Graduate, professional programs earn strong U.S. News & World Report rankings

Six School of Nursing programs and specialties rank among the top 15 in the country, while the schools of Medicine, Engineering and Public Health and the College of Arts and Sciences also post high marks.

best grad school 2018The Graduate and Professional programs within the University of Alabama at Birmingham schools of Nursing, Medicine, Engineering and Public Health and the College of Arts and Sciences rank among the nation’s best, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools Rankings.

The rankings, released today and available online at, show the School of Nursing 2019 Master’s and Doctoral Programs rank No. 8 in the country. The graduate specialties ranked among the top 15 in the country, many of which have continued to climb since the last ranking in 2016. This year’s graduate specialties (along with their rankings) include Nursing Administration, No. 2; Clinical Nurse Leader, No. 7; Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, No. 15; and Pediatric Primary Care, No. 12.

“We are honored our school and programs are recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in our fields, and our ascent in these rankings is a tribute to the exceptional faculty, staff, students and alumni of our school,” said Doreen Harper, Ph.D., dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing. “Our students are bright, driven and devoted to their fields of study. And our faculty, staff and alumni are vested in mentoring them to become compassionate nursing leaders who contribute to improving the health and quality of care for individuals, families and populations worldwide.”

The School of Medicine ranked No. 32 in Medical Research and No. 37 in Medical Primary Care and had a No. 15 ranking in the speciality of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“The School of Medicine has made tremendous progress during the past year in a number of areas, and we are grateful to have that recognized in these rankings,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice president for Medicine. “One of our missions is to train primary care physicians for the state of Alabama, and our training, research and clinical programs in all facets of primary care at UAB provide a world-class experience for our patients and our trainees. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology boasts innovative educational programs, groundbreaking research initiatives and a robust clinical practice, and its ranking in the top 15 by U.S. News & World Report is a reflection of its reputation as a national leader. Our research enterprise, which runs the spectrum from cutting-edge basic science discovery to data sciences and health outcomes research, continues to make a significant impact in science, propelling us toward the top 20 in NIH funding.”

Other UAB Graduate School schools and departments featured in the rankings include the School of Engineering’s Biomedical Engineering program (No. 55), the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology (No. 62), the Department of Political Science and Public Administration’s Public Affairs MPA program (No. 72) and the School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics (No. 89).

Programs for which U.S. News did not release new rankings, but in which UAB is recognized among the nation’s best in its most recent assessment of those programs, include the Master of Science in Health Administration program (No. 2) in UAB’s School of Health ProfessionsDoctor of Physical Therapy (No. 20), Occupational Therapy (No. 25), Physician Assistant Studies (No. 16) and the UAB School of Public Health’s Master of Science in Public Health (No. 19).

UAB also appears in several online graduate program rankings: Best Engineering Programs for Veterans (No. 14), Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs (No. 16), Best Online Graduate Computer and Information Technology Programs (No. 19), Best Online Graduate Business Programs non-MBA (No. 22), Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs (No. 28) and Best Online Graduate Education Programs (No. 29).

Each year, U.S. News ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine, including specialties in each area. The rankings in these six areas are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students. Indicator and opinion data come from statistical surveys of more than 2,012 graduate programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 20,500 academics and professionals in the ranked disciplines. The surveys were conducted during the fall of 2017 and in early 2018. In each field, rankings of programs in various specialty areas based on reputation data alone are also presented.

The magazine also ranks programs in the sciences, social sciences and humanities on a rotating basis, usually every three years. These rankings are based solely on the ratings of academic experts, as are the health specialties.

U.S. News made a number of key updates to the methodologies this year. For the most detailed explanations of these changes, read each program’s specific methodology.