Posted by William Nunnelley on 2006-08-18

Samford University ranks fourth in the South among master's degree schools in this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings of America's Best Colleges. This is the 17th consecutive year for the school to be ranked in the top 10 in its category. Samford ranks higher in its peer group than any Alabama university or college.

Alabama's largest private university, Samford appears in the category, Best Universities-Master's, which includes schools offering a full range of undergraduate and master's programs and some doctoral programs. The category is divided into four geographic regions and is the largest ranking category with more than 550 schools.

"Samford University's recognition by the editors of U.S. News is a tribute to our world class faculty and staff, outstanding students, and loyal alumni," said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. "As the gates of the campus open into the life of our state, citizens are understanding Samford's central role in building Alabama's future. We are grateful for the partnership."

The magazine bases its annual rankings on a school's academic reputation, freshman retention rate, graduation rate, class size, student-faculty ratio, percentage of full-time faculty, student selectivity and acceptance rate, and percentage of alumni giving.

Other categories in the U.S. News & World Report rankings are National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges and Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelor's. Schools are classified into peer groups based on the academic programs they offer.