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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

UC Davis professional schools surge in rankings

Praise for both the UC Davis School of Law and School of Medicine followed the anticipated release of U.S. News and World Report’s graduate school rankings.

The UC Davis School of Law climbed seven spots from the previous year, gaining the 28th slot out of nearly 200 accredited graduate programs. Not to be outdone, the UC Davis School of Medicine ranked 20th in primary care and 47th in research.

As the youngest law school in the report’s top 30 rankings, the UC Davis King Hall School of Law has gained attention from prominent firms throughout the country.

Morrison & Foerster, a global law firm employing over 1,000 lawyers and ranked among the top 20 U.S. firms in The American Lawyer’s A-List, currently employs 26 UC Davis law school graduates.

“We have some UC Davis [School of Law] grads among our most successful partners,” said Keith Wetmore, chair of Morrison & Foerster. “We’ve had tremendous success recruiting Davis graduates.”

Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center and Davis law school alumna, Monika Kalra Varma, said one reason for achievement in careers following graduation is the sense of community that accompanies being the smallest accredited UC law school. The average entering class wavers near 200, which Varma said gives the school a close-knit community of students, faculty and alumni that other larger universities are unable to achieve.

Thanks to aspects such as this support system and a 90 percent bar passage rate for first-time test takers, the UC Davis School of Law deserves such recognition, said King Hall Dean Kevin R. Johnson[cq].

“I think that nationally we’re growing in terms of our reputation, scholarly and otherwise,” he said. “U.S. News is starting to take that into account and recognize that something is going on here.”

Fellow UC Davis graduate school, the UC Davis School of Medicine, achieved praise for its climb of 15 spots from the previous year in the primary care category.

Mark C. Henderson, professor, vice chair and residency program director and associate dean for admissions and outreach, believed the substantial increase is due to the school’s improving reputation throughout the nation.

The discrepancy between the medical school’s primary care and research rankings, 20th and 47th respectively, is not an accurate reflection of the university, Henderson said. In his opinion, the Davis medical school’s research ranking should have been higher.

The large difference between the two categories in the rankings can be attributed to the weight the U.S. News report places on a school’s perceived reputation instead of certain verifiable factors, such as the amount of faculty research funding, he said.

This year the medical school received over 4,500 applications for approximately 100 spots. But the quality of applications has multiplied, said Henderson. Incoming medical students bring more than high GPA’s and MCAT scores. They possess additional skills, such as experience and leadership, he said.

Although he was pleased with the UC Davis School of Medicine’s impressive rankings, Henderson was hesitant to put too much emphasis on their importance.

“[The rankings] aren’t exactly perfect; I don’t think any rankings are. For us, it’s a nice piece of news but I wouldn’t want to get overly excited about it,” he said. “I am hopeful though that this represents an improved reputation of Davis [medical school] among other institutions across the nation.”

KELLEY REES can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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