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School of Medicine Ranks Second in Country; Remains First in Student Selectivity

Joni Westerhouse

April 2, 2004 – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is rated the second best medical school in the nation and ranks first in student selectivity, according to this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate and professional programs released April 2.

The medical school ranked second after Harvard University. The No. 3 slot went to Johns Hopkins University, followed by Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania in a tie for fourth. Last year the School of Medicine tied with Johns Hopkins as the second best in the country for research-oriented medical schools.

This is the seventh consecutive year the School of Medicine has been first in student selectivity, a measurement of student undergraduate grade-point averages and scores on medical school entrance exams. The magazine publishes the rankings to help students choose graduate schools. The school has remained in the top 10 since U.S. News began the annual rankings in 1987.

"We have a gifted, committed faculty and extraordinary students,” says Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “It is quite an honor that the School of Medicine has been ranked between such prestigious schools as Harvard and Johns Hopkins and — for the seventh consecutive time — ranked number one in student quality.

"We try not to attach too much importance to these rankings because they can't take all of a school's attributes into consideration, but I must say I'm pleased. This acknowledgement helps the St. Louis region achieve deserved recognition as a center for life sciences education and research. I am especially grateful to our university leadership, board of trustees and patrons, who all have given the School of Medicine their generous support."

The rankings are based on research activity, faculty resources, national reputation and student selectivity.

Individually, the School of Medicine’s physical therapy program ranked second in the nation, while occupational therapy was third, pediatrics ranked seventh and internal medicine ranked seventh.

Drug and alcohol abuse and audiology were tied for eighth, the geriatrics and women’s health programs both tied for 15th and the AIDS program placed 17th.

The rankings will be available in the April 5 issue of the magazine. For news about the standings of all Washington University programs ranked this year, go to


The full-time and volunteer faculty of Washington University School of Medicine are the physicians and surgeons of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Last updated 4/2/04