) and mechanical engineering (No. 25, up from No. 29).

The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, which ranks No. 24 nationally — up from No. 27 a year ago — has two programs in the top 25: entrepreneurship (tied for No. 10) and the professional MBA program that U.S. News ranks in its part-time MBA category (No. 15).

The high marks are “a reflection of the quality of faculty, staff and students and the impact of the research and scholarship produced from these programs,” said Rice President Reginald DesRoches. “Increasing the number of top-ranked graduate programs is part of my vision for the university. I’m proud to see we are making progress in this important area.”

The U.S. News and World Report rankings are among the most closely monitored annual surveys of the nation's institutions of higher education. Each year, the publication ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing, including specialties in each area.

"I am proud to see so many of Rice University's graduate programs earning top rankings from U.S. News,” said Howard Hughes Provost Amy Dittmar. “It is an affirmation of the hard work of our faculty, deans, department chairs and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Seiichi Matsuda and his team.”

Said Matsuda: "I appreciate this recognition of the quality of our graduate programs and the achievements of our students, who are endlessly curious, bright and ambitious. We are committed to building programs in which students can achieve their hopes and their dreams, and I look forward to seeing Rice's graduate rankings continue to improve."

Rice's Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences is tied for No. 20 overall in the Earth Sciences category, up from No. 24 last year. Its geochemistry program tied for No. 11, up from No. 14 last year.

Rice's Department of Physics and Astronomy is No. 21 overall in the Physics category, up from No. 28 last year. It has three programs in the top 25: physics of living systems (tied for No. 5) atomic/molecular/optical (No. 8) and condensed matter (tied for No. 19).

Rice's Department of Chemistry is tied for No. 27 overall, up from No. 35 a year ago. It has two programs in the top 25: theoretical chemistry (tied for No. 12) and physical chemistry (No. 21).

Rice's Department of Mathematics is tied for No. 30 overall. The applied math program tied for No. 18.

The Department of Computer Science, which ranked No. 31 overall, scored top 25 rankings in two specialties: tied for No. 18 in programming language and tied for No. 23 in systems.

U.S. News says its Best Graduate School rankings are based on expert opinions and statistical indicators measuring the quality of faculty, research and students. The publication says it compiled data from surveys of programs and reputation surveys sent to academics and professionals in fall 2023 and early 2024.

For more information on Rice's rankings, click here.

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