Texas A&M administrators and students are celebrating an online ranking that named the school second in the nation for graduate student public affairs and policy education.
The ranking from the website graduateprograms.com, which provides peer-written ratings and reviews to prospective students, combines the Bush School of Government and Public Service and the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts. The website complied more than 40,000 ratings that were self-reported from graduate students at more than 1,200 programs nationwide. The scores were collected between Sept. 1, 2012 and Sept. 30, 2013.
Graduate students ranked A&M in 15 categories, and the website used that feedback to rank the public affairs programs by social life, career support, financial aid and grad program value. Texas A&M ranked 10th in career support, 12th in social life, 10th in financial aid and didn't place in grad program value.
The top overall spot went to the University of Kansas. Texas A&M bested universities such as Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Georgia Tech and Cornell. The second-highest Texas university on the list was the University of North Texas at No. 11. The University of Texas did not make the top 25 list.
Brittany Bounds, president of the graduate student council, was not surprised by the rankings.
"The faculty members that these grad students work with are phenomenal," Bounds said. "I think with the access we have to the presidential library here at Texas A&M, it definitely provides more ability for graduate students to see the workings of the government behind the scenes."
Graduate student Amanda Rutherford is studying in the political science department. She said strong faculty support is what sets A&M apart from its peers.
"I think we receive very excellent training," Rutherford said. "We're known for being good at what we do methodologically, so we hold that reputation."
Administrators celebrated the announcement as well.
"Here in the College of Liberal Arts, we are very proud of the graduate program in the Department of Political Science, which has an exceptionally strong record of success in recruiting and training top students in public affairs and policy," said Dean José Bermúdez. "We also benefit from ongoing collaborations in teaching and research with the Bush School of Government and Public Service. This honor is very meaningful to us and to Texas A&M University as a whole."