Skip to main content

UC San Diego’s Graduate Programs Earn High Marks in U.S. News and World Report Rankings

Engineering, medicine and social sciences ranked in nation’s top 20


  • Judy Piercey
  • Christine Clark

Media Contact:

Published Date


  • Judy Piercey
  • Christine Clark

Share This:

Article Content


UC San Diego’s engineering, medicine and social sciences graduate programs are ranked in nation’s top 20.

The 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools guidebook, released today, names the University of California San Diego’s professional schools in engineering and medicine, as well as its academic Ph.D. programs in the social sciences and humanities, among the best in the nation.

“It is an honor to have UC San Diego’s graduate programs recognized, across the board, for demonstrating excellence in research, education and service to students,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego is dedicated to recruiting the best scholars and giving the highest quality of learning in an environment that embraces risk-taking, collaboration and innovation.”

The U.S. News & World Report guidebook annually ranks professional school programs in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. Beyond the five disciplines ranked annually, the publication also periodically ranks programs in other areas. This year, the publication released rankings for programs in economics, English, history, political science, sociology and psychology for the first time in four years.


Among public universities, the Jacobs School of Engineering is ranked 8th best in the U.S. Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering ranked 13th nationally, up four spots compared to last year; among public universities, the school is listed as the 8th best. In addition, the biomedical/bioengineering program within the engineering school is ranked 3rd in the nation, up from 4th place. Researchers at the school work to provide solutions to pressing problems around the world ranging from powerful digital visualization methods to assess building safety used by principal investigator Tara Hutchinson and other structural engineers to a bioengineering study by professor Kun Zhang and team that developed a blood test to detect and locate cancer early on.

The UC San Diego School of Medicine was again named the 18th best in the nation among research-intensive programs, and the school is ranked 12th in the primary care category, up nine spots compared to last year. School of Medicine principal investigator and professor Elizabeth A. Winzeler is leading an international malaria research program that will aid drug development to accelerate disease eradication. Roughly half of the world’s population lives in areas at risk of malaria transmission.


The UC San Diego School of Medicine was named 18th best in the nation.

UC San Diego’s Division of Social Sciences departments in political science (ranked 9th) economics (ranked 12th) and psychology (ranked 13th) were lauded as some of the top programs in the nation. The specialty areas of behavioral neuroscience, econometrics and international politics were all ranked 4th in the nation. Cognitive psychology and public finance were both 8th, while comparative politics and development economics were both 10th. American politics and political methodology were ranked, respectively, 11th and 12th.

Recent advances in research by Division of Social Sciences economist Karthik Muralidharan combine scientific rigor with a scale relevant to policymakers in the fight against inequality. Findings of his studies on primary education policy are being implemented by the government of India. Together with Paul Niehaus, a fellow faculty member in the department of economics at UC San Diego, Muralidharan is also working to improve the design and delivery of anti-poverty programs.

The annual U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research output and student achievement.

As a recap, below are UC San Diego recognition highlights among the main discipline areas featured in the new U.S News grad school rankings:


  • 13. UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering national ranking
  • 3. biomedical/bioengineering specialty


  • 18. UC San Diego School of Medicine national ranking among research-intensive programs
  • 12. primary care category

Social Sciences

  • 9. political science/4. international politics specialty, 10. comparative politics specialty, 11. American politics specialty, 12. political methodology specialty
  • 12. economics/4. econometrics specialty, 8. public finance specialty, 10. development economics specialty
  • 13. psychology/4. behavioral neuroscience specialty, 8. cognitive psychology specialty
  • 36. sociology


  • 41. history
  • 42. English


  • 69. education studies


  • 75. Rady School of Management, among part-time MBA programs

Data from previous years’ U.S. News World Report surveys indicate UC San Diego graduate programs in the sciences are among the best in the nation. Biological sciences (14th), chemistry (21st), computer science (15th), earth sciences (16th), mathematics (23rd) and physics (16th) are listed near the top nationally in their overall fields. The surveys also give high marks to specialties in discrete mathematics and combinations (3rd), and neuroscience/neurobiology (2nd). Previous rankings for UC San Diego’s other top graduate programs include fine arts (13th) and the specialty in time-based media/new media (3rd), the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (25th) as well as its joint doctoral program with San Diego State University in clinical psychology (25th).

For more information about this year’s rankings, click here.

Share This:

Category navigation with Social links