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.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.