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new u.s. news sociology rankings

Here are the 2009 rankings of Sociology programs from U.S. News & World Report. As before, Berkeley and Madison are #1 and #2 (actually I think they were tied for #1 last time round). But Princeton is now #3 alongside Michigan; Harvard, Stanford, Chicago and UNC tie at #5. Northwestern and UCLA are tied, rounding out the top 10. It’s been interesting to watch Princeton move way, way up the list over the past few rounds.

Insert the usual disclaimer here about how rankings are of course an imprecise and indeed crass measure of something as intangible and diaphanous as intellectual quality and academic excellence, that we have little time and less respect for such quantified anti-intellectual crudities put out by cheap news magazines on the basis of dubious methods, and that that prospective graduate students should instead rely multiple sources of advice to best judge the fit of a program with their interests before they hey look our Department moved up from last time but the other guys are still totally overrated.

Written by Kieran

April 23, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Posted in academia, sociology

15 Responses

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  1. Dang, Arizona! 20?!?! I can remember being bummed when we got an 11 ranking. Jamie Bowie put up a sign outside our office that said: “We’re #1!” with a tiny additional “1” right beside the first, big “1.”

    Ah, those were the days.

    Like

    Mary Nell

    April 23, 2009 at 2:49 pm

  2. I feel the crushing internalization of status orders. Thanks a lot, Mr. Sauder.

    Liked by 1 person

    fabiorojas

    April 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm

  3. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, sometimes “measurement error” is actually “data” for the specific purposes you need. for instance, the Flynn effect implies that IQ tests are largely picking up the ability to reason in highly abstract and decontextualized ways which is a bad thing if you’re trying to use them to measure “intelligence” but a good thing if you’re trying to measure the ability to reason in highly abstract and decontextualized ways.
    likewise, according to Burris, survey-based departmental prestige rankings only loosely track research productivity but are almost entirely a function of the PhD placement network. since many (if not most) prospective grad students are more concerned with placement than if a given department hosts the reincarnation of Socrates this means that the US News numbers might actually be more useful than numbers that more accurately reflected the intellectual caliber of the department.

    Like

    gabrielrossman

    April 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm

  4. I am going to act as if my department is at the top of the list. Performativity should take care of the rest, right?

    Like

    tina

    April 23, 2009 at 3:54 pm

  5. 11, er, I mean, Fabio: I wouldn’t let the ramblings from some second page sociologist get you down–no one pays any mind to these numbers.

    Like

    M. 36 Sauder

    April 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm

  6. That’s a great idea — I’m referring to people by their number from now on.

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    Kieran

    April 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  7. Patrick McGoohan also says it better:

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    M. (has a lot of unique assets and may be a good match for some students) Sauder

    April 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

  8. I really like this too. (On ‘House,’ the TV show, the main character refers to one of his colleagues as “13.”)

    If we’re going in this direction — let us at least pick the ranking. Referring to me by my school’s sociology ranking would lead to “N/A.” I guess that has its own merits.

    [I like these better: MBA ranking — #22. Undergrad business ranking — #5.]

    Like

    tf (or N/A)

    April 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm

  9. OK 15, if you insist.

    Like

    numero uno

    April 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm

  10. That’s 14 to you, mate.

    Like

    Kieran

    April 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm

  11. I’m not sure whether I should be more offended by the fact that my department fell in the rankings or by the fact that USNWR doesn’t seem to know how to spell my college town’s name. (Yeah, so much for anonymity.)

    Like

    krippendorf

    April 23, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  12. And we continue to slide!

    Like

    T 17

    April 23, 2009 at 10:21 pm

  13. my subdiscipline rankings just came out too — we slipped .3 points, which meant we dropped one slot but remain in the top five. you’d think we’d dropped 10 points by all the discussion…

    i also remember being at WI when we went from #1 to tied for #1.

    perhaps it is me, dragging down the rankings wherever i go?

    Like

    newsocprof

    April 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  14. Does anyone know how they pick the specialty areas to rank? The US News site (on the FAQ page) says this:

    “For each discipline, we identify the subjects in which schools most often offer concentrations. These areas are usually the most popular choices of specialization among graduate students. In some instances, an area of specialization may not have large enrollment but may be of particular or emerging importance in the field.”

    Does anyone have any info beyond this?

    Like

    mntrautner

    May 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

  15. […] a comment » For previous orgtheory posts on college rankings: b-schools, sociology PhD programs, b-schools again,Sauder on the […]

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