Bostonia is published in print three times a year and updated weekly on the web.
With the release of 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best graduate schools last March, Boston University has seen significant improvements in some fields and continues to do well in others.
Among BU’s professional schools, the School of Education has moved up nine notches, to 36th in the country. SED Dean Hardin Coleman recalls that nine years ago, his school was a less exalted 62nd on the U.S. News scale. “The major driver of our improvement,” says Coleman, “has been the recruitment of research-active faculty and the support we give them to be productive. We are winning grants from national groups that include the National Institutes of Health, the federal Institute of Education Sciences, and the Templeton Foundation.”
Other BU schools that fared well are the Questrom School of Business, for its full-time MBA program (44 out of 131 peers), the College of Engineering (34 out of 198), and the School of Law (23 of 197). The magazine rated medical schools in several categories; BU’s School of Medicine was the 30th best for research and 34th for primary care education out of 118 schools nationally. The primary care program jumped up six spots from last year, a significant improvement.
U.S. News also gave a shout-out to several graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences: in economics (23rd best in the country), English (42nd), psychology (39th), and philosophy (37th).
BU’s profile also is flying high globally, according to a recent evaluation by the QS World University Rankings by Subject. QS called BU “among the world’s elite institutions” in 36 academic subjects. Headquartered in London, QS collects and disseminates global higher education information. Of the 1,117 institutions ranked worldwide this year, BU placed 63rd in arts and humanities, 166th in engineering and technology, 41st in life sciences and medicine, 94th in natural sciences, and 96th in social sciences and management (QS combines those fields).
Finally, BU was named by Times Higher Education (THE) to a list of 53 “international powerhouse” institutions, schools that have the best chance of being grouped alongside—or even ahead of—THE’s most elite global “old stars,” a group that includes the University of Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Princeton.
The University’s placement on the “international powerhouse” list is largely because of the strength and impact of its medical and health-related research, as well as its research in the life and physical sciences, says THE data analyst Billy Wong. As with many other universities on the list, Wong adds, BU’s focus on interdisciplinary research also played an important role. The list is based on data tracking reputation and research performance—as measured by citations in recognized academic journals—that THE collected from 980 research universities globally for its 2016–2017 World University Rankings.
Making the international powerhouse list were 28 schools from the United States, among them Duke, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Ohio State, and Brown University. The list also includes schools from 11 countries across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Many of the institutions have medical schools and are strong in clinical—or medical and health-related—research, Wong says.
BU’s spot on the list reflects its investment in peaks of excellence in medical and health-related research—including in global health and infectious diseases—as well as in areas such as photonics, engineering, biology, and neuroscience, says University Provost Jean Morrison.