Physician assistant program moves into the top 40
For the third year in a row, the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis ranks among the top 25 best master’s-degree nursing programs, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 Best Graduate Schools.
The publication ranks the school’s master’s-degree programs in nursing as 23rd for the third year, tied with three other schools. The rankings include the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing and the master’s degree family nurse practitioner (F.N.P.) program.
For the first time, the Master of Health Services — Physician Assistant Studies Degree Program (P.A.) moves up to 40th in the nation, tied with five other programs. The program came in at No. 74 the last time P.A. programs were ranked in 2019.
I believe that quality and consistency illustrate the value of graduate education. These external rankings demonstrate how our nursing programs have proven to provide the excellent education required to develop a highly skilled and critical-thinking workforce of the future.
“I believe that quality and consistency illustrate the value of graduate education. These external rankings demonstrate how our nursing programs have proven to provide the excellent education required to develop a highly skilled and critical-thinking workforce of the future,” said Dean Stephen J. Cavanagh. “In addition, I’m pleased to see that our P.A. program, innovative in its design and the fact that it lives within a School of Nursing, is recognized by our peers as a leader. This is a testament to our interdisciplinary faculty and their dedication to student success.”
Collaborative environment promotes student inclusion
Every year, U.S. News & World Report conducts rankings that aid potential students in discovering programs that align with their academic and professional goals. The rankings are being released at a time when a growing number of academic institutions, including UC Davis, are voicing concerns about the methodology used in grading the schools. Every year, U.S. News & World Report conducts rankings that aid potential students in discovering programs that align with their academic and professional goals, but academic administrators say that rankings alone don’t indicate the success of a program. Leaders of University of California Schools for Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health are committed to working with U.S. News “to identify a more accurate way to assess the quality and scope of education offered by institutions.”
The UC Davis School of Medicine’s medical education programs rank in the top 10 for all schools: family medicine as fifth (up from seventh last year) and primary care as sixth (up from eighth last year). The publication also ranked psychiatry as the 15th best program nationwide.
Cavanagh said rankings alone do not indicate the success of a program. He pointed to the impact and contributions of School of Nursing graduates who serve across California and beyond in a variety of settings from hospitals to homes and specialty to primary care. In addition, the school focuses on recruiting diverse students and creating an inclusive learning environment where all students can achieve their dreams of becoming change agents in health care.
The UC Davis P.A. program prepares future providers in a collaborative environment, rather than in the absence of other health professions. The program also works to address the lack of primary-care providers in rural and underserved areas by creating P.A.s who enhance the existing workforce.
For 10 years, P.A.s have learned alongside N.P.s However, this June, the final class of F.N.P.s will graduate. Last year, the school welcomed its first class in a new Doctor of Nursing Practice — Family Nurse Practitioner (D.N.P.-F.N.P.) Degree Program. The post-baccalaureate, three-year hybrid program combines distance-based education with on-campus immersions to prepare advanced practice providers who engage in patient- and family-centered, evidence-based primary care. Another advanced practice program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) — Nurse Anesthesia Degree Program, is currently under development.
All of the current graduate degrees offered at the School of Nursing emphasize problem solving, independent thinking and individual accountability. They aim to empower students to fulfill their learning needs and prepare them as leaders in health care.
More about the School of Nursing’s top-ranked programs
The Master's Entry Program in Nursing prepares new nurses as leaders in quality and safety, advocates for diverse patient populations and agents of change for healthier communities. The program offers the quickest route to registered nursing licensure for adults who already completed an undergraduate degree in another discipline and completed prerequisite courses to transition into the nursing profession.
The F.N.P. program prepares registered nurses, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of preventive and acute health care services to individuals of all ages. This program concludes this year because a new D.N.P.-F.N.P. program was launched in 2022.
The P.A. program educates health care professionals to deliver care as leaders and members of interprofessional health care teams as well as to improve the availability of culturally relevant primary health care to underserved populations throughout California. The curriculum embraces integrative case-based learning, technology and systems-wide perspectives.
For the Best Nursing Schools rankings, U.S. News surveyed the 648 nursing schools with master's-degree or doctoral programs accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Of those who participated, 190 master’s programs provided enough data to be included in the rankings.
The master’s-degree rankings are based on a weighted average of 15 indicators, including peer assessment, health care professionals’ assessment, faculty achievements and number of faculty in clinical practice, student-faculty ratio and research activity.
As for the P.A. rankings, a school's score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions. 210 schools made the final list with scores ranging from 1.9 to 4.4.
The complete Best Graduate Schools rankings are available on the U.S. News & World Report website.
To learn more, visit the School of Nursing website.