Medical School, graduate bioscience programs move up in popular national survey

March 31, 2006

The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine climbed from 19th up to 17th (tied with Vanderbilt) in the latest U.S.News & World Report's ranking of research medical schools. Graduate programs in the biological sciences also gained one notch, moving from 20th to 19th.

In the 2006 "Best Graduate Schools" issue, on newsstands April 3, the magazine ranked two specialty programs from the Biological Science Division in the top five. Paleontology was ranked number 1, the top program in the United States, and ecology and evolution was rated fourth.

"Our overall improvement was driven by improved student selectivity, improved peer assessment and continued strong performance in per-capita research funding," said Laurence Hill, assistant dean for planning for the Biological Sciences Division.

As a comparatively small institution, the University of Chicago is at a disadvantage on total research funding from the National Institutes of Health, a key component of the survey, said Hill. Chicago regains some of that, however, by ranking sixth in the country on research funding per faculty member, with average grant support from the NIH for each BSD faculty exceeding $250,000.

No other Illinois biomedical program scored as well. Northwestern's medical school tied with the University of North Carolina at 20th and its graduate programs in the biosciences tied with three other schools for 28th. The University of Illinois was also in a four-way tie at 24th for bioscience graduate education.

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