Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Undergraduate Biology Rankings

traveltheworldtraveltheworld Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited March 2010 in College Search & Selection
I'm having a hard time finding the undergraduate biology program rankings on the internet... If anyone can help me that would be fantastic.

Note: This is not really for myself, it's more for my parents. XP I know it's completely stupid to look only at rankings when considering colleges, but my parents like to see everything backed by statistics. (they're trying to convince me to choose UCLA over UCSD for biochemistry, but are having second thoughts because they heard UCSD has a strong biology program and have been bugging me to try and find the rankings)

Thanks. XP
Post edited by traveltheworld on

Replies to: Undergraduate Biology Rankings

  • DunninLADunninLA Registered User Posts: 4,271 Senior Member
    I don't know where undergrad rankings are found, but the Ph.D. rankings are here, through the top 20:

    NRC Rankings in Biochem/Molec Biol

    1 Cal San Francisco 4.84
    2 Stanford 4.83
    3 MIT 4.83
    4 Cal Berkeley 4.81
    5 Harvard 4.80
    6 Yale 4.59
    7 Cal Tech 4.57
    8 Wisconsin 4.55
    9 Cal San Diego 4.53
    10 Johns Hopkins 4.38
    11 Columbia 4.38
    12 Colorado 4.26
    13 Washington (St. Louis) 4.22
    14 UCLA 4.20
    15 Duke 4.18
    16 Penn 4.11
    17 Brandeis 4.06
    18 Washington 4.05
    19 Baylor College of Medicine 4.04
    20 Texas Southwestern Med Ctr 4.00

    here is the link: http://www.stat.tamu.edu/~jnewton/nrc_rankings/nrc41indiv.html
  • collegehelpcollegehelp Registered User Posts: 6,523 Senior Member
    undergrad ranking

    Biology rankings from Gourman Report
    UC San Diego
    UC Berkeley
    U Colorado
    U Washington
    U Chicago
    Wash U St Louis
    U Michigan
    U Penn
    Indiana U
    UNC Chapel Hill
    U Utah
    Johns Hopkins
    UC Irvine
    Notre Dame
    UC Santa Barbara
    U Illinois Urbana Champaign
    U Pittsburgh
    U Oregon
    SUNY Stony Brook
    U Rochester
    U Minnesota
    SUNY Buffalo
    U Texas Austin
    Florida State
    Michigan State
    U Connecticut
    UC Riverside
    Iowa State
    SUNY Albany
    Case Western
    Boston U
    Ohio State
    U Iowa
    Penn State
    U Kansas
    Rutgers New Brunswick
    US Air Force Academy
    U Missouri Columbia
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    The Gourman report is over 10 years old I think and completely worthless anyway.

    OP - tell your parents that trying to rank undergraduate programs in anything is completely and totally silly. Tell them to PM me if they don't agree. I can't even come close to listing all the reasons this is true, but here are a few (FYI, I have gone undergrad and grad in chemistry at three very different environments and have taught as well. I know what I am talking about here):

    It is a completely non-quantifiable thing.
    You only take about 25% of your courses in that major.
    More than half of all undergraduates change majors and therefore even if there were any value in ranking departments (and there is not, I say again for emphasis) you would then have gone to a school based on the wrong department.

    What parameters could possibly go into the ranking of an undergraduate department? The research and reputation of the professors? That is for grad school. Undergrads often never get involved at that level, and even if they do it is on a very limited basis compared to their entire 4 years at a school. The quality of the labs? We are talking basic undergrad here, again. It rarely makes that much difference.

    Now some of these things can be nice to have. New labs are great. Great professors are great too, but sometimes they can't teach worth a damn. Within the top 100 schools as ranked by USNWR overall, the quality of the courses will be very similar. Biology and chemistry don't change based on where they are taught. Pick a school based on affordability, size, location, fit to you academically and otherwise, etc. If you are happy at the school, everything else will fall into place no problem.

    Man I just hate it when parents do this. It is so totally misguided.
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,160 Senior Member
    Additionally, what kind of undergraduate biology studies are we talking about?

    etc, etc...
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 24,144 Super Moderator
    Undergrad prep for a bio PhD is one available metric. First posted by intereseteddad:

    Percent of PhDs per grad
    Academic field: Bio and Health Sciences

    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees:
    ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database

    Number of Undergraduates:
    ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database

    Note: Does not include colleges with less than 1000 graduates over the ten year period

