April 16, 2010

Law School, Physics department get a lift in rankings

Chicago’s Law School moved up one spot in the U.S. News and World Report’s Graduate School rankings yesterday, placing it in the top five for the first time in over a decade.

The Booth School of Business and Pritzker School of Medicine remained in spots five and thirteen respectively, while the Physics department moved up one spot to tie Cornell for seventh.

Although the top Law Schools have historically been ranked fairly consistently—Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and NYU dominated the top five—Chicago overtook NYU in this year’s rankings after rising from seventh to sixth last year.

While professor and former Law School Dean Geoffrey Stone said he believes U.S. News uses a faulty methodology, he feels the rankings will undoubtedly have positive consequences. “It will affect the applicant pool next year and the yield this year,” Stone said, noting that applicants place a lot of value on Law School reputation. “Its biggest effect [will be] on prospective students.”

The Law School is also attractive for its former teachers, which include President Obama and Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens (A.B. '41) and Antonin Scalia.

But to Stone, Chicago should rank higher because the weight U.S. News places on LSAT scores and selectivity favors other schools. “I’d say Chicago should be in the top three [along with Harvard and Yale] and would be there if U.S. News took into account quality of teaching,” which Stone said he believes is “the most important factor.”