Comparing U.S. Universities’ Environmental Programs

When the U.S. News rankings came out, naturally I looked first at the rankings for environmental law.  But then I got curious about the rankings for other environmental fields. I had very little idea, for example, about how ecology departments were ranked.   Of course, we all know about the issues with U.S. News’s methodology.  There were certainly great environmental law programs that didn’t make their top-ten listing, and this is probably true in other fields.  But even though the results should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s interesting to see how the numbers came out for top-five programs.

  Env.Engineering  Env. Law  Env. Policy* Ecology  Earth Sciences  Env.

Econ.**

#1 Berkeley Vermont Indiana Berkeley Cal. Tech Berkeley
#2 Stanford Lewis & Clark Duke Harvard MIT Maryland
#3 Illinois Berkeley

Pace

Berkeley

Michigan

Davis Berkeley Davis
#4 Michigan Colorado Washington Chicago Stanford Colorado
#5 Georgia Tech Tulane Syracuse Stanford Columbia Oregon

Wisconsin

*This is from the ranking of public policy schools, so it doesn’t include interdisciplinary programs like Yale’s Forestry School or Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group.

**U.S. News does not rank environmental econ. as a specialty within economics.  The ranking for environmental economics is taken from NRC research ranking  ranges for departments, based on the “high” measure with the “low” measure being used to break ties.

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Reader Comments

4 Replies to “Comparing U.S. Universities’ Environmental Programs”

  1. Prof. Farber, giving USNWR’s rankings even this kind of attention furthers reliance on them and debases this blog. I hope this is the last post we see that references them.

  2. Prof. Farber, giving USNWR’s rankings even this kind of attention furthers reliance on them and debases this blog. I hope this is the last post we see that references them.

  3. I actually think this is quite useful, Dan, despite the well-understand patho-methodo-logical problems of US News’ ranking system. Primarily, it provides a basis for assessing interdisciplinary linkages between programs. Berkeley comes off as exceptionally strong, assuming (reasonably) that vital links exist between its various programs in environmental law, ecology, policy, and economics. Here at IU, we do not have such a well-reputed environmental law program, but if incoming students had a better understanding of the links between that program and various policy and science programs at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (not to mention the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis), the environmental law program would be seen in a better light.

    Dan Cole

  4. I actually think this is quite useful, Dan, despite the well-understand patho-methodo-logical problems of US News’ ranking system. Primarily, it provides a basis for assessing interdisciplinary linkages between programs. Berkeley comes off as exceptionally strong, assuming (reasonably) that vital links exist between its various programs in environmental law, ecology, policy, and economics. Here at IU, we do not have such a well-reputed environmental law program, but if incoming students had a better understanding of the links between that program and various policy and science programs at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (not to mention the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis), the environmental law program would be seen in a better light.

    Dan Cole

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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