U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday released its annual Best Medical Schools list based on specific indicators for research and primary care, as well as the lists of top medical schools for seven specialties.
For the research and primary care rankings, U.S. News in fall 2017 and early 2018 surveyed 177 accredited medical and osteopathic schools in the United States. Of the schools surveyed, 124 responded with the data needed for inclusion in the rankings.
Methodology for research ranking
For the research rankings, U.S. News assessed each school's performance based on a weighted average of 12 indicators:
- Quality assessment, including MCAT scores, undergraduate GPAs, and acceptance rates;
- Faculty-to-student ratios;
- Peer assessment scores;
- Assessment scores by residency directors;
- Research activity, including six measures of schools' levels of NIH research, non-NIH federal research, and nonfederal research activity.
According to U.S. News, this was the first year the publication included measures for non-NIH federal research and nonfederal research in its metrics. U.S. News said it added the additional indicators "based on suggestions from medical school deans … to account for all the research conducted at medical schools." At the same time, the publication reduced the weight of reputation—as measured by peer and residency director assessment scores—by 10 percentage points.
Harvard University tops the research list
The top 10 medical schools for research (including some ties), according to U.S. News, were:
1. Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts);
2. Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland);
3. New York University (New York City);
3. Stanford University (Stanford, California);
5. University of California-San Francisco (San Francisco);
6. Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Rochester, Minnesota);
6. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia);
8. University of California-Los Angeles (Los Angeles);
8. Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis); and
10. Duke University (Durham, North Carolina).
Click here to view the full list.
University of North Carolina tops the primary care list
For the primary care rankings, U.S. News assessed each school's performance on a weighted average of seven indicators: MCAT scores, undergraduate GPAs, acceptance rates, faculty-to-student ratios, peer assessment scores, assessment scores by residency directors, and rate of graduates entering primary care residencies.
The top 10 medical schools for primary care (including some ties) were:
1. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina);
2. University of California-San Francisco (San Francisco);
3. University of Washington (Seattle);
4. University of California-Los Angeles (Los Angeles);
5. Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas);
5. Oregon Health and Science University (Portland, Oregon; Hillsboro, Oregon);
7. University Of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan);
8. University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia);
9. University of Colorado (Aurora, Colorado);
10. University of California-Davis (Davis, California); and
10. Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis).
Click here to view the full list.
Best schools among seven specialties
Alongside the medical school rankings for research and primary care, U.S. News ranked hospitals within seven medical specialties. These rankings were based on ratings by medical school deans and senior faculty from the 124 responding schools. Respondents were asked to identify up to 10 schools offering the best programs in each specialty.
This year is the first year that U.S. News has included anesthesiology, OB-GYN, psychiatry, radiology, and surgery in its specialty rankings. U.S. News said it made the change "based on suggestions from medical schools deans to better reflect the curriculum taught at medical schools." The publication no longer surveys several formerly ranked specialty areas, including drug and alcohol misuse, family medicine, geriatrics, rural medicine, and women's health.
The best schools in each of the seven specialties were:
- Anesthesiology: A tie between Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University;
- Internal medicine: A tie between Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University;
- OB-GYN: Harvard University;
- Pediatrics: A tie between Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania;
- Psychiatry: Harvard University;
- Radiology: Harvard University; and
- Surgery: Harvard University (Rege, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/20; U.S. News & World Report release, 3/20; U.S. News & World Report research rankings, 3/20; U.S. News & World Report primary care rankings, 3/20; U.S. News & World Report methodology, 3/19).
Get 1-page cheat sheets on Hospital Quality Rating Programs
Download our one page sheets for summaries on the methodology and metric categories used in five hospital quality rating programs:
- US News and World Report Best Hospital Rankings
- CMS Star Ratings
- Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Grade
- Truven Analytics’ Top 15 Health Systems
- Truven Analytics’ Top 100 Hospitals