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Despite significant budget cuts and enrollment increases since the previous U.S. News & World Report rankings for graduate programs in science and mathematics were released in 2010, Texas A&M Science's five departments held strong in the 2015 rankings released earlier this week, with Chemistry and Statistics both maintaining their top-10 positions among public graduate programs. (Photo Credit: Division of Research, Texas A&M University.)

COLLEGE STATION --

Graduate programs in the Texas A&M University College of Science continue to maintain strong positions in comparision to their public and private peers across the country, according to the most recent national survey by U.S. News & World Report.

Both Chemistry and Statistics solidly maintained their top-10 positions among public universities in the report, "2015 Best Graduate Schools," released Tuesday (March 11). Chemistry ranks 8th among public institutions and 19th overall, while Statistics is 7th public and 15th overall. Chemisty's inorganic sub-program also is listed 2nd among publics and 5th overall, a one-spot improvement in the latter category from the most recent rankings for science released in 2010.

In addition, Mathematics and Physics and Astronomy respectively tied for 41st and 44th overall and are listed at 22nd and tied for 25th, respectively, among all U.S. public programs.

Meanwhile Biology debuted in a tie for 75th overall and within the top 40s among publics in the survey's ranking of graduate biological sciences programs -- a category that Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science, says remains nebulous at best due to the complexity and variety of such programs across institutions.

Overall, Newton says the college-wide progress -- highlighted by the top-10 public rankings for Chemistry and Statistics -- is particularly noteworthy because of the university's long-standing goal of being a top-10 public university as expressed in its strategic document Vision 2020, released in 2000.

"When Vision 2020 was first released, the Texas A&M Mathematics and Physics departments were ranked in the top 40s of all public universities," Newton said. "During the past 15 years, these rankings have improved to the point where they are now very close to top 20 of all publics. Additionally, over the past 10 years, the Department of Physics has become the Department of Physics and Astronomy with the addition of eight faculty specializing in astronomy."

Newton notes that it has always been difficult to find useful rankings for the college's fifth department, Biology, because the makeup and location of "life sciences" faculty in universities varies tremendously from institution to institution. For example, there are several departments at Texas A&M in addition to Biology where faculty who call themselves biologists reside. These include faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, among other units.

"We are so pleased that we have maintained our strong positions in this latest rankings, particularly because they are primarily a reflection of how our peer universities think of us," Newton said. "This is particularly important, given the significant drop in university funding and large enrollment increases we have faced since the last rankings in 2010. Chemistry has maintained its traditional place as one of the signature departments of Texas A&M, and Statistics has held its strong position as well. Mathematics and Physics and Astronomy nearly reaching top 20 public from where they were in such a short time is remarkable.

"Top 10 is a great goal, but getting there is much harder in a field where every university is represented, rather than in fields with far fewer programs nationally. With the economy of Texas improved and faculty hiring initiatives underway, we believe that when the next rankings come out five years from now, we will have even better news to report."

U.S. News professional school rankings -- the result of individual surveys of thousands of academics and professionals nationwide -- are based on both program quality as viewed by experts and the actual quality of a program's students, faculty and research. Because each graduate program is different, the rankings methodology varies across disciplines. For further information, visit the U.S. News website at http://www.usnews.com/.

To see the complete rankings for science, click here.

To see how Texas A&M fares in similar surveys and publications,click here.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents annual expenditures of more than $820 million. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

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