Where to find rankings for best schools for certain majors

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Where to find rankings for best schools for certain majors
By Donna1787 (Donna1787) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 01:16 pm: Edit

Where can I find rankings for the best schools for specific majors (esp. Political Science and Business). I looked under US News online and could only find business. Specifically, I want to find out which state university of California (ie UCLA) has the best Political Science program. Thanks!

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 04:21 pm: Edit

Two books I recommend as a starting point are Rugg's REcommendations of the Colleges and The College Finder (both are available inexpensively on Amazon or from h.s. guidance offices/libraries) Neither is a book of rankings but rather they lists school that have strong majors in different subjects.

Once you have a few schools in mind, do your own research to determine your own rankings based on the things that matter to you. First and foremost, you want a good all around school before worrying about a particular department - you may change your major and you WILL be taking classes in other subjects/departments as well. Don't pick a school just because it is strong in a particular major - that's a bonus!

When you have the names of a few schools that interest you, go to their department web site and start doing some more research. Look at the size of their faculty, faculty backgrounds, how many classes are taught by Teaching Assistants, how many faculty actually teach undergraduates, average class sizes, how many classes are actually offered each semester (and how fast do they fill up?), the emphasis on writing and research in the classroom, etc. etc. etc. The differences between departments will soon start becomming clear.

In short, your own research - both through web sites, through talking with faculty and students, etc. - is the best way to determine your own ranking based on what's important to you and YOUR chances of getting in.

In any case, here are the public calif. schools Rugg's lists as good for political science:

Most selective:
UC Berkeley
UC Los Angeles
UC San Diego

Very Selective:
UC Davis
UC Irvine
UC Santa Barbara

UC Riverside
Cal State Long Beach
Cal State Northridge

You may also find it helpful to look at the political science departments of a few private Calif. schools for comparison in doing your research on what makes a strong political science program. Try these:
Claremont-McKenna, Scripps, Pomona, Stanford,
University of Redlands, Whittier, University of San Diego, Santa Clara.

Good luck!

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