UH programs top rankings

When you think of top undergraduate and graduate programs in the nation, flagship universities usually come to mind, but many UH programs rank among the best in the nation.

Named the second-most ethnically diverse school in the country by U.S. News and World Report, UH attracts students from across the world. During the previous academic year, 27 countries were represented in the 900 undergraduates involved in the Hotel and Restaurant Management program, which also ranks second in the country.

"There’s no one majority race at UH. Everyone seems to be even. It’s much to the city of Houston’s credit that we have (this) type of ethnic pool," third-year law student Jen Chaing said. "Aside from its visual diversity, UH is profound in background diversity – most colleges take traditional four year undergraduates. UH excels in attracting second career students as well."

Yet despite its diversity, many students feel the University’s academic achievements are highly underrated, especially in comparison to other Texas schools. UH Law Center Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee said the majority of law students this year who did not attend as undergraduates came from The University of Texas or Texas A’M.

"Houston has a fast-growing legal market and is such a unique place to be," Chaing said. "UH Law Center accepts nearly 400 students but still has a high bar pass rate – second in the state. Not only do I now understand the law, but also the practice of it. UT doesn’t (teach) that – I have yet to see a University that does it better than UH."

Others feel that UH’s recent acknowledgments will increase its credibility and enhance its chances of becoming a top-tier university.

"UH has been underappreciated for a long time. The business school is continuing to improve, incoming classes are setting high standards – it will only get better in the years to come," said Marilyn Marshall, business graduate student and Bauer MBA Society executive committee officer.

In 2007, Princeton Review ranked the Bauer College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship ‘ Innovation’s evening graduate program No. 1 in Houston and No. 2 in the nation, an accomplishment accounting senior Francisco Flores said is well deserved.

"The entrepreneurship program has developed in a huge way and given the Bauer College of Business a respectful name. The professors are great, and our advisors through the professional program in accounting go above and beyond for us," Flores said. "The Bauer College is a growing and respected school that I want to continue to be a part of (by attending grad school)."

The University’s Graduate Program of Creative Writing is one of its most selective schools. Of the 300 applicants received each fall, 20 or less are admitted.

"It sounds pretty low, but when it comes down to it, these programs have the most talented students possible – not only for the benefit of the students but for the reputation of the program," MFA poetry candidate Matthew Siegel said. "I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with some of my favorite writers – people I’d been reading for years before I entered the program."

The program not only attracts noted authors from across the country to serve as faculty, but students are also drawn from various backgrounds.

"People (in New York) who are interested in writing programs are aware of UH. When I told one of my teachers that I was accepted to the program, she responded as if I told her I’d been chosen to go on the space shuttle. She was really excited. Later she told me that I was her ‘success story,’" MFA fiction writing candidate Laurie Cedilnik said.

Additional top programs include the Graduate College for Social Work, which was ranked 36 among 186 programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, the Department of Psychology, included in the top 20, and the College of Optometry, which ranks 2nd in the country.

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