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Duke No. 8 in US News & World Report rankings once again

For the second year in a row, Duke is No. 8 in the annual college rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The ranking places Duke one spot behind seventh-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one spot ahead of ninth-ranked University of Pennsylvania. Princeton University was ranked as the top school for the third year in a row. Harvard University and Yale University finished second and third, with three schools—Columbia University, Stanford University and the University of Chicago—tied for fourth.

The top 10 schools in the rankings remained unchanged from last year with one exception—Johns Hopkins University moved from No. 12 into a tie for No. 10 with the California Institute of Technology.

"The rankings are a snapshot of where you stand in time," said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. "They're imperfect, but nonetheless a useful comparison among