UNL graduate programs jump in national rankings

2014-03-11T00:01:00Z 2014-12-02T15:59:04Z UNL graduate programs jump in national rankingsBy CHRIS DUNKER / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

Several graduate programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln received their highest rankings ever on the latest U.S. News and World Report of Best Graduate Schools, published Tuesday.

The University of Nebraska College of Law jumped seven spots to No. 54 out of 193 U.S. law schools included in the report, up from 89th two years ago.

Law College Dean Susan Poser said several factors contributed to the graduate school’s continued rise, including a job placement rate topping 87 percent, improved student entrance exam scores and grade-point averages and faculty members successfully publishing in journals and casebooks.

The school’s reputation among judges and lawyers across the country also has improved, Poser said, as UNL extends its reach and influence at the local, state, national and international levels.

“The reputation shows the quality of our faculty and their scholarly achievements as well as our graduates going out there and making us look good,” Poser said. “I’ve been here for 20 years as a faculty member and now a dean, and this is the highest we’ve ever ranked.”

Poser said she hopes UNL can put the rankings to work in recruiting top students from across Nebraska and the country. There are roughly 375 students enrolled at the UNL College of Law working with about 30 faculty members.

“I think the students do pay attention to the rankings and that’s why we care about them,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know what a wonderful place this is, but it might encourage more students, especially out-of-state (students) to think about it, and it might encourage students in-state to realize what they have in their own backyard.”

UNL’s College of Business Administration also scored high in the part-time MBA and online MBA programs.

The college's part-time MBA program ranks 39th out of 127 programs — up from 50th in the last ranking — which puts it in the top 50 alongside Big Ten Conference schools Northwestern, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa.

The online MBA program at UNL ranks sixth in the country and second in the Big Ten, the report states. The ranking was released a day after the Financial Times declared UNL’s online MBA program the 12th best in the world.

UNL’s College of Engineering also ranked in the top half of graduate engineering programs in the U.S., at 87th out of 193 schools. The college’s biological and agricultural engineering programs were ninth, according to a survey of engineering school department heads.

“We know we have a ways to go, but we are excited to be building education and research programs that are meaningful to our students and the state of Nebraska," College of Engineering Dean Timothy Wei said.

Reach Chris Dunker at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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