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Nevada grad schools under the microscope
by Heidi Kyser | posted March 24, 2014
UNLV’s communications office recently trumpeted the seven university programs – business administration, civil engineering, earth sciences, fine arts, law, nursing and sociology – that broke the top 100 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Grad Schools rankings. Kudos, UNLV!
But wait… there’s more. The full ranking is broken up into several categories and a multitude of sub-categories, some of which go well beyond a top 100. This beast of an analysis, encompassing more than 1,300 programs in all, deserves a closer look, especially considering UNLV’s current push for Tier 1 status, which relies heavily on strong graduate schools with robust research programs.
For instance, UNLV touted its part-time MBA program as being ranked 94th (that’s out of 208 total, whose rankings are published). It’s worth noting that Lee Business School doesn’t offer a full-time program, so the university isn’t included among the 104 of those ranked by U.S. News.
It’s also useful to put the rankings in some context. It would be too labor-intensive to do a full comparison between UNLV and all its out-of-state comparables, such as Arizona State University and Colorado State University. But to start the conversation, here’s a snapshot of how UNLV stacks up against UNR in some main categories analyzed by U.S. News.
o Part-time: UNLV, 94; UNR not ranked (out of 208)
· Education: UNLV, 147; UNR, 135 (out of 181)
· Engineering: UNLV not ranked; UNR, 129 (out of 140)
· Fine arts: UNLV, 93; UNR, 187 (out of 206)
o Nursing: UNLV, 99; UNR, 193 (out of 442)
o Social Work: UNLV, 130; UNR, 148 (out of 200)
o Physical Therapy: UNLV, 121; UNR not ranked (out of 172)
· Law: UNLV, 83; UNR not ranked (out of 146)
· Medicine: University of Nevada School of Medicine (listed as being in Reno) not ranked (out of 82)
· Public Affairs: UNLV, 121; UNR not ranked (out of 166)
o Biological: UNLV, 188; UNR, 175 (out of 224)
o Chemistry: UNLV not ranked; UNR, 131 (out of 148)
o Earth Sciences: UNLV, 88; UNR, 69, (out of 117)
o Physics: UNLV not ranked; UNR, 131 (out of 142)
· Social Sciences
o English – UNLV, 113; UNR, 125 (out of 134)
o Psychology – UNLV, 141; UNR, 132 (out of 214)
o Sociology – UNLV, 94; UNR not ranked (out of 94)
This isn’t a comprehensive list. It doesn’t, for example, include sub-specialties, such as civil engineering, in which UNLV was ranked 99 out of 140, because there are simply too many of them. And some programs (e.g., computer science, economics, math, pharmacy, political science) are omitted because neither school was ranked.
On that note, a cursory review of the report indicates Nevada has far to go in making its graduate STEM education competitive on a national level. If our economic diversification requires a skilled science and technology workforce, as many business developers and economists would have us believe, then that would be a good place to start making improvements.
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