11 Rice graduate programs ranked among top 25 nationally

Rice University has 11 graduate programs that are ranked among the country’s top 25 in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools 2017.”

0321_RANK-bSeven of those programs reflect rankings conducted in 2016, and the others are repeated from a previous edition based on rankings from 2013 and 2014.

At the George R. Brown School of Engineering, which is tied for No. 31 nationally, the bioengineering program is in a five-way tie for No. 9; computer engineering is No. 20; chemical engineering is in a four-way tie for No. 22; and environmental engineering is in a five-way tie for No. 24.

Based on rankings from 2014, the computer science program remains in a five-way tie for No. 20, and the specialty of programming languages is tied for No. 11. Computer science and programming languages are part of the School of Engineering but listed in the sciences section of U.S. News’ graduate school guide.

The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business is now tied for No. 25 nationally (up from No. 33) based on its full-time MBA program ranking. The Jones School’s entrepreneurship program is in a five-way tie for No. 14 and the part-time MBA program is tied for No. 24. (For more on the Jones School’s improved ranking, click here.)

The atomic/molecular/optical specialty in physics at the Wiess School of Natural Sciences is tied for No. 10, and the Earth sciences program is in a five-way tie for No. 25. These are based on the 2014 rankings.

The new rankings, published March 16, are based on expert opinions about program excellence and statistical measures of the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students. U.S. News surveyed administrators at nearly 1,900 graduate programs and more than 18,400 academics and professionals to collect data for the rankings. The surveys for the 2017 rankings were conducted during the fall of 2015 and early 2016. Rankings for programs in the natural sciences were carried over from 2014, and rankings for humanities and social sciences were carried over from 2013.

In addition to the programs above that rank in the top 25, the following Rice programs are ranked in “Best Graduate Schools 2017.” (The year in parentheses indicates when the rankings were done.)


  • Civil engineering — five-way tie for No. 27 (2016).
  • Electrical engineering — six-way tie for No. 27 (2016).
  • Mechanical engineering — five-way tie for No. 29 (2016).
  • Materials science — four-way tie for No. 29 (2016).
  • Statistics — three-way tie for No. 39. (2014; U.S. News lists this as a science program, but it’s part of Rice’s School of Engineering.)

Natural sciences:

  • Physics — three-way tie for No. 26 (2014).
  • Math — six-way tie for No. 28 (2014).
  • Chemistry – tied for No. 33 (2014).
  • Biological sciences – eight-way tie for No. 42 (2014).


  • History — six-way tie for No. 30 (2013).
  • English — three-way tie for No. 36 (2013).

Social sciences:

  • Political science — four-way tie for No. 32 (2013).
  • Economics — five-way tie for No. 48 (2013).
  • Psychology — 11-way tie for No. 67 (2013).

For more information on how the rankings were conducted, click here.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.