Law school lifted in U.S. News rankings while business, education programs slide

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A student enters Lerner Hall, the main building of the GW Law School. The school earned back its place in the No. 20 law schools.

Two of GW’s top graduate programs again declined in the U.S. News & World Report rankings on Tuesday, while its law school edged back into the coveted No. 20 slot.

The GW Business School fell nine slots to No. 65 while the the Graduate School of Education and Human Development slipped 11 slots to No. 55. The rankings, which are considered by some in higher education to be imperfect measures for success, are still deemed the gold standard for prestige for many applicants.

The GW Law School regained the ranks of the nation’s top 20 law schools after dropping to No. 21 last year. The school is now tied with the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and the University of Southern California. GW also held onto its No. 2 spot for its part-time programs.

The annual rankings include admissions and job placement data, as well as peer and professional judgment on each school. Neighboring Georgetown University took the first spot for law school, based on its academic reputation, LSAT scores, GPAs of entering classes and the “breadth of each school’s part-time program.”

GW’s business school, which shares its No. 65 spot with seven other business schools, reported that about 58 percent of its full-time students had landed jobs by graduation, with an average base salary of $83,356. That compares to 78.7 percent of graduates at Harvard University, which boasts the top-ranked business school this year.

The business school fell in the rankings less than a year after losing its dean, Doug Guthrie. Guthrie, who had brought big plans to triple the number of endowed professors, grow new programs and expand to China, was fired in August after the school overspent by about $13 million.

Professors and Guthrie have criticized GW’s central administration for failing to invest more money back into business school programs, hurting the school from keeping up with competition and possibly impairing its accreditation process this year. The school also saw low marks in student satisfaction in Bloomberg Businessweek’s undergraduate rankings last year.

The education school, now at No. 55, had boasted a spot in the top 35 schools from 1995 to 2012. Enrollment in the school has dropped 22 percent over the last five years. Its dean recently announced an 18-month plan to ramp up recruiting, particularly among undergraduates and doctoral students interested in research.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science’s graduate programs earned a No. 90 nod, up three spots from last year. Those programs have gotten a boost in recent years after GW’s $275 million commitment to the Science and Engineering Hall, which will open in early 2015.

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