Graduate School Applications and Rankings on the Rise

Denisse Tafur, Huakang Huang and Dinesh Babu Uthaya Kumar are UConn Graduate School students studying biomedical science who completed advanced training in translational research at the NIH's Clinical Center this summer.
Denisse Tafur, Huakang Huang and Dinesh Babu Uthaya Kumar are UConn Graduate School students studying biomedical science who completed advanced training in translational research at the NIH's Clinical Center this summer (UConn Health/Janine Gelineau).

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Applications to graduate programs at the University of Connecticut are on the upswing, while at the same time the programs are registering a rise in rankings.

Throughout the past decade, the number of applicants to UConn’s graduate programs has grown steadily – from 8,400 in 2006 to 12,200 in 2016 – and that trend is expected to continue.

Several of UConn’s schools also moved up on the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Graduate Schools. The schools of law, business, engineering, nursing and medicine all recorded higher standings this year with that external ranking system in a report released Tuesday.

“While we doubt the ability of any ranking system to capture the value of a law school’s program, there are several elements of this ranking that we believe reflect substantive progress in our programs,” said Timothy Fisher, dean of the School of Law.

The School of Law moved up in some seven different factors weighed in the ranking, including reputational scores, admissions selectivity, certain entering class board scores and GPA averages, and in particular, post-degree employment, Fisher said.

Overall, the School of Law experienced an 11 -point rise, up from 65th place to 54. Other schools that noted a rise included the School of Business, which ranked 65; School of Engineering, 65; School of Nursing, 43; and School of Medicine, 56 in research, and 34 in primary care.

The Neag School of Education ranked 27 this year. In addition, U.S. News ranked three of the Neag School’s specialty programs among the top 20 in the nation. Those were: Special Education, 15; Educational Psychology, 18; and Secondary Teacher Education, 18.

The methodology used for the U.S. News rankings of specialty programs differs from overall rankings, in that they are based solely on nominations by education deans and education school deans of graduate studies.

“It is gratifying to see the hard work of our faculty members and the high caliber of our students here in the Neag School of Education continue to earn recognition,” said Gladis Kersaint, dean of Neag.

The strength of the programs can be seen in the steady increase in application numbers, according to Kent Holsinger, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the graduate school.

Throughout the past decade, the number of applications grew by nearly 50 percent overall. Notably, the number of international students enrolled in graduate programs increased by nearly 75 percent from fall 2006 to fall 2016, with an especially sharp rise in the past three years, Holsinger said.

In all, 2,400 students attained UConn graduate degrees in 2016. Of those, 1,760 received master’s – nearly the same number as the total graduate degree recipients in 2006.

With the Graduate Faculty Council and its Executive Committee, the Graduate School ensures the academic integrity of the graduate programs, oversees the development of new programs, and develops ideas and new approaches to graduate education, he said.

“The University of Connecticut is a great research university because it has both world-class scholars and world-class graduate students,” Holsinger said. “Research, scholarship, and creative activity at UConn have a national and international impact, and excellence in these areas is inseparable from excellence in graduate education.”

The Graduate School offers degrees in 87 subject areas, representing four research doctorates, two clinical doctorates, 12 master’s degrees, and more than 60 post-baccalaureate and graduate certificates.