University of Idaho Graduate Programs Shine in National Ranking

Wednesday, October 20 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – Several graduate programs at the University of Idaho, including geography, biology, fish and wildlife, animal science, forest resources and mechanical engineering earned good marks in the recently released National Research Council ranking of graduate programs.

The assessment of U.S. doctoral programs included data on more than 5,000 programs in 62 fields at 212 universities nationwide. The survey included the top research institutions in the country and the University of Idaho was the only one assessed in Idaho.

The 2010 survey, with data gathered five years ago, assessed tangible productivity indicators, including student time to graduation, the number of research publications, the number of research grants, and the number of times a faculty member’s publications are cited by other scientific research studies.

The above University of Idaho programs all ranked in the top 50 percent of graduate programs among the institutions evaluated.

Other University of Idaho graduate programs, including geology, increased their rankings since NRC produced the last program survey in 1995. The NRC began collecting data in 1984.

“The recently released rankings celebrate the strengths within our graduate programs and show quality, particularly in the breadth of program offerings,” said Scott Wood, dean of the College of Science. “The survey demonstrates that the University of Idaho has nationally competitive programs at all scales.”

Wood said that the geography program competes successfully in the areas of climate change, geographic information systems and regional development. The biological sciences program competes successfully with institutions that have medical schools. Idaho’s strengths are in evolutionary biology, reproductive biology and neuroscience.

Nilsa Bosque-Pérez, interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies, finds affirmation from the survey.

“The University of Idaho continues to demonstrate excellence in its graduate programs,” she said. “We have accomplished even more over the past five years to further strengthen our programs, and we’ve done that within the context of the global economic reset. We offer disciplinary depth combined with interdisciplinary breadth to better prepare students to tackle the complex challenges our society faces. We know that the experience and professional development opportunities we provide to students benefit from the exceptional quality of our dedicated faculty.”

Don Blackketter, dean of the University of Idaho College of Engineering, recognized that the university’s graduate programs not only provide quality learning for students, but also benefit the state. “The engineering programs at the University of Idaho provide great benefit to the state, a foundation for economic growth in technical areas, and opportunities for our students to compete and excel both nationally and internationally."

“Animal science, plant science and graduate programs throughout the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences focus on fundamental and applied research that benefits the state and its people,” said John Hammel, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Graduate programs are fundamental to our success and meeting our land-grant mission. Our programs’ legacy is our graduates who become leaders in Idaho agriculture, the state’s number one industry.”

Kurt Pregitzer, dean of the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources, noted the university’s distinct graduate programs. "The interdisciplinary nature of cross-cutting programs provides graduate students with the kind of training they need in today’s market place. Our faculty and graduate students are immersed in research and outreach that sends a global message that we are poised to collaboratively engage with other scientists, managers and policy makers to sustainably manage and protect the earth’s natural resources."

The National Research Council functions under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, which are part of a private, nonprofit institution that provides science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The four organizations are collectively referred to as the National Academies.
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About the University of Idaho

Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification for high research activity. The student population of 12,302 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit