Sanford Institute Graduate Program Ranked in Top Ten

U.S. News and World Report released its 2008 public policy graduate programs rankings on March 28 and once again, the Sanford Institute of Public Policy’s graduate programs were ranked in the top ten.

This year Duke was in a four-way tie for tenth place, while seven schools tied in 2004, the last year for which the news magazine ranked public policy graduate programs.

In several subcategories, Duke’s rankings rose or were unchanged: public policy analysis remained in fifth place; health policy and management was ranked sixth (ninth in 2004); and social policy was ranked eighth (eleventh in 2004). Duke’s environmental policy program received a third-place ranking, compared to second place in 2004.

“In addition to having top-quality graduate programs, the Sanford Institute draws on, and benefits from, its close relationship with schools and programs throughout the university,” said Sanford Institute Director Bruce Kuniholm. “The rankings clearly reflect the strength of the combined resources of the Sanford Institute, the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke Medical Center and the medical school, the Global Health Institute, the Center for Child and Family Policy, and others.”

The rankings are drawn from results of surveys mailed last fall to deans, directors and department chairs representing 269 master’s degree programs nationwide. Respondents rank program excellence on a 1 to 5 scale. The response rate was 40 percent. The highest average score, a 4.5, went to Syracuse University.

One limitation of the ranking system is that it groups programs that emphasize policy analysis, such as Duke’s, with programs that primarily emphasize public administration, which place greater emphasis on management skills, as well as programs that are dedicated to substantive areas such as international affairs, Kuniholm said.

As always, Duke officials cautioned prospective students to consider many factors when choosing the program best suited for them.

“Size, location, faculty research interests and teaching quality are among the many factors students should consider,” Kuniholm said.

Sanford also was ranked second this year and first in 2007 in scholarly productivity by Academic Analytics. The company compares schools according to faculty output in the form of articles and books published, quantity and size of research grants and other details.