Letters and Science Graduate Programs Jump Into Top 20

Two Letters and Science Graduate Programs Jump Into Top 20 of US News & World Report Rankings

UC Davis College of Letters and Science graduate programs in political science and English have jumped to the top 20 in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) graduate program rankings, released on March 14, 2017.

Political science and English are among the seven College of Letters and Science graduate programs ranked in the top 50 of their fields for 2018.

College of Letters and Science Graduate Programs USNWR Rankings - 2018

  • Economics: 29
  • English: 20
  • Fine Arts MFA: 27
  • History: 32
  • Political Science: 17
  • Psychology: 26
  • Sociology: 30


All rankings of doctoral programs in the social sciences and humanities are based on the results of peer assessment surveys sent to academics in each discipline, U.S. News explains. Sciences were ranked in 2014.

The graduate program in political science, which was ranked 41 in 1993 and 23 in 2011, is now ranked at 17. John Scott, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, attributed the rise in the rankings to the addition of many new faculty and increased rigor of the Ph.D. program.

“In the early 2000s, we added faculty doing cutting-edge research and revamped our graduate program to make it more rigorous, which in turn enabled us to attract increasingly better students and to place our graduates in increasingly visible jobs at colleges and universities across the United States and the world,” said Scott. “We are grateful that our success has been recognized by our rapid rise in the rankings, but even more gratifying is being part of a vibrant community of scholars and teachers among our faculty and graduate students.”

English has seen a similar rise, now ranked at 20, tied with New York University, the City University of New York Graduate School, and the universities of Wisconsin-Madison, Texas-Austin, and Indiana-Bloomington.

“It’s gratifying to know that the peer institutions consulted by U.S. News think so highly of what we’re doing,” said John Marx, professor and chair of the Department of English. “The ranking testifies to the quality of our faculty and their mentoring skills as well as the ambitious, adventurous scholarship being done by our students. It reflects well on the initiatives we’ve undertaken recently, such as our new professionalization seminars and our new diversity pipeline programs, which include a three-year collaboration with Hampton University (one of the country’s foremost Historically Black Colleges and Universities). In what remains a very tough job market for English Ph.D. students, I have hope that the increased visibility a top 20 ranking brings will benefit our students when they graduate from Davis and launch their careers.”