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IOWA CITY - A range of graduate programs across Iowa's public universities again have earned spots on the esteemed U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate School rankings - with some ticking up their respective lists and others falling amid unparalleled circumstances facing higher education.
U.S. News' 2022 Best Graduate Schools edition - made public Tuesday - evaluated a long list of graduate programs and specialties offered at hundreds of campuses nationally, including those in the six most popular fields of study: business, law, medicine, nursing, engineering, and education.
At the University of Iowa, its law ranking fell two spots to No. 29; its masters of nursing program ranked No. 23, also down two; education ranked No. 48, one place below last year; engineering ranked No. 84, down 10 spots; its medical research program ranked No. 39, down five spots; and its primary care medicine ranking slipping two spots to No. 22.
Because UI in 2017 announced it was retiring its full-time professional masters of business administration program to focus on more part-time offerings, it no longer has a full-time MBA ranking. UI's part-time business program ranked No. 35, up one from last year.
Iowa State University's full-time business program climbed three spots to No. 50, although its part-time program tumbled 33 spots from No. 112 to No. 145. Its overall engineering ranking tied for No. 47, down four from last year - with its previously top-ranked engineering-agriculture program slipping to No. 2.
But ISU's education program improved 21 spots to No. 91. And University of Northern Iowa ranked No. 136 in education after failing to make the list last year. Among the top categories, UNI also ranked No. 158 for its part-time business program - the same as last year.
All three, collectively, ranked in dozens of programs and specialties - including smaller ones - with UI boasting 63 ranked graduate or professional colleges and programs of its 151 total, including 10 in the Top 10.
This year's rankings, which are widely tapped by students seeking a best fit and oft-touted by administrators eyeing recruits, come amid the unparalleled conditions and challenges of COVID - including its impact not just on campus life and learning but on the economy and workforce.
'The number of people applying to graduate school is rising rapidly,” according to U.S. News & World Report. 'Applications to business school and law school have surged.”
Although Iowa's public universities haven't released preliminary application numbers, U.S. News reports the pandemic's illustration of the need for quality health care is behind a spike in applications for health-related graduate programs - like medical, nursing, and public health schools.
Given the broad range of programs evaluated, U.S. News varies its success metrics and ranking methodology by field - assessing aptitude of incoming students; graduate career outcomes; expert opinions; and other statistical indicators measuring the quality of program faculty, research, and students.
'The data for the rankings in all six disciplines came from statistical surveys of more than 2,125 programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 23,000 academics and professionals, conducted in fall 2020 and early 2021,” according to U.S. News.
The top-ranked UI programs are:
College of Medicine physician assistant program at No. 1;
Audiology at No. 2;
Social psychology at No. 3;
Nurse practitioner in adult/gerontology primary care at No. 4;
Physical therapy at No. 4;
Speech-language pathology at No. 6;
Nurse practitioner in adult-gerontology acute care at No. 6;
Printmaking at No. 7;
Health care management in the College of Public Health at No. 8;
And rehabilitation counseling in the College of Education at No. 9.
Iowa State's top-ranked programs include several in the engineering and veterinary disciplines - including its engineering-ag program at No. 2 and veterinary medicine at No. 14.
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