Pharmacy School Keeps Top Ranking by U.S. News

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U.S. News ranks business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medical programs annually, while various disciplines and specialties in science, social sciences, humanities, health and other areas are ranked periodically. (File photo)

UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy retained its No. 1 spot, the School of Medicine stayed in first place for its primary care program for the third year in a row, and the School of Law made a significant jump in the 2021 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best graduate schools in America.

The pharmacy school reached the top spot four years ago and, because pharmacy schools are not ranked every year, this is the first affirmation of that. The law school rose seven places from last year — an 18-place improvement from two years ago — to rank 27th among all schools. It ranks in a tie for 10th among public university law schools. It also was ranked in four more specialty areas than in previous years. It now ranks in 13 specialties, including tied for seventh in legal writing.

U.S. News ranks business, education, engineering, law, nursing and medical programs annually, while various disciplines and specialties in science, social sciences, humanities, health and other areas are ranked periodically. This year, U.S. News also published fresh academic reputation rankings for graduate programs in public affairs, audiology, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, pharmacy, clinical psychology, occupational therapy and nursing midwifery and for master’s programs in fine arts.

The complete UNC ranking and specialty listings follows. A comprehensive list of all rankings and data and more information can be found at


Eshelman School of Pharmacy

• First (also first in 2017, second in 2008)


School of Medicine


• Primary Care, first (also first in 2019 and 2018; second in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014; first in 2013; second in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007)

• Research, 23rd (also 23rd in 2019; 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

• Family Medicine, third (fourth in 2019)

• Obstetrics & Gynecology, 12th (11th in 2019; 14th in 2018)

• Internal Medicine, tied for 24th (26th in 2019)

• Psychiatry, 19th (tied for 20th in 2019)

Health Specialty Programs

• Audiology, fifth

• Speech-Language Pathology, tied for eighth

• Physical Therapy, tied for ninth

• Occupational Therapy, tied for 10th


School of Nursing


• Master’s Degree, tied for third (tied for fifth in 2019; tied for 14th in 2018, 17th in 2017, tied for 21st in 2016)

• Doctor of Nursing Practice, seventh (tied for ninth in 2019; tied for 13th in 2018, tied for 20th in 2017, tied for 21st in 2016)

Specialty Areas

• Nurse Practitioner: Adult Gerontology, Primary Care, tied for third

• Nurse Practitioner: Psychiatric/Mental Health Across the Lifespan, tied for third

• Master of Nursing Administration, fourth (also fourth in 2019; tied for 12th in 2018, fourth in 2016)

• Master of Nurse Practitioner: Family, fourth

• Nurse Practitioner: Family, tied for fifth


Kenan-Flagler Business School


• Tied for 20th (19th in 2019 and 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

• Real Estate, tied for seventh

• Accounting, tied for 10th (tied for 11th in 2019 and 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)

• Marketing, tied for 14th (up from 16th in 2019; tied for 15th in 2018)

• Executive MBA, 15th (12th in 2019; 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 21st

• Management, tied for 24th (tied for 18th in 2019; tied for 20th in 2018)


School of Law


• Overall, tied for 27th (34th in 2019; 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

• Legal Writing, tied for seventh (tied for eighth in 2019; tied for 12th in 2018)

• Contracts-Commercial Law, tied for 18th

• Criminal Law, tied for 22nd (tied for 22nd in 2019)

• Constitutional Law, tied for 25th

• Business-Corporate Law, tied for 26th

• Tax Law, tied for 26th (tied for 25th in 2019)

• Environmental Law, tied for 37th (tied for 41st in 2019)

• Clinical Training, tied for 44th (tied for 48th in 2019)

• International Law, tied for 46th

• Dispute Resolution, tied for 48th (tied for 56th in 2019)

• Intellectual Property, tied for 55th (tied for 41st in 2019)

• Trial Advocacy, tied for 78th (tied for 34th in 2019)


School of Education


• Tied for 24th (up from 27th in 2019; 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

• Special Education, 11th (also 11th in 2019; tied for 11th in 2018, tied for 17th in 2017)

• Education Policy, 18th (16th in 2019)

• Administration and Supervision, tied for 18th (tied for 17th in 2019; tied for 14th in 2018)

• Educational Psychology, tied for 18th (15th in 2019)

• Elementary Teacher Education, tied for 20th (18th in 2019)

• Curriculum and Instruction, tied for 21st (tied for 18th in 2019; tied for 17th in 2018)


Public Affairs


• Tied for 19th (up from 21st in 2019; tied for 23rd in 2018, tied for 25th in 2016)

Specialty Areas

• Local Government Management, second (also second in 2019; third in 2018)

• Public Management and Leadership, 15th (tied for 15th in 2019 and 2018)

• Public Finance and Budgeting, 19th (tied for 17th in 2019; tied for 20th in 2018)

• Public Policy Analysis, tied for 34th

As part of the public affairs category, U.S. News ranked Carolina programs and specialty areas based in the School of Government and the Department of Public Policy.



Specialty Areas

• Biomedical Engineering/Bioengineering (a joint department with N.C. State University), tied for 34th (tied for 33rd in 2019)

• Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering, tied for 15th (tied for 18th in 2019)


UNC Graduate School

• Fine Arts Overall, tied for 73rd

• Clinical Psychology, second


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 for the rankings in all six disciplines comes from statistical surveys of more than 2,081 programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 24,600 academics and professionals, conducted in fall 2019 and early 2020.


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