Medical School’s Top Rank Highlights Grad School Ratings

UNC’s School of Medicine remains top-ranked in primary care in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.” (UNC photo by Jon Gardiner ’98)

The School of Medicine remains top-ranked in primary care, and UNC graduate programs in public health, social work and nursing also earned high marks in U.S. News & World Report’s latest annual survey, titled “2020 Best Graduate Schools Rankings.”

The Gillings School of Global Public Health was tied for second, and the School of Social Work tied for third. Two rankings for the School of Nursing saw big jumps: The master’s degree program tied for fifth this year, and the nursing administration program ranked fourth.

U.S. News ranks business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medical programs annually; various disciplines and specialties in science, social sciences, humanities, health and other areas are ranked periodically but not every year. This year, the magazine ranked master’s degree programs in social work, public affairs, public health, health care management, physician assistant and rehabilitation counseling, and doctoral degrees in veterinary medicine.

In addition to the complete UNC rankings and specialty listings below, more information can be found at


School of Medicine


• Primary care, first (also first in 2018; second in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014; first in 2013; second in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007)

• Research, 23rd (tied for 23rd in 2018; 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 areas:

• Obstetrics and gynecology, 11th (up from 14th in 2018)

• Family medicine, fourth

• Internal medicine, 26th

• Psychiatry, tied for 20th

Gillings School of Global Public Health


• Tied for second (also tied for second in 2015, tied for second in 2007)

School of Nursing


• Master’s degree, tied for fifth (up from being tied for 14th in 2018, 17th in 2017, tied for 21th in 2016)

• Doctor of nursing practice, tied for ninth (up from being tied for 13th in 2018, tied for 20th in 2017, tied for 21st in 2016)

Specialty areas:

• Administration, fourth (up from being tied for 12th in 2018, fourth in 2016)

• Nurse practitioner, family, tied for 16th (down from being tied for 12th in 2018, tied for 11th in 2017, tied for 10th in 2016)

• Nurse practitioner, psychiatric/mental health, tied for ninth (also tied for ninth in 2018)

Health specialties:

• Health care management, tied for third

• Rehabilitation counseling, tied for ninth

School of Social Work


• Tied for third (up from being tied for fifth in 2018, tied for seventh in 2016, tied for eighth in 2008)

Kenan-Flagler Business School


• 19th (also 19th in 2018, 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:

• Accounting, 11th (also 11th in 2018, 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)

• Executive MBA, 12th (up from 16th in 2018, 11th in 2017, 10th in 2016 and 2015, tied for ninth in 2014 and 2013, 11th in 2012, 10th in 2011 and 2010)

• Finance, tied for 28th (up from 29th in 2018)

• Management, tied for 18th (up from being tied for 20th in 2018)

• Marketing, 16th (down from being tied for 15th in 2018)

• Production/operations, tied for 20th

School of Law


• 34th (up from 45th in 2018, 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 areas:

• Clinical training, tied for 48th

• Dispute resolution, tied for 56th

• Environmental law, tied for 41th

• Health care law, tied for 27th

• Intellectual property law, tied for 41st

• Legal writing, tied for eighth (up from being tied for 12th in 2018)

• Tax law, tied for 25th

• Trial advocacy, tied for 34th

School of Education


• 27th (up from being tied for 30th in 2018, 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 and supervision, tied for 17th (down from being tied for 14th in 2018)

• Curriculum and instruction, tied for 18th (down from being tied for 17th in 2018)

• Education policy, 16th

• Education psychology, 15th

• Elementary teacher education, 18th

• Secondary teacher education, 15th (down from being tied for 14th in 2018, tied for 20th in 2017)

• Special education, 11th (tied for 11th in 2018, tied for 17th in 2017)

Public Affairs


• Tied for 21st (up from being tied for 23rd in 2018, tied for 25th in 2016)

Specialty areas:

• Local government management, second (up from third in 2018)

• Public finance and budgeting, tied for 17th (up from being tied for 20th in 2018)

• Public management and leadership, tied for 15th (also tied for 15th in 2018)

• Public policy analysis, 28th (up from being tied for 32nd in 2018)

(As part of the public affairs category, U.S. News ranked Carolina programs and specialty areas based in the School of Government and the College of Arts and Sciences’ department of public policy.)


Specialty areas:

• Biomedical engineering/bioengineering, tied for 33rd (This is a joint department with N.C. State University)

• Environmental/environmental health engineering, tied for 18th


U.S. News first ranked graduate programs in 1987 and has done so annually since 1990. Each year, it ranks professional programs in business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medicine. Those rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinion on program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students. Its periodic rankings of additional disciplines and specialties in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, health and other areas are based solely on the ratings of peer academic experts, including deans, program directors and senior faculty.

The data come from statistical surveys sent to administrators at more than 2,054 graduate programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 22,018 academics and professionals in the disciplines. Surveys for the latest rankings were conducted during fall 2018 and in early 2019.


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