The University of Houston is among the top 20 colleges and universities conferring degrees to Hispanics. That's according to Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, which ranks colleges and universities annually. The data comes from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and represent degrees conferred between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.
The UH main campus ranked 15th in the nation for conferring bachelor degrees to Hispanic students, 12th for conferring doctoral degrees, and among the top 50 in the nation for conferring master's degrees. The numbers represent a rise in rankings from last year.
Additionally, the magazine ranked programs in the "first professional" degrees category. The UH college of optometry ranked second in the number of degrees conferred on Hispanics, the College of Pharmacy is ranked seventh, while the College of Architecture is ranked third in the nation.
"We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts to attract and graduate the best and brightest students," said Patricia Oliver, dean of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. "Our goal is to prepare the next generation of design professionals. We are confident that these graduates will be an asset to the industry." The college houses the state's first program for industrial design.
The UH College of Optometry, one of only 19 optometry schools in the nation, offers graduate degrees, a Ph.D. and a combined doctor of optometry (O.D.)/Ph.D. It was ranked second in its category.
The UH College of Pharmacy was ranked seventh in the nation. It offers an undergraduate degree in the pharmaceutical sciences, graduate degrees in pharmacy administration, pharmacology and pharmaceutics, a professional pharmacy degree and combined professional/graduate degrees.
"We're very proud to be - for the fourth consecutive year - among the top 10 pharmacy institutions in the nation for graduating Hispanic doctor of pharmacy students," said Lamar Pritchard, dean of the college. "We have a longstanding commitment to inclusiveness and diversity, and these rankings provide further evidence of it."
This year marks a rise in rankings for the university. In 2009, the UH main campus was ranked no. 17 for conferring bachelor's degrees (up two positions in 2010) and no. 17 for conferring doctoral degrees (up five positions in 2010). The largest increase has been in the number of master's degrees conferred on Hispanic students. In 2009, UH was ranked no. 58. In 2010, UH is ranked no. 46.
The magazine cited a national downward trend for doctoral degrees among Hispanics, which it attributes to cost of higher education and the current economic climate.
"Greater drops in Ph.D.s among minorities might be expected for the next few years due to the multiyear nature of doctoral programs," according to the magazine. "Those discouraged from becoming doctoral candidates this year due to the recession may be ...a harbinger of future drops."
Other UH System campuses appear in the rankings. The University of Houston-Downtown is ranked no. 33 in the nation for conferring bachelor's degrees on Hispanics and no. 46 for conferring master's degrees. The University of Houston-Clear Lake is ranked no. 96 for conferring bachelor's degrees on Hispanics and no. 51 for conferring master's degrees.