Graduate programs at CU among best in nation

Outstanding reputations in research, teaching reflected in U.S. News rankings
By Staff

Graduate programs at CU among best in nation
Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado
No. 1: CU-Boulder maintains the top spot nationally for atomic/molecular/optical physics

Dozens of graduate programs across the University of Colorado land highly respected rankings in this year’s lists from U.S. News & World Report, spotlighting excellence in higher education across the country.

All four CU campuses are recognized for research and teaching achievement as gauged by academic experts. Fields examined include health care, engineering, law, education and business.

Below is a sampling of CU’s rankings from the 2017 edition of Best Graduate Schools (U.S. News Media Group), as made available in advance by U.S. News (full lists available on March 16). Some rankings include ties with other institutions:

University of Colorado Boulder

  • No. 1: CU-Boulder maintains the top spot nationally for atomic/molecular/optical physics.
  • Top 10: CU-Boulder notches top rankings for ceramics (fifth), environmental law (eighth), aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering (eighth) and education policy (10th).
  • Another 14 CU-Boulder schools and programs hold places on the national rankings within their fields: clinical psychology (16), audiology (17), physics (18), earth sciences (23), chemistry (24), speech language pathology (24), School of Education (28), biological sciences (30), psychology (30), College of Engineering and Applied Science (33), computer science (40), Law School (40), mathematics (46) and Leeds School of Business (59 for part-time MBA schools). Not all disciplines are ranked by the publication.

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

School of Medicine

  • Top 10: The school ranks fourth nationally for pediatrics, fifth for family medicine and sixth for rural medicine.
  • The school ranks 11th nationally for primary care and 35th overall for research.

College of Nursing

  • Top 10: The informatics program ranks sixth; pediatric nurse practitioner, eighth.
  • The college is 21st for doctor of nursing practice; the nursing master’s degree is 23rd .

Graduate School

  • Top 10: The master’s program for physician assistant ranks fifth.
  • Among master’s/doctorate programs in physical therapy, the program ranks 15th.

Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

  • The school ranks 22nd nationally for the doctor of pharmacy program.

University of Colorado Denver

  • Schools and programs ranking: health care management (23), School of Public Affairs (34), biological sciences (75), the Business School’s part-time MBA program (89) and the School of Education and Human Development (99).

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

  • The doctorate of nursing practice at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences ranks 70th; the nursing master’s degree, 78th. The part-time MBA is No. 111.

Rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program quality, and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students. The publication aims to provide a tool to students and parents who are comparing college programs at accredited public and private universities in the United States.

The 2017 Best Graduate Schools includes rankings in graduate school disciplines as well as part-time MBA and part-time law school programs. For the first time, U.S. News ranks Doctor of Nursing Practice programs alongside master's programs in nursing. DNP programs, which are rapidly growing, prepare nurses for the highest level of clinical practice. Detailed statistical data will be displayed on searchable directory pages on, as well as in the Best Graduate Schools 2017 print guidebook, on sale at newsstands on April 5.

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