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2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:26 pm
by matonski
These are the "premium" listings from here. The subfield rankings are slightly longer than what's freely available.

OVERALL
1 Caltech
1 Harvard
1 MIT
1 Stanford
5 Princeton
5 UC Berkeley
7 Cornell
7 Chicago
9 Illinois--Urbana-Champaign
10 UC Santa Barbara
11 Columbia
11 U Michigan
11 Yale
14 UC San Diego
14 Maryland
14 UT Austin
17 U Penn
17 Wisconsin--Madison
19 Johns Hopkins
19 UCLA
19 Colorado--Boulder
19 U Washington
23 Ohio State
23 Penn State
23 SUNY--Stony Brook
26 Rice
26 Rutgers
26 UC Davis
26 U Minnesota--Twin Cities
30 Brown
30 Carnegie Mellon
30 Duke
30 Georgia Tech
30 Northwestern
30 UC Irvine
36 Michigan State
36 U Arizona
36 U Florida
36 North Carolina
40 Boston U
40 Indiana U
40 New York U
40 Purdue
40 Texas A&M
40 UC Santa Cruz
40 U Virginia
40 Washington U in St. Louis
48 Arizona State
48 Florida State
48 Iowa State
48 U Mass--Amherst

ATOMIC / MOLECULAR / OPTICAL
1 MIT
1 Colorado--Boulder
3 Harvard
4 Stanford
5 Caltech
6 U Rochester
7 U Arizona
7 Maryland
9 Rice
9 UC Berkeley
11 U Michigan
12 Princeton
13 Kansas State
13 U Central Florida

CONDENSED MATTER
1 MIT
2 Illinois--Urbana-Champaign
3 UC Santa Barbara
4 Stanford
5 Harvard
6 UC Berkeley
7 Cornell
8 Princeton
9 Chicago
10 Caltech
10 Maryland
12 UC San Diego
13 Columbia
14 Penn State
15 Yale
16 U Michigan
17 Ohio State
17 U Penn
19 Rutgers

COSMOLOGY / RELATIVITY / GRAVITY
1 Princeton
2 Caltech
3 Harvard
4 Stanford
5 UC Berkeley
5 Chicago
7 MIT
8 UT Austin
9 UC Santa Barbara
10 Penn State
11 Maryland
11 U Penn

ELEMENTARY PARTICLES / FIELD / STRING THEORY
1 Stanford
2 UC Berkeley
3 Harvard
3 Princeton
5 Caltech
6 MIT
7 Chicago
8 UC Santa Barbara
9 Cornell
10 Columbia
11 U Michigan
12 Wisconsin--Madison
13 UT Austin

NUCLEAR
1 Michigan State
2 MIT
3 U Washington
4 SUNY--Stony Brook
5 Indiana U
5 Yale
7 Caltech
8 Duke
8 UC Berkeley
10 Columbia
10 Illinois--Urbana-Champaign
12 Texas A&M

PLASMA
1 Princeton
2 MIT
2 Wisconsin--Madison
4 UCLA
5 UC San Diego
5 UT Austin
7 Maryland

QUANTUM
1 MIT
2 Harvard
3 Caltech
4 Stanford
5 UC Santa Barbara
5 Colorado--Boulder
7 Princeton
8 Illinois--Urbana-Champaign
9 Maryland
10 UC Berkeley

METHODOLOGY
Rankings of doctoral programs in the doctoral Ph.D. sciences are based solely on the results of surveys sent to academics in biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, physics, and statistics during fall 2009.

The individuals rated the quality of the program at each institution from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5).

Individuals who were unfamiliar with a particular school's programs were asked to select "don't know."The schools with the highest average scores among those who rated them were sorted in descending order and appear here.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:56 pm
by delton
Hm,

These are the same as the "2010" rankings currently online.

A professor told me the data sets they are using for these are several years old. (from around 2000). There should be significant updates in the next few years.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:50 pm
by matonski
The "2011 rankings" were ranked in 2010 from surveys sent in the fall of 2009. They were just updated on Wednesday this week. I have a "premium" subscription so the subfield rankings are slightly longer than what's available online.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:16 am
by bubba_bones
@ matonski: Could you also add the univs ranked overall between 50-100 ?

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:28 am
by AO
bubba_bones wrote:@ matonski: Could you also add the univs ranked overall between 50-100 ?

