April 13, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 15

Positive Trends for Grad Programs in US News Survey

A recent US News & World Report ranking of the nation's top graduate programs includes the Boston College Carroll School of Management, Lynch School of Education and Law School.

In the surveys, which were published in the April 10 US News issue, CSOM placed 41st among the American MBA programs, a jump of 13 places from last year that tied the biggest improvement for any top 50 school. The school's part-time MBA program also rose two places to 15th.

The Lynch School, meanwhile, continued its general upward progress in the annual rankings, placing 19th; LSOE had been ranked 23rd in 2004 and 31st in 2000. LSOE's work in educational policy was recognized for the first time with a ranking of 18.

While the Law School maintained its position at 27th, the school's performance in the areas of clinical training and intellectual property laws showed improvement.

In addition, the BC doctoral program in chemistry was ranked 49th, the first time it has been included in the top 50, and the biology doctoral program saw a rise in its peer assessment rating.

Although encouraged by the schools' overall showing in the US News rankings, University administrators said attention should also be paid to BC's showing in some of the specific categories used in the survey. Criteria - which varied according to the type of graduate program - included acceptance rate, student placement, funded research, student-faculty ratio and undergraduate GPA. Management, education and law professionals also were asked to grade individual graduate programs.

CSOM's ranking this year, for example, was bolstered by the strong post-degree showing of its graduates: The average starting salaries of the most recent graduating class climbed to $81,859 with 92.9 percent employed three months after graduation. Recruiters' assessments of BC MBA grads likewise increased.

Carroll School Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Robert Taggart said an improvement in the New England economy contributed to the positive trend in CSOM student placement. But he also credited "the efforts of our Career Strategies office, under the direction of Marilyn Eckelman, to bring in new recruiting partners, strengthen ties with existing partners and encourage students to start their search early and develop realistic targets.

"Our students also were more proactive in seeking out career opportunities."

CSOM Dean Andy Boynton praised Taggart's leadership and the "hard work" of graduate program administrators and faculty. "If you look at where we made the improvement, it was about getting better students, it was about placing students, and it was about the faculty continuing to do a great job. We didn't change what we were doing in the classroom so I really attribute it to Bob and his leadership and the team in terms of their work.

"It's like playing golf: We focus on our own game, getting better all the time, not worrying about anybody else."

Greater admission selectivity aided the Lynch School's rise, administrators said, as well as increased sponsored-research funding, with a mean level of nearly $200,000 in funding per faculty member.

"These are important improvements and are reflected in this latest ranking," said LSOE Dean Rev. Joseph M. O'Keefe, SJ. "Our performance in the US News survey is recognition of the ongoing excellence of the work we do here."

The Law School's lower student-faculty ratio and higher rate of assessment by select judges and lawyers were among the positive indicators in its ranking. Administrators also noted that BC Law graduates improved their passage rate in the Massachusetts bar exam to 92.6 percent, well above the 84 percent mark among all who sat for the exam in the same period.

US News has an on-line version of the graduate school rankings available at its Web site.

-Office of Public Affairs staff

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