Samford University has vaulted into third place in the South among master's degree institutions in this year's U.S. News & World Reportrankings of America's Best Colleges, its highest ranking in history. Samford ranks higher in its peer group than any Alabama university or college in the 2006 selections.
Samford moved up from fifth in the South in its category, Best Universities-Master's, which includes schools offering a full range of undergraduate and master's programs and some doctoral programs. The Best Universities-Master's category is the largest of four ranking categories (570 schools) and is divided into four geographic regions.
Samford also ranks 13th in the South in the Best Value category of schools in its peer group. The magazine containing the annual rankings was released Aug. 22.
"Public recognition for academic quality and effectiveness is hard to come by, so it means a great deal to be acknowledged by peers and other experts," said Samford President Thomas E. Corts. "Samford does not operate as though it were in a contest, but it is reassuring to our students, parents, faculty and investors to know that Samford is highly valued. And to have been highly-ranked for more than 15 consecutive years is an honor of which we can be proud."
Samford has been ranked seventh or higher in its category by U.S. News & World Reportsince 1990.
The annual rankings are based on a school's academic reputation, freshman retention rate, graduation rate, class size, student-faculty ratio, percentage of full-time faculty, student selectivity and acceptance rate, and percentage of alumni giving.
Just ahead of Samford in its category were Rollins College, a private institution in Winter Park, Fla., first, and James Madison University, a public institution in Harrisonburg, Va., second.
Other categories and the number of schools in each area are National Universities (248), Liberal Arts Colleges (215) and Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor's (324). Schools are classified into peer groups based on the academic programs they offer.
In addition to being the highest ranked Alabama institution, Samford also ranks higher than any other historically Baptist college or university and is the highest ranked institution in the 11-member Ohio Valley Conference.
This is the second high national ranking for Samford in recent months. Earlier this year, Samford tied for seventh among the 323-member institutions in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Academic Performance Ratings, which measure the academic progress and graduation rates of student-athletes. In the APR, Samford also was the highest rated university in Alabama, among historically Baptist institutions and in the OVC.