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-physics-schools/rankings/

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:44 am
by YellowXDart
I really wish they would do an Astronomy/Astrophysics subfield ranking also.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:13 am
by twistor
"Individuals who were unfamiliar with a particular school's programs were asked to select "don't know."The schools with the highest average scores among those who rated them were sorted in descending order and appear here."

A complete joke.

Realize that what some anonymous professor in another state thinks of the program has no relevance to your actual experience.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:49 am
by mobytish
twistor wrote:Realize that what some anonymous professor in another state thinks of the program has no relevance to your actual experience.


I agree. They seriously need to come up with some other way to rank these programs.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:32 am
by jones
YellowXDart wrote:I really wish they would do an Astronomy/Astrophysics subfield ranking also.


I agree. Although the whole concept of rankings and the methodology used by US News is questionable, they are held in some importance, especially by international students who have little else apart from university websites to refer to. (As evidenced by the recent infamous 'debate' on this forum). Astronomy rankings are hard to extrapolate from the 'Cosmology/Relativity/Gravity' subfield.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:29 pm
by matonski
twistor wrote:A complete joke.

Realize that what some anonymous professor in another state thinks of the program has no relevance to your actual experience.

But what many anonymous professors think of your program may have some relevance to your future experiences (particularly if you intend to stay in academia).

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:51 pm
by HappyQuark
I think the (potential) issue with Grad School rankings involves how people utilize them, not the rankings themselves. There most certainly is value to an analysis of the general population of physicists and their determinations of which departments are doing the most influential work in a certain area or in the general field. After all, if asking those in academia for advice on grad school selection was such a bad idea, we wouldn't do it with our undergraduate advisors and faculty. The rankings are not supposed to be an all encompassing and comprehensive indicator of an individuals success and/or happiness at an institution. It's not as if we are supposed to be reading these rankings to say that all people who attend a school ranked #10 will be twice as happy and twice as productive as a school ranked #20. The rankings are meant only to get your feet wet in choosing a program. You should look up which schools are regarded as highly productive and successful and then to do a significant amount of further investigation on the faculty (quantity and quality), facilities, funding, research expertise, interdisciplinary work, etc. Furthermore, it gives you an indicator of which schools everyone will be applying to, so you know where best to allocate your application fees and travel expenses.

If you use graduate school rankings for what they are, rather than what we all wish they could be, you will find that they are surprisingly useful.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:22 am
by geshi
HappyQuark wrote:I think the (potential) issue with Grad School rankings involves how people utilize them, not the rankings themselves. There most certainly is value to an analysis of the general population of physicists and their determinations of which departments are doing the most influential work in a certain area or in the general field. After all, if asking those in academia for advice on grad school selection was such a bad idea, we wouldn't do it with our undergraduate advisors and faculty. The rankings are not supposed to be an all encompassing and comprehensive indicator of an individuals success and/or happiness at an institution. It's not as if we are supposed to be reading these rankings to say that all people who attend a school ranked #10 will be twice as happy and twice as productive as a school ranked #20. The rankings are meant only to get your feet wet in choosing a program. You should look up which schools are regarded as highly productive and successful and then to do a significant amount of further investigation on the faculty (quantity and quality), facilities, funding, research expertise, interdisciplinary work, etc. Furthermore, it gives you an indicator of which schools everyone will be applying to, so you know where best to allocate your application fees and travel expenses.

If you use graduate school rankings for what they are, rather than what we all wish they could be, you will find that they are surprisingly useful.


I agree with you. I am going to add some additional thoughts:

As someone who visited programs that are much lower ranked and programs that are top 30 ranked, I can tell you there is certainly a difference between schools of various rankings (mostly in terms of the amount of funding at each program). To be honest, I don't see the difference between a school ranked 20 and a school ranked 30, but I see a difference between a school ranked 20 and a school ranked 60. I'm not even saying there is a hard-and-fast rule that schools ranked significantly higher have much better research/funding, but I would say there is some level (even if it's small) of correlation there.

Also, a quote from the USN website:
It's important that you use the rankings to supplement—not replace—careful thought and your own inquiries.

Also (from USN website):
Response rates for the doctoral Ph.D. sciences were as follows: for biological sciences, 15 percent; chemistry, 25 percent; computer science, 46 percent; earth sciences, 29 percent; mathematics, 34 percent; physics, 31 percent; and statistics, 67 percent.

