PROVIDENCE - Five Rhode Island schools climbed in the rankings included on the U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 Best Colleges list, published Tuesday.
U.S. News based this year’s annual rankings on analysis of nearly 1,800 schools’ missions and programs, including data on graduation rates, tuition, class sizes, acceptance rates, average debt and more. Different factors are weighted for importance.
In the national university rankings, Brown University inched up one place to No. 14 this year, while the University of Rhode Island fell to No. 152 from No. 147 last year.
Brown’s mission statement claims it is the only major research university in the country where undergraduates are the architects of their own course of study.
U.S. News defines a national university as one that offers a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and Ph.D. programs, and emphasizes faculty research.
Princeton, Harvard and Yale universities rounded out the top three in the national rankings.
Among regional universities in the North – those that offer a full range of undergraduate programs, some master’s but few doctoral programs – Providence College rose from No. 4 to No. 2.
U.S. News described Providence College as a school that offers nearly 50 majors and provides students with “a wide range of options when choosing what course of study to pursue” while completing a core curriculum.
Other R.I. schools that improved in the regional rankings include Bryant University, No. 14 (No. 15 last year); Roger Williams University, No. 37 (No. 55 last year); and Johnson & Wales University, No. 74 (No. 98 last year).
Schools that dropped in the regional rankings include Salve Regina University, No. 43 (No. 38 last year), and Rhode Island College, No. 126 (No. 115 last year).
In the regional colleges category, the New England Institute of Technology was unranked this year. The Rhode Island School of Design was also unranked in the arts schools category.
Nearby, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is ranked at No. 87 in the regional category, compared with No. 79 last year.
Stonehill College in Easton ranked No. 115 among national liberal arts colleges, behind last year’s ranking at No. 100. Wheaton College in Norton placed at No. 65 in the same category, up from No. 60 last year.
National liberal arts colleges focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education and award at least 50 percent of their degrees in the arts and sciences, according to U.S. News.