Medical School Returns to No. 1 in Grad School Rankings

UNC’s School of Medicine has regained its national No. 1 ranking in primary care in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” (UNC photo by Jon Gardiner ’98)

UNC’s School of Medicine has regained its No. 1 ranking in primary care nationally among schools, degree programs and specialty areas newly ranked by U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” The medical school ranked second last year.

U.S. News ranks programs in business, education, law, nursing and medicine programs annually, while disciplines and specialties in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and other areas, including selected health specialties, are ranked only periodically.

This year, U.S. News ranked doctoral programs in criminology and criminal justice; master’s degree programs in social work, public affairs and related specialty areas; and doctoral programs in the sciences, specifically in biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, physics and statistics.

Following are the complete rankings and specialty listings. More at

School of Medicine


  • Primary care, first (second in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014; first in 2013; second in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007)
  • Research, tied for 23rd (24th in 2017; tied for 22nd in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013; tied for 21st in 2012; tied for 20th in 2011, 2010 and 2009)

Specialty area:

  • Obstetrics and gynecology, 14th

School of Nursing


  • Tied for 13th (doctor of nursing practice degree program) (tied for 20th in 2017, tied for 21st in 2016)
  • Tied for 14th (master’s degree program) (17th in 2017, tied for 21st in 2016)

 Specialty areas:

  • Administration, tied for 12th (fourth in 2016)
  • Family nurse practitioner, tied for 12th (tied for 11th in 2017, tied for 10th in 2016)
  • Psychiatric/mental health, across the lifespan nurse practitioner: tied for ninth

School of Social Work


  • Tied for fifth (master’s degree program) (tied for seventh in 2016, tied for eighth in 2008)

Kenan-Flagler Business School


  • 19th (master of business administration degree program) (18th in 2017, tied for 16th in 2016, 18th in 2015, 19th in 2014, 20th in 2013, tied for 19th in 2012 and 2011, tied for 21st in 2010)

Specialty areas:

  • Executive MBA, 16th (11th in 2017, 10th in 2016 and 2015, tied for ninth in 2014 and 2013, 11th in 2012, 10th in 2011 and 2010)
  • Accounting, 11th (tied for ninth in 2017; 10th in 2016, 2015 and 2014; tied for ninth in 2013; 10th in 2012 and 2011; tied for 10th in 2010)
  • Finance, 29th
  • Management, tied for 20th
  • Marketing, tied for 15th

School of Law


  • 45th (tied for 39th in 2017, tied for 38th in 2016, tied for 34th in 2015, tied for 31st in 2014 and 2013, 38th in 2012, 30th in 2011, tied for 28th in 2010)

Specialty area:

  • Legal writing, tied for 12th

School of Education


  • Tied for 30th (31st in 2017, tied for 35th in 2016, 33rd in 2015, tied for 36th in 2014, 37th in 2013, tied for 34th in 2012, 29th in 2011, 30th in 2010)

Specialty areas:

  • Administration/supervision, tied for 14th
  • Curriculum/instruction, 17th
  • Secondary education, 14th (tied for 20th in 2017)
  • Special education, tied for 11th (tied for 17th in 2017)

 Public Affairs


  • Tied for 23rd (tied for 25th in 2016)

Specialty areas:

  • Environmental policy and management, 14th
  • Local government management, third
  • Public finance and budgeting, tied for 20th
  • Public management and leadership, tied for 15th
  • Public policy analysis, tied for 32nd

(Carolina has programs and specialty areas within several units based in the School of Government, the College of Arts and Sciences and the Gillings School of Global Public Health with master’s degree programs that are ranked by U.S. News as part of a public affairs category.)


  • Biology, tied for 33rd
  • Biostatistics, tied for eighth
  • Chemistry, tied for 15th
  • Analytical chemistry, second
  • Inorganic chemistry, 10th
  • Computer science, tied for 25th
  • Earth sciences, tied for 54th
  • Mathematics, tied for 34th
  • Physics, tied for 47th
  • Statistics, 19th

U.S. News first ranked graduate programs in 1987 and has done so annually since 1990.

Its annual business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine rankings are based on expert opinion on program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students, according to U.S. News officials. Its periodic rankings of additional disciplines and specialties in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, health area and other areas are based solely on the ratings of peer academic experts, including deans, program directors and faculty.

The data come from statistical surveys sent to administrators at more than 1,970 graduate programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 16,500 academics and professionals in the disciplines. Surveys for the 2019 rankings were conducted during the fall of 2017 and in early 2018.


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