Johns Hopkins University has unsurprisingly maintained its status atop U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings of graduate programs for 2018.

The rankings released this morning put JHU’s biomedical engineering, nursing, medicine and education programs at, respectively, no.’s 1, 2, 3 and 6.

JHU’s historically renowned medical school took third place among research-focused medical schools for the fifth straight year, but notably shed its tie from last year with UC-San Francisco and the University of Pennsylvania. (Harvard and Stanford took first and second this year.) The geriatrics program was the best among all medical schools.

While the School of Nursing dropped one spot – from no. 1 to 2 – it took the top spots in specialities like administration, family care for nurse practitioners and adult gerontology, acute care.

“We are proud to be consistently ranked as one of the top three schools of nursing across the nation and world,” said Nursing School Dean Patricia Davidson in a statement via JHU Hub. “It speaks volumes to our leadership and innovation that remain at the core of our mission to serve local and global communities.

The specialized biomedical engineering program run by both Hopkins Medicine and the Whiting School of Engineering has held the top spot for more than a decade, though this year, the program is in good company in tying with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Georgia Tech, Stanford and UC-San Diego all tied for third.

In overall engineering, Whiting tied for 19th place.

For graduate education programs, a three-way tie for third pushed Hopkins down to sixth, though still ahead of programs at Columbia, Vanderbilt and Northwestern.

These rankings from U.S. News were a bit less arbitrary than the ones from last month that ranked Maryland no. 8 of all 50 states. Graduate program rankings home in on program-specific factors, such as student selectivity, MCAT, GRE or other standardized test scores and faculty resources. Granted, they also rely heavily upon peer perception from academics, meaning the rankings are partially contingent upon how a select feel about this sort of thing.

Questions of merit aside, the rankings offer another recruiting tool for top colleges seeking to get the best of the best. Hopkins rarely or never slips when it comes to its specialties, and this year was no exception.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...

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