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Grad program in biological engineering tops U.S. News rankings

Cornell's graduate program in biological and agricultural engineering was No. 1 in U.S. News and World Report's 2009 rankings of America's best graduate schools and individual disciplines.

This year, Cornell Law School was ranked No. 13 in the nation, down from No. 12 last year. The Johnson School was ranked No. 17, compared with No. 14 last year. And Weill Cornell Medical College ranked No. 18 for research -- unchanged from last year -- and No. 58 for primary care. Cornell's Department of Education, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was ranked No. 36 for its graduate degree program.

"We take pride in our graduate programs, and we are delighted to see that many of them are ranked highly," said Sunny Power, dean of the graduate school.

The College of Engineering, which ranked No. 11 overall, also showed up in several of U.S. News' subcategories for certain disciplines. They were: computer engineering, 9; mechanical, 9; civil, 10; electrical, 9; and industrial, 8.

"I am very proud that the College of Engineering continues year after year to have one of the nationally top-ranked graduate programs," said Chris Ober, interim dean of engineering. "I am very appreciative of the contributions of the faculty and graduate students to our success."

Cornell was also represented in the humanities portion of the rankings. They were: English, 7; African-American literature, 9; American literature before 1865, 8; gender and literature, 8; literary theory and criticism, 4; and medieval and renaissance literature, 9.

In the social sciences, Cornell was mentioned in the following categories: economics, 18; development economics, 9; history, 12; political science, 20; psychology, 17; sociology, 17; economic sociology, 10; and social psychology, 4.

Published every spring, the rankings cover schools in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. Results are based on analysis of expert opinions about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research and students, according to the magazine. The data are culled from surveys of more than 1,200 programs and 11,000 academics and professionals that were conducted in fall 2008.

Rankings of programs in sciences, social sciences, humanities and many other areas are based solely on ratings of academic experts.

U.S. News ranks only some disciplines every year. Categories in which Cornell has typically had a strong showing, such as physics, math and biology, were not ranked in 2009.

For more information on the 2009 rankings, visit


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Simeon Moss