The US News website states that their process for ranking graduate programs "involves factors ranging from the personal to the objective. [...] U.S. News is able to present the most current figures on enrollment, job placement, faculty and other critical quality indicators." And they survey "experts who teach and direct programs in these fields to evaluate their peer programs."

Source: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/rankings-faq#1a

From this we know their scoring function includes weighted inputs of: enrollment, job placement, faculty metrics (citations, publications, impact?), and "expert" assessments.

Does anyone know more about the score formula? What are the specific inputs? How are they weighted?

2 Answers 2


Actually, I think your premise is not entirely correct. Under US News's methodology, most graduate programs are rated entirely by their reputation, as measured by "surveys of knowledgeable individuals." There is no hidden formula at all. See FAQ #2 in the document you linked.

Specifically, for all fields other than business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing, the rankings are:

based solely on the peer assessment data from academics involved in that particular field


The expert assessment data for these areas comes from surveys of knowledgeable individuals in academia and practitioners in each profession. Survey respondents are asked to rate the programs with which they are familiar on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding).

It is only for the six fields listed above, as well as for undergraduate program rankings, that the expert assessment data is combined with statistical data using a proprietary formula.


The US News ranking algorithm is proprietary. They don't say what it is.

A few years ago some Reed College students attempted to reverse engineer the undergraduate program rankings.




  • Very cool, too bad the Reed student analysis doesn't seem to shed any light on graduate school rankings. To your first point, the fact that it's not publicly known is why I asked the question Apr 11, 2021 at 15:00

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