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

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

Two graduate programs rated best in U.S.

March 30, 2007

Two bioscience graduate programs--paleontology and ecology/evolutionary biology--were ranked the best in the United States, and the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine climbed from a two-way tie for 17th to a three-way tie for 15th in the latest U.S.News & World Report ranking of the nation's best graduate schools.

Graduate programs in the biological sciences overall also gained one notch, moving from a tie for 19th to a tie for 18th in the magazine's "Best Graduate Schools" issue, on newsstands April 2, 2007.

"Our overall improvement was driven by strong entering-student qualifications and a series of spectacular new faculty recruits, as well as continued strong performance in research support, especially per-capita research funding," said James L. Madara, MD, Dean of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Chicago Medical Center.

As a comparatively small institution, the University of Chicago's medical school is at a disadvantage on total research funding from the National Institutes of Health, a key component of the survey. Chicago regained some of that, however, by ranking fifth in the country on research funding per faculty member, with average annual grant support per researcher from the NIH of more than $255,000.

At a time when federal support for biomedical research has declined, funding for the biomedical research at the University of Chicago went up, according to data in the magazine, by more than nine percent, the largest overall gain for any medical school in the top 25. Funding at 40 percent of the top 25 schools actually decreased from fiscal 2006 to 2007, the magazine reports.

No other Illinois program scored in the top 20 in either medical education or the biological sciences. Northwestern's medical school tied for 21st with Case Western University, and its graduate programs in the biosciences tied with three other schools, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for 29th. Northwestern's specialty program in women's health was tied for number 8.

Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine has made steady annual gains in the U.S.News survey, rising from 22nd in 2004, to 19th in 2005, to 17th in 2006, and now 15th.