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ASU education, public affairs among big gains in US News rankings

Arizona State University’s education and public affairs graduate programs broke into the top 15 and joined the university’s law school and fine arts program in jumping to higher spots in the latest rankings by U.S. News & World Report, which were released Tuesday.

All four of those graduate schools ranked within the top 25 in the nation and were the top-ranked schools in Arizona.

“The model we have been working on for a New American University has always been focused on raising the quality of the programs we deliver,” said Mark S. Searle, executive vice president and university provost. “The results from the U.S. News & World Report rankings reflect one indicator that we are being recognized for our efforts.”

ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College marked a non-stop rise in the rankings, from 35th to 14th, over the past six years, underscoring the variety of ways in which ASU is strengthening education in Arizona and the nation and outperforming schools such as UC Berkeley, Michigan State and NYU.

Dean Mari Koerner emphasized that some colleges of education focus on teacher preparation but don’t have faculty who conduct world-class research. Others produce PhDs who join the academy but don’t prepare educators to serve in K-12 schools.

“We are an extraordinary college because we are committed to both,” Koerner said. ”The most enduring testament to the knowledge we create, the programs we implement and the partnerships we foster are our extraordinary graduates who are embedded in communities and have a great impact on schools.”

The graduate programs within the School of Public Affairs, at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions, also elbowed into the top 15, rising three places to 13th in the nation, ahead of Columbia and Georgetown. Even better? Its city management programs are ranked fourth, higher than Harvard’s.

The school helps lead the Alliance for Innovation, a unique partnership with 400 city managers across the nation that allows the school to have a direct impact on how many U.S. cities are run. Students and faculty connect with city leadership from member communities for internships and other valuable learning experiences, as well as research.

“We have an impact on practice that goes far beyond the classroom and journals,” said Karen Mossberger, director of the School of Public Affairs, “through research that addresses challenges these communities are facing and through students who gain invaluable experience alongside some of the leading managers around the country.”

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is now a top-25 law school, moving up a notch from 26 last year, especially noteworthy given the emphasis that the legal community places on rankings, and outranking UC Davis, Colorado and Ohio State University. Its legal writing program ranked No. 7 in the nation, topping schools such as Marquette and Temple.

“For a law school that has been operating for fewer than 50 years to be so highly ranked is truly amazing,” said Dean Douglas J. Sylvester. “It is a testament to the quality of our students, devotion of our alumni, and deep community support.” 

ASU Law continues to adapt legal education in response to a changing world and economy, including global engagement through a legal “Peace Corps” in its Rule of Law & Governance Program, and a community legal center incorporated into the Arizona Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix — the new home of ASU Law — that opens in August. The center will provide valuable experience and embody ASU’s commitment to the downtown community.

The ASU School of Art, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, rose into the top 20, up two spots from last year’s No. 22 and from No. 30 in 2012, and its printmaking programs rank fifth in the country. The Herberger Institute’s overall ranking topped schools such as the University of Chicago and Cornell.

The Herberger Institute maintains that artists must be embedded in their communities and dedicate their creative energy and talent to building, reimagining and sustaining our world, Dean Steven J. Tepper explained. He said design and the arts must be socially relevant and never viewed as extras or grace notes. The perspective is shared by renowned choreographer and MacArthur Fellow Liz Lerman, who recently joined the Institute’s faculty and described her work across campuses and the community as “equal commitment to concert and community.” “That is,” Lerman said, “spending time in different disciplines, which is just a thrill.”

The U.S. News rankings showed that ASU remains the best for business in the state, with the full-time MBA at the W. P. Carey School of business ranking 35th in the nation, with highly ranked specialty programs. Students looking for international business find a No. 3 program with the Thunderbird School of Global Management. The Supply Chain and Logistics program is heralded as fourth in the country. Both of these specialty programs beat out Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton).

The College of Nursing and Health Innovation remains in the top 30 in the country.

Individual programs within the College of Health Solutions are ranked as top-notch, each rising in the rankings: ASU is ninth for its doctorate in audiology, up from 17th, and 17th for its master’s in speech-language pathology, up from 21st.

For more information about applying to ASU’s graduate programs, visit the graduate admissions website.