    1 California Institute of Technology 5.4%
    2 Reed College 4.8%
    3 Swarthmore College 4.4%
    4 University of Chicago 3.3%
    5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 3.1%
    6 University of California-San Francisco 3.1%
    7 Harvard University 3.0%
    8 Kalamazoo College 3.0%
    9 Harvey Mudd College 2.9%
    10 Earlham College 2.8%
    11 Johns Hopkins University 2.7%
    12 Princeton University 2.6%
    13 Haverford College 2.6%
    14 Mount Holyoke College 2.6%
    15 Yale University 2.5%
    16 Rice University 2.5%
    17 Lawrence University 2.5%
    18 Carleton College 2.5%
    19 Stanford University 2.5%
    20 Oberlin College 2.4%
    21 Cornell University, All Campuses 2.4%
    22 Grinnell College 2.3%
    23 Hendrix College 2.3%
    24 Bryn Mawr College 2.1%
    25 Bowdoin College 2.1%
    26 Wellesley College 2.1%
    27 Amherst College 2.1%
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    Very interesting list, vossron. Of course, it could also be interpreted as the tendency for students at these schools to go on to graduate school regardless of the quality of the undergrad program, by which I mean all programs could be equal at these and other schools and these kids just tend to have more of a propensity to go on to PhD level degrees anyway. After all, there are a LOT of LAC's on here, and no one would argue, I don't think, that the research at these schools is anywhere near the level of research that goes on at UCLA or UCSD, nor are their faculty as reknowned in that regard. Obviously they are great schools that prepare one for grad school, but possibly no more so than UCLA or UCSD. I would submit it shows much more that certain schools tend to attract students with certain predispositions.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 24,144 Super Moderator
    Well, the underlying challenge is to be admitted to a PhD program. ;)

    Better comparisons for UCLA and UCSD might be Caltech, UChicago, MIT, UCSF, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Yale, Rice, Stanford and Cornell.

    LACs are in a space of their own, but we can say that attending an LAC for bio grad school prep does not put the student at a disadvantage! I do agree that LACs attract many academically oriented kids with predispositions for advanced degrees; there is a lot of self-selection. UCLA and UCSD are indeed top PhD destinations, for exactly the reasons you give.
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 9,467 Super Moderator
    Additionally, what kind of undergraduate biology studies are we talking about?

    etc, etc...
    Ditto. Johns Hopkins and Caltech are superb for molecular biology, but they quite frankly suck for organismal. Conversely, Michigan State and Oklahoma have the best organismal programs but are not at the cutting edge of biotechnology.

    The number of colleges strong at both the micro and macro levels is quite small.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    That's pretty interesting warbler. Good stuff.
  • traveltheworldtraveltheworld Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I was admitted under the major Biochemistry and Cell Biology for UC San diego, and Biochemistry for UCLA.

    Thanks for all the insight!!

    :'( so hard to decide! I've visited both campuses of course, and I love both of them... i've always wanted to go to ucla because its in los angeles, but ucsd has a medical school and more opportunities for biology related research, and tons of internship opportunities because the surrounding areas are all biotech...

    it does seem that ucla isnt as strong in biochemistry than ucsd though... is that wrong? XP
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 9,467 Super Moderator
    I've always wanted to go to ucla because its in los angeles, but ucsd has a medical school and more opportunities for biology related research

    Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

    There is absolutely no difference between the programs at the undergraduate level, and most likely no perceptible differences exist at the graduate level either. Pick the one you like better, which seems to be UCLA.
  • fallenchemistfallenchemist Honorary Super Mod Posts: 25,129 Inactive
    Totally agree with warblers. To say that UCLA might not be as strong in biochem as UCSD is to totally misunderstand the undergraduate experience. That kind of thinking is totally appropriate for grad school where essentially 100% of your time is on biochemistry. As an undergrad you will only take about 25% of your courses in your major area, and for biochem that means freshman chem, organic chem and Pchem, different biology courses, and you might not get to a true biochem course until your junior year. This is all besides your english, math, history, etc, courses. The point is that as an undergrad, given all that , what does "not being as strong" in biochem even mean? Both schools have tons of opportunities for research at the undergrad level, and plenty of courses in the subject to prepare any undergrad for grad school.
  • crUNChystONEcrUNChystONE Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    I am a 30 year old transfer student in NC with a 4.0 GPA and a 1220 SAT but I can't into any of these top 100 schools. I want to get degrees in biology and microbiology and pursue a career in either medicine or pharmacy; if I got to a school like an Appalachian State, Mars Hill, Campbell University, Montana State, or The University of Montana instead of a UNC or Duke, will that adversely affect my ability to get into a more prestigious graduate program at an Ivy or UNC, even if I maintain my GPA and score well on tests?
  • doonerakdoonerak Registered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    For medical school it will have some effect; for pharmacy school it will have less effect; I'm not qualified to answer for grad school. Most important for med school or pharmacy school is to do well whereever you are. If you do well at a less well known school and have good MCAT scores, you will still be in the running for many medical schools.
  • doonerakdoonerak Registered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    Just to add to my previous post, as a 30 year old transfer student, you've probably got a very interesting story. One of my faculty colleges with an "interesting story" went to Harvard Med School- shes smart but not brilliant. Being interesting and mature matters.
This discussion has been closed.