Given the low response rate, I'm willing to say there's a larger-than-desired uncertainty in the rankings. ;)

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:21 am
by twistor
Do they publish the actual survey that they send out?

Does it even give an option for a response such as, "I am not familiar with ______'s physics department."?

Lack of familiarity might explain the low response rate. Or even more tellingly it could indicate that 69% of professors don't think well enough of the ratings system to bother giving a response.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:36 am
by mobytish
twistor wrote:Does it even give an option for a response such as, "I am not familiar with ______'s physics department."?

Lack of familiarity might explain the low response rate. Or even more tellingly it could indicate that 69% of professors don't think well enough of the ratings system to bother giving a response.


And further up the discussion...
matonski wrote:METHODOLOGY
...
Individuals who were unfamiliar with a particular school's programs were asked to select "don't know."The schools with the highest average scores among those who rated them were sorted in descending order and appear here.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:47 am
by twistor
Ok, then.

31% of physics professors responded AND "don't know" was a valid option.

Therefore the situation is worse than it looks because <31% of professors have rated the programs.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:06 pm
by kroner
Most professors probably haven't had substantial interaction with any given program. You'd prefer if respondents were all forced to give a rating for all the programs instead of just the ones where they hopefully aren't talking out of their asses?

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:55 pm
by mobytish
So basically, ratings of graduate programs are affected by factors such as the networking and collaboration of existing or past physics professors at a university (so that other professors in their field recognize the name of the university) as well as the sheer number of graduate students passing through the program (since these students are sometimes going on to become professors). The long and the short, the ratings are a popularity contest, especially when you consider that it's unlikely many schools actually receive negative responses.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 pm
by HappyQuark
twistor wrote:Ok, then.

31% of physics professors responded AND "don't know" was a valid option.

Therefore the situation is worse than it looks because <31% of professors have rated the programs.


I'm not sure that I understand your complaint. If a department is unknown (or relatively unknown) to experts in the field that is being ranked, then it is very likely that the unknown department doesn't typically make major contributions to that field and thus they would secure a place at the lower ends of the ranking. Alternatively, schools which are constantly putting through significant research into publications, talks, symposia, etc. will get noticed by people in the field. Requiring the responders to rank departments they haven't heard of or which they have no reason to feel is stronger than any of the other no-name departments will likely just rank them at random. I've always been an advocate of having less data that you know is accurate than extra data which is composed, at least in part, of random and meaningless selections.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:13 pm
by matonski
mobytish wrote:The long and the short, the ratings are a popularity contest


And as such, it can be quite relevant being that the judges of this contest may be your potential employers after you graduate.

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:22 pm
by kroner
mobytish wrote:So basically, ratings of graduate programs are affected by factors such as the networking and collaboration of existing or past physics professors at a university (so that other professors in their field recognize the name of the university) as well as the sheer number of graduate students passing through the program (since these students are sometimes going on to become professors). The long and the short, the ratings are a popularity contest, especially when you consider that it's unlikely many schools actually receive negative responses.

This doesn't seem to be borne out by the data. If most people only gave schools 4s and 5s, then pretty much every school would have ratings in the 4-5 range yet the majority are below 3. You don't get more points by having more people give a response, so it's not a contest of who can network the most. Evidently at least some people are willing to be honest when they're evaluating programs that they don't feel are top tier, even if they like and respect the program. I don't know what kind of rubric the professors are given but it's probably not "5 - everyone there is really nice; 1 - you hate them."

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:06 pm
by AO
I think some people here are ignoring that a good deal of being a successful academic is networking and being well known. It is not sufficient to simply do good, or even great, research. Disseminating information (1) and being able to communicate your ideas effectively (2) along with developing a reputation for these things (3) are of the utmost importance, in addition to the quality of ones research (4). On a slightly more macro level this is what these rankings measure. So a school that does all four of these things well will rank higher than schools that do not. That being said, like all things, one must acknowledge that this is inexact and to consider that there is some error in the study.

As much as we would like to think the lack of nuance in this study trivializes its results we really shouldn't.

J

Re: 2011 U.S. News Rankings

Posted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:31 am
by RESIN
I wonder what is the rank of Case Western University in Condensed matter? Is anyone (from this university) here to answer?