Pritzker Moves Up to No. 8 in Survey of Top Medical Schools

Pritzker Moves Up to No. 8 in Survey of Top Medical Schools

University of Chicago's graduate school ranked among top in U.S.

March 12, 2013

The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine jumped two spots to No. 8 in the 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Graduate Schools" ranking guide.

Pritzker has been on a steady climb over the past decade, rising from 22nd in 2004 to 10th last year, as it continues to focus on faculty research and high academic standards of its entering students, among other measures.

In the latest rankings of the nation's graduate programs, available online beginning Tuesday, Pritzker tied with Columbia University, Duke University and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor for 8th with an overall score of 79, up from 76 last year. No other Illinois medical school was in the top 15.

"Our faculty, students, and staff work really hard every day to create a wonderful medical school. From time to time that hard work is recognized by external organizations, and we are understandably pleased when positive attention comes our way," said Holly Humphrey, MD, dean for medical education at Pritzker.

Humphrey attributed the rising trajectory to the school's focus on enhancing student recruitments, in part through investing in scholarship programs and a focus on diversity. Pritzker also encourages faculty scholarship and has increasingly played a bigger role in national education events, she added.

"Students and faculty like to work in a diverse environment where innovation and new ideas are encouraged and supported," Humphrey said. "Students and faculty know that if they come to the Pritzker School of Medicine, they will have an opportunity to work on ground-breaking initiatives and/or they will have the support to develop new projects of their own."

Also notable was Pritzker's ranking in research funding: It placed third, behind only Stanford University and the University of California-San Diego, with average annual grant support per faculty member from the National Institutes of Health of $286,800, underscoring the breadth of research endeavors across the medical school's faculty. NIH grants for Pritzker totaled $255.5 million in 2012, according to the magazine.

"We're very proud of the world-class research our faculty does in seeking innovations to many of the most difficult challenges in medicine today, and that drive for discovery attracts among the highest caliber of students in the nation," said Kenneth Polonsky, MD, dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago. "It's very gratifying, but also inspiring, to be recognized as one of the top medical schools in the U.S."

Pritzker continues its prowess in attracting top students. Its selectivity rank was fourth in the latest survey, up from No. 41 in 2004. While average Medical College Admission Test scores and undergraduate grade point averages have risen over the years, Humphrey noted these measures are only part of the school's admissions evaluation process. Pritzker also looks for levels of community service and prior scholarship among its applicants.

For the current academic year, Pritzker received 5,246 applications and made 225 offers. The school maintains one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios in the nation.

"Our school's mission statement is that we are here to develop students into leaders and innovators in science and medicine for the betterment of humanity," Humphrey said. "Developing leaders takes a lot of one-on-one mentoring and support. We pride ourselves on our low student-faculty ratio and believe that the mentorship we provide our students is key to their future success."

U.S. News surveyed 149 medical schools in the United States and ranked them based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students. Medical school rankings, for example, are based on a weighted average of research activity, student selectivity, admission statistics (MCAT, grade point average and acceptance rate) and faculty-to-student ratio.

Meanwhile, the University of Chicago's Law School tied for fourth in the nation in the 2014 survey, up from fifth place last year. The Booth School of Business was ranked sixth in the 2014 survey, down from a tie for fourth a year earlier.