UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Graduate Programs Rank High in National Research Council Report

SBS graduate programs ranked by the National Research Council continued to be among the leaders in their fields nationally.

On Tuesday, the prestigious National Research Council released its assessment of U.S. doctoral programs, which includes data on over 5,000 programs in 62 fields at 212 universities nationwide. 

The NRC collected data during academic year 2005-2006 on 20 key markers of quality, which included the amount of faculty research activity and awards, student support and outcomes, and faculty and student demographics. Two ranking methods were used, each weighing the program characteristics differently.

Instead of assigning a single ranking, the NRC placed each program within a range of rankings. Looking at the best end of the range in either of the study's two ranking methods, all nine SBS graduate programs assessed by the NRC study were ranked in the top 25: anthropology (2), communication (6), geography (6), sociology (8), linguistics (12), public administration (14), philosophy (16), political science (20), and history (21).

Inside Higher Education prepared a summary showing which departments could be in the top 3 in the country in their field. Anthropology was one of two units at the UA to make the list.

“Although these NRC rankings were produced by a very complicated and even contested methodology, the fact that every SBS program that the NRC ranked fell 21st or higher in comparison to scores of competing programs shows that SBS has excellence across the board,” said John Paul Jones, III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

In addition to the two "overall" rankings, the NRC provided ranking ranges for the research activity of program faculty, student support and outcomes, and diversity of the academic environment. In these areas, several SBS departments ranked within a range that extends into the top 10:  communication and public administration — research activity; geography, philosophy, political science, and sociology — student support and outcomes; and history — diversity.

In a comparison of programs at the University of Arizona, SBS showed that it is one of the leaders in providing excellent graduate education. For the “R” overall ranking, 3 of the top 10 were SBS programs, with anthropology ranking first; for the “S” overall ranking, 4 of the top 6 programs were in SBS; in a comparison of research activity, 5 of the top 10 were SBS program, with communication ranking first; and for student support, 2 of the top 5 programs were in SBS.

For more information, please contact John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences,, 520-621-1112.

Additional Information:
•    A spreadsheet containing the data and illustrative rankings for all programs as well as a guide to the study's methodology can be found at the National Academies website.
•    Information on NRC ranking data at the University of Arizona can be found at here.