April 24, 2018

New U.S. News LIS Rankings Mostly Unchanged

By Norman Oder

  • UIUC, UNC retain top marks
  • Based on survey filled out by three academics at each program
  • Specialty rankings also released

Three years after its last ranking of LIS graduate programs, U.S. News and World Report has produced a new list for its May issue, with relatively little change at the top. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) remained tied in the top slot, as they did in both 1998 and 2006. 

Similarly, the next slots were occupied by Syracuse University, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and Indiana University-Bloomington. The University of Texas-Austin, which had shared the #7 slot with Indiana and Pitt, this year was eighth, followed by Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Simmons College in Boston. 

Methodology and reaction
Though the rankings are subject to skepticism—they’re based solely on the results of a fall 2008 survey sent to the dean of each accredited program, the program director, and a senior faculty member, with a response rate of 56 percent—that didn’t stop schools from seizing on the new rankings. 

UIUC issued a press release touting its position, as did UNC. Simmons issued a press release that noted, for example, that it is the only small-to-mid-size graduate program to make the top 10 list.

Rankings in programs
The survey also ranked several specialty programs. For Archives and Preservation, the top three schools were Texas, Michigan, and Pitt. For Digital Librarianship, the top three schools were UNC, UIUC, and Washington. For Health Librarianship, the top three schools were Pitt, UNC, and the University of North Texas.

For Information Systems, the top three schools were Syracuse, Michigan, and Drexel. For Law Librarianship, the top three schools were Washington, Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), and Texas. For School Library Media, the top three schools were Rutgers, University of South Carolina-Columbia, and Florida State University, Tallahassee. For Services for Children and Youth, the top three schools were UIUC, Washington, and Florida State.