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Duke Medical and Nursing Schools Receive High Rankings from U.S. News


Sarah Avery
Sarah Avery
919-724-5343 Email

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University School of Medicine rose to No. 3 among 122 medical school in the nation for research – tying its highest standing – in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of graduate programs released today. 

Duke’s medical school was previously ranked 3rd for research in 2001.

The magazine’s research rankings are based on numerous indicators, including assessment by deans and residency directors (reputation), as well as the faculty-to-student ratio, student admissions statistics such as MCAT, GPA and acceptance rates, and total federal research activity.

In addition to the research rating, seven specialty programs in the School of Medicine placed in the top 10: Surgery (second); Anesthesiology (fourth); Internal Medicine (fifth); Radiology (sixth); Pediatrics (seventh, tied); Obstetrics and Gynecology (eighth); Psychiatry (tenth).

“These rankings recognize our outstanding faculty, staff and students and their unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional patient care, groundbreaking research and inspired teaching,” said Mary E. Klotman, M.D., dean of Duke University School of Medicine. “I am especially proud and grateful to our entire School of Medicine community for never losing sight of our core missions during this most challenging year.”

For the first time this year, the magazine also published four new rankings to measure how medical schools are performing on key health care issues, including the diversity of graduates and how many newly trained physicians plan to practice primary care, establish practices in rural areas, and work in health professional shortage areas.

Among those new measures, Duke tied for 20th nationally among 118 medical schools for the diversity of its graduates. The ranking was based on two indicators from fall 2020 data: the number of underrepresented minority students enrolled in the school and the ratio of the school’s underrepresented students to state and national numbers. Public institutions’ underrepresented minority enrollments were compared with their respective state percentages, and private institutions’ enrollments were compared with national figures.

“At Duke, we know that diversity is a key metric for excellence,” Klotman said. “Our diverse classes of students are here because they have demonstrated academic achievement, as well as noble character and the potential to be leaders and make a positive impact on our world.”

Duke University School of Nursing

Among nursing schools, the Duke School of Nursing’s Master of Science program once again ranked highly on the magazine’s list at No. 3 nationally, and Duke’s Doctor of Nursing Practice placed 4th.

In addition to its overall rankings, Duke’s School of Nursing had several of its master’s level specialty programs included among the top 10: Nursing Administration (first); Nurse Practitioner-Adult/Gerontology, Acute Care (first); Nurse Practitioner-Adult/Gerontology Primary Care (first); Nurse Practitioner-Family (first); Nurse Practitioner: Mental Health (first).

The Doctor of Nursing Practice specialty in leadership was also ranked first by U.S. News.

“We are the destination for outstanding talent and have created a community of world-class scholars that support and foster a climate of excellence in research, practice and education that is reflected in these rankings,” said Marion E. Broome, Ph.D., dean and Ruby Wilson Professor of Nursing, vice chancellor for Nursing Affairs, Duke University and associate vice president for Academic Affairs for Nursing, Duke University Health System.

“We could not maintain this high-level of contributions to the profession and discipline without the hard work, commitment and personal support of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” Broome said. “I am proud and grateful for being a part of this exciting organization.”

“Duke is renowned for our exceptional excellence and impact -- whether it is in research, education, patient care, or community health,” said A. Eugene Washington, M.D., chancellor for health affairs and president/CEO of the Duke University Health System. “We are proud of the achievements of our Duke University School of Medicine and Duke University School of Nursing colleagues, which are reflected in these rankings.”

U.S. News annually ranks graduate schools in six disciplines, including business, law, medicine, nursing, engineering and education. The magazine’s ranking criteria includes grade-point averages of incoming students, acceptance rates and employment outcomes for students. For medical schools, additional criteria include medical school entrance scores and grade point averages for students.

This past year, Duke’s School of Medicine has also placed highly in other national assessments, including:

  • 3rd place among allopathic medical schools, by the Student Doctor Network;
  • 10th place for funding from the National Institutes of Health, by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research;
  • 16th place internationally among medical schools, by QS World University Rankings.


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