After Penn Carey Law School and the Perelman School of Medicine ended their participation in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, The Daily Pennsylvanian reached out to the other ten graduate schools to get a sense of how they feel.
There are 12 graduate and professional schools at Penn, and two of them — Penn Carey Law and the Perelman School of Medicine — recently announced that they would no longer submit data to U.S. News, citing concerns with the methodology of the rankings. The DP sent emails to the 10 other schools, as well as Penn Admissions, asking whether their perspectives on the rankings have changed.
In total, six schools did not respond to multiple requests for comment, one school declined to comment, and three schools provided a comment. In addition, Penn Admissions wrote to the DP that they were not available to comment.
Requests for comment were left unanswered by the Annenberg School for Communication and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, as well as the graduate divisions of the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Wharton School. U.S. News does not have a ranking of graduate programs for communication.
Undergraduate Admissions and the School of Social Policy and Practice declined to comment. The School of Dental Medicine pointed to the lack of a U.S. News ranking of dental schools.
Penn Carey Law announced its decision to withdraw in December, joining dozens of law schools in a boycott that began with Harvard Law School and Yale Law School. The schools have alleged that U.S. News undercounts investment in need-based financial aid and public-service-related fellowships, which they argued pushed students away from careers outside the high-paying private sector.
In January, the Perelman School of Medicine followed a wave of medical schools that made the same decision about U.S. News. The Medical School — ranked No. 6 in 2023 — said it did not share the vision of medical professional education that is propagated by the rankings.
In a statement to the DP, Penn's Graduate School of Education — ranked the No. 1 education school by U.S. News — said it supported the decisions made by its peer schools, citing the law schools’ complaint as a “compelling reason to withdraw.”
"[I]n the case of Penn Carey Law and its peers, the ratings disincentivized law schools to encourage their graduate to go into public service law," a spokesperson wrote.
The spokesperson went on to write that GSE has looked at the criteria for how U.S. News ranks education schools, but it will continue submitting data.
"[A]lthough such rankings inevitably provide only a partial and fallible picture of a school, we have decided to continue participating while monitoring the situation carefully," the spokesperson wrote.
Jacquelyn Torres, the vice president of administration in GSE's student government and a one-year accelerated master’s in education candidate, said she supported a retooled rating system that could serve as a mechanism to increase transparency and encourage innovation.
She said that GSE’s first-place spot in the U.S. News rankings was deserved in the current “very outdated” system, but she was not sure whether Penn would still come out on top under a system that places more emphasis on “equity and accessibility."
Despite this, Torres said she did not want GSE to withdraw.
“I do think GSE should stay in the ranking system and it should be reformed,” she said.
Torres also said that students pay attention to the first-place ranking of GSE, which is advertised on its website.
“Some people have come forward and been like, ‘Oh, yeah, that's the only thing [I] cared about,'” Torres said.
A spokesperson for Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine wrote to the DP that Penn Vet had not participated in the latest U.S. News survey and had not shared any data in advance of the last ranking of the nation’s veterinary schools, which is issued every four years.
“We will continue to focus on our educational, research, and clinical service missions that make Penn Vet so distinct and unique,” a spokesperson wrote.
Questions about the utility and fairness of U.S. News rankings have circulated for years and were rekindled by Columbia University's fall from second to 17th in the Best Colleges list after the school misreported data. Rankings critics have argued that schools are scored in a way that disincentivizes efforts to diversify their student bodies.