National Research Council releases graduate school ratings

WUSTL fairs well in ratings of more than 200 national research universities

The National Research Council (NRC) has issued ratings of 5,000 academic areas for doctoral programs at more than 200 national research universities.

Although Washington University in St. Louis has continued to make important strides in the past few years, the data on which these results are based, collected in 2006, identify a number of outstanding WUSTL doctoral programs.

Instead of issuing specific numeric rankings, the NRC created ranges within which a specific program could be placed. The results have challenged universities to understand and to report results for their own programs. WUSTL is no exception.

“We are immensely proud of the work of our faculty and students, and we are pleased to see that a significant number of WUSTL departments and academic programs have achieved significant rating ranges in this study,” says Richard J. Smith, PhD, the Ralph E. Morrow Distinguished University Professor and dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. “While these results cannot be easily compared to the more popular news media rankings, they are a good indication of our strengths in a number of key indicators, including academic scholarship and peer-review recognition.”

A number of WUSTL programs received strong ratings within in the ranges provided by NRC, Smith noted. He also cautioned that because the data use these ranges, one cannot assume that this represents a ranking.

As a result — using the NRC’s combined “S” and “R” ratings — 16 WUSTL programs may be ranked as high as the top 10 in their respective disciplines. Those are:

  • Anthropology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Developmental Biology
  • Environmental Engineering Science
  • Evolution, Ecology & Population Biology
  • French Language and Literatures
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Microbiology and Microbrial Pathogenesis
  • Movement Science
  • Music
  • Neurosciences
  • Plant Biology
  • Political Science

Eight WUSTL programs other than those above may rank as high as the top 20. Those are:

  • Art History & Archaeology
  • Biochemistry
  • Comparative Literature
  • Hispanic Languages and Literature
  • Computer Science & Engineering
  • Economics
  • Molecular Biophysics
  • Psychology

A database in an Excel format that can be downloaded and custom queried by the user is available at This site also includes additional methodology.

For other reports regarding this study, visit and