Univ. receives top honors from U.S. News

Alex Olden

For the fifteenth consecutive year, Villanova has been ranked first among Universities offering degrees up to a master’s level in the northern region by U.S. News and World Report.

Receiving an overall score of 100, the University also yielded a 94 percent average freshman retention rate and a 13:1 student/faculty ratio in 2003.

The University was also ranked sixth overall in the region for “best value,” a category which “relates a school’s academic quality … to the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of financial aid,” according to U.S. News.

Dr. Gerald Long, graduate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said one of the University’s strengths is that many of its master’s programs, such as Psychology, “have an excellent track record of getting their graduates into top-notch doctoral programs,” while others, such as education, biology and chemistry “have developed good word-of-mouth reputation among local professionals which fosters enrollment.” Dr. Long added that other programs, like theatre, have won awards.

“There is a growing nationwide appreciation of the fact that an increasing number of individuals will be seeking graduate education during their lifetime,” Long said. 90 percent of University freshmen plan to continue their education beyond the bachelor’s degree level, which is above the national rate. The University is promoting this trend with seven bachelor-master’s programs in Arts and Sciences that allow students to complete both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in an accelerated five-year period.