USC News

Menu Search

OT Program Tops Rankings of Graduate Schools

The U.S. News & World Report Annual Guide to Best Graduate Schools has ranked the schools of law, film, public administration, social work, music, business and engineering among the nation’s leading graduate schools. The guide gave top honors to USC’s program in occupational therapy.

The USC department of occupational science and occupational therapy was ranked No. 1 in the nation, capturing the top spot among 39 graduate educational programs in occupational therapy. This was the first time that U.S. News & World Report had ranked OT programs.

“We’re very honored and delighted that our peers consider USC the leading program in the nation,” said Florence Clark, professor and chair of the OT department. “Occupational therapy programs have not been ranked before, so although we knew we were doing excellent work here, we didn’t know where we would fall in comparison to the rest of the country and that we would be recognized at this level,” she said.

Occupational science focuses on the critical role of daily activities in overcoming disability and illness, while promoting health and a sense of well-being.

The rankings – based on surveys of deans, administrators and key faculty from schools across the country – consider scholarship, curriculum, and the quality of the faculty and student body, along with other objective data.

USC established the first OT program in the West more than 50 years ago. In 1989, USC faculty founded the academic discipline of occupational science, becoming the first program in the nation to offer a doctoral degree in the emerging field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OT is one of the fastest growing professions in the nation.

Continuing a long-standing tradition, the School of Cinema-Television was again ranked No. 1, tying for the top spot with New York University.

The USC Marshall School of Business had a notable rankings success this year, rising to No. 21 from 34 last year.

Much of the jump is attributable to the school’s ability to capitalize on the region’s rebounding economy. U.S. News determines the rankings based on a school’s reputation, the ability of its graduates to land a job, and how selective it is in admitting new students. Of the three areas, USC made important strides in graduate placement, which accounts for 35 percent of a school’s overall rank.

“The West Coast is hot right now, and you see a bounce effect in the rankings from a stronger economy in California,” said Mary Lord, who heads up the graduate business school rankings at U.S. News and World Report.

“This is a tremendous improvement over last year’s standing and a significant achievement,” said Randolph W. Westerfield, dean of the business school. “Over the last several years we have all worked very hard to improve Marshall’s standing in both the U.S. News & World Report and Business Week rankings, and we have succeeded. I know that we can do even better in the future.”

Westerfield said the business school’s meteoric rise is based on a “six-prong strategy” that includes an ongoing effort to “build student quality; build the proper environment for corporate recruiting; build innovative, rigorous yet practical academic programs; build faculty quality, improve marketing and promotion”; and successfully raise funds to complete the construction of Popovich Hall for the school’s graduate programs.

The guide gave the Marshall School’s graduate programs in entrepreneurship and accounting special mention, ranking them sixth and ninth in the nation, respectively. The school’s part-time and executive M.B.A. programs were ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, and the school’s graduate academic programs in international business, management, marketing and finance were ranked in the top 25.

In other tallies, the School of Public Administration ranked eighth in the nation, tying with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Carnegie Mellon University. The school’s programs in public management/administration (fifth), city management/urban policy (sixth), health policy and management (sixth) and public finance and budget (eighth) all were ranked in the top 10.

The School of Engineering tied with UCLA at 16th, after being ranked 14th last year.

“The raw score for the School of Engineering has risen again this year, to above 90 for the first time,” said Dean Leonard M. Silverman. “We maintained our rank of fourth in research activity and faculty resources, and our rank among academics and professional engineers continues to rise. Although only cited in the Web-based version of the rankings, six of our individual departments placed in the top 25 of the rankings by engineering discipline.”

The Law School was again ranked 15th nationally, the same as last year. The School of Social Work was again ranked eighth in the nation, and the School of Music was ranked 12th, again tying with the Manhattan School of Music in New York. The School of Education this year dropped four points to place at 30th, but was ranked 10th in post-secondary education.

The guide did not rank certain specialties in which USC placed highly in last year’s survey: In 1997, the School of Pharmacy ranked 18th. In 1996, the USC program in broadcast journalism was singled out as No. 11 in the nation.

OT Program Tops Rankings of Graduate Schools

Top stories on USC News