Graduate programs in education, health sciences claim spot in new rankings

East Carolina University’s graduate programs in education and several health sciences disciplines are included in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-24 Best Graduate Programs announced today.

ECU’s College of Education ranked in the top 30% of graduate programs nationwide, tied at No. 83 of 272.

East Carolina University Community School students work during class in 2019.

East Carolina University Community School students work during class in 2019. ECU’s graduate programs ranked in the top 30% in the country in the latest U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-24 Best Graduate Programs ranking. (ECU photo by Cliff Hollis)

“The ECU College of Education faculty continue to create an environment that provides students excellent opportunities to engage in best teaching practices and associated cutting-edge research,” said Art Rouse, professor and interim dean of the college. “The faculty instill in our students the frame of servire (to serve); hence, students acquire the skills, knowledge and disposition that positively impact the communities they serve. The faculty commitment to our students is exhibited through our mission of student success, public service and regional transformation.”

The ranking criteria for education graduate programs changed from last year to put more weight on research activity and faculty resources and less weight on peer and professional assessment and student selectivity (by not including GRE scores).

The education rankings are based on total research expenditures, average expenditures per faculty member, peer and education professional assessment score, number of doctoral degrees granted, faculty-student ratio, percent of faculty with awards or editorships, doctorates-granted-to-faculty ratio and acceptance rates.

On ECU’s health sciences campus, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the College of Nursing tied at No. 66 of 169 schools, placing it in the top 40% in the country.

U.S. News DNP rankings are based on nursing practice participation of faculty, DNP degrees awarded per full-time faculty, proportion of faculty with doctoral degrees, student to faculty ratio, percentage of faculty with academic achievements in the field of nursing, and peer assessment. The weight of peer assessment in the DNP dropped from 40% in 2023 to 25% in 2024; the weight of faculty resources rose from 26.25% to 35% to formulate the assessments.

Other graduate programs were ranked by U.S. News on peer assessment scores only. They include ECU’s physician assistant studies program, which tied at No. 65 of 211 universities, placing it in the top 35% nationwide. ECU’s rehabilitation counseling program tied at No. 46 of 94 and public health tied at No. 122 of 202 institutions. Other ECU programs included in this year’s rankings include earth science and public affairs.

Rankings for best medical schools — including the ECU Brody School of Medicine — and law schools have been delayed because of an unprecedented number of inquiries, according to an email from U.S. News. “The level of interest in our rankings, including from those schools that declined to participate in our survey, has been beyond anything we have experienced in the past,” the email said.

While U.S. News ranks programs in medicine, education and several others each year, programs in the sciences, humanities and other disciplines are updated periodically.

Programs that are offered predominantly online are ranked and released by U.S. News at a different time of year.

For more information, visit the U.S. News website.

ECU Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research and the College of Education’s Kristen Martin contributed to this story.