Participation in the U.S. News & World Report Rankings

In a letter to the Brown Community, Dean Mukesh Jain announced that The Warren Alpert Medical School will no longer submit data to U.S. News & World Report for its Best Medical Schools rankings.

Dear BioMed Community,

For many years, discussions have taken place at the Warren Alpert Medical School about whether the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Medical Schools rankings comport with our institutional values. We have deepened these conversations among the medical school’s leadership team in recent months, carefully considering whether we should continue to submit data for ranking purposes. We have consulted with current students, alumni, faculty and members of the Brown Corporation, and weighed the implications of continued participation in rankings that do not align with our measures of what constitutes quality preparation for medical students.

I am writing today to share that the Warren Alpert Medical School will no longer submit data to U.S. News & World Report for its Best Medical Schools rankings. This change will take effect in 2024, as the 2023 rankings have already been published. It is important to note that U.S. News & World Report will likely continue to rank schools that do not submit data, using publicly available information and surveys completed in previous years. We may continue to be ranked, but future rankings will not be based on new information we provide.

This decision, made with the support of the president and provost, comes as more than a dozen leading medical schools across the country also have decided to cease providing statistical data to the U.S. News & World Report medical school rankings. While the reasons for no longer participating vary from school to school, at the core of these decisions are the flawed methodology of the rankings and their negative consequences on medical education.

Central to Brown’s decision to end participation is our belief that such quantitative rankings do not adequately capture the quality of education nor the level of support provided to students at any medical school. The rankings also do not reflect the unique foci and missions of all medical schools, instead ranking them on factors that are not equally valued by all schools. At their worst, they perpetuate a culture of rewarding the most elite and historically privileged groups.

Among the specific driving factors in our decision to withdraw is the U.S. News ranking’s continued and significant emphasis on undergraduate GPAs and MCAT scores for each school’s enrolled medical students. While these are two factors among many that can be considered in evaluating applicants, they do not necessarily measure holistically the qualities that will make an outstanding Brown-trained physician. We weigh a much broader set of criteria in reviewing applicants to The Warren Alpert Medical School, recognizing that there are many measures of preparation for medical school and many paths toward a life and career in medicine.

There is a compelling argument put forth by many medical schools that relying on these standardized metrics may create a perverse incentive for schools to direct their financial aid dollars to the higher GPA, higher MCAT-scoring students who will boost their U.S. News ranking. While this has never been a factor at Brown, this can create bidding wars between medical schools and perpetuate inequities in who is ultimately admitted to the highest-ranked institutions. Participating in a system that may fuel such inequity flies in the face of Brown’s commitment to access and inclusion.

Additional factors in the U.S. News rankings demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of what truly impacts medical education. The rankings rely heavily on schools’ research funding, but they focus solely on overall dollars (from the National Institutes of Health exclusively) at the expense of research innovation and impact. In evaluating faculty, the rankings take an approach that focuses purely on full-time faculty — disadvantaging schools like Brown that value the learning students gain from the clinical faculty who are practicing physicians imparting real-world learning in our affiliated hospitals or other health care settings. In addition, there is no metric that measures how much student support a school provides, what amenities and systems students can access, or how they fare after graduation.

Perhaps most important, we were able to answer the question we had wrestled with for years — we definitively reached the conclusion that the approach upheld by the U.S. News rankings simply does not align with our institutional values. At our medical school, we value humanism and compassion, innovation and discovery. We value social responsibility and community engagement and service. We are dedicated to anti-racism and inclusiveness, diversity and equity. None of these can be adequately measured by a quantitative ranking scale.

We also value integrity and accountability, and believe that prospective students and their families need accurate and transparent information as one factor in determining which medical school is right for them. Data that we typically provide to U.S. News can be found on our Class Profile page on our Admissions and Financial Aid website and is updated annually.

Our mission at The Warren Alpert Medical School is to provide innovative medical education that prepares a diverse physician workforce to radically improve health and wellness for all—not to achieve ever-higher ranking status. This step affirms our commitment to that mission and to our efforts to make medicine more accountable to the communities we serve.


Mukesh K. Jain, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences