Skip to main content

New Graduate Program Rankings Demonstrate Strengths Across Disciplines

Chang Vang, graduate student aerospace engineering and teaching assistant, instructs Brandon Conroy, a mechanical engineering major, on what methods they need to use for their data during the engineering class of Exerimental Methods for Thermal Fluids.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 12:00am

Once again, UC Davis graduate programs ranked among the nation’s best in the 2021 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools (March 17).

The list reveals new rankings for business, law, education, engineering, medical and nursing programs. The annual Best Graduate Schools rankings are based on different types of data: survey results relating to academic excellence and statistical indicators that assess the achievements of a program or school’s students and faculty.

2021 Ranking Highlights

Fine Arts

UC Davis Fine Arts programs jumped an impressive 12 spots since they were last ranked in 2017, earning a tie for 15th in the country. UC Davis Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree offerings include Creative Writing, Dramatic Art, Design, and Art Studio. Learn more about UC Davis MFA programs on the UC Davis main site.


The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s Full-Time MBA is ranked among the top 50 programs in the U.S. for the 25th consecutive year. U.S. News’ latest ranking places the Full-Time MBA program at No. 48, among the top 10% of the 477 MBA programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) that were surveyed. The UC Davis Part-Time MBA, offered in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, was ranked in the top-tier at No. 31 in the U.S News ranking of part-time programs in the U.S. It is the ninth consecutive year the Part-Time MBA program has been ranked among the top programs in the nation. Read more on the Graduate School of Management website.


The UC Davis College of Engineering continues to rank among the nation’s top graduate engineering schools at 33 out of nearly 200 public and private graduate engineering programs. The college’s highest-ranking graduate programs are biological and agricultural engineering and environmental engineering, which moved up five places to 9th in the nation. Aerospace engineering’s graduate program improved significantly from last year’s rankings and mechanical engineering also improved their ranking. Read more on the College of Engineering's website.


The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis ranks among the top 40 of the best master's-degree nursing programs according to the 2021 report. The publication ranks the UC Davis School of Nursing's master's entry program in Nursing and master's-degree leadership program as 40th, up six spots from last year's ranking and tied with four other programs. Read more on the UC Davis Health website.

Other Recent Graduate School Rankings

While some academic disciplines are ranked by U.S. News & World Report annually, other programs – including programs in science, social sciences, and humanities — are ranked every three or four years. Some notable graduate program rankings from previous releases include:

  • Veterinary Medicine — 1st (tie) Best Biological Sciences Programs (2020)
  • Public Health - 23rd (tie) 
  • Biological Sciences — 18th (tie) Best Biological Sciences Programs (2019)
  • Biological Sciences — 2nd Best Ecology / Evolutionary Biology Programs (2019)
  • Physics — 28th (tie) Best Physics Programs (2019) 
  • Economics — 29th (tie) in Best Economics Schools (2018)
  • English — 20th (tie) Best English Schools (2018)
  • Political Science — 17th in Best Political Science Schools (2018)
  • Psychology — 26th (tie) in Best Psychology Schools (2018)

The complete Best Graduate Schools rankings are available on the U.S. News and World Report website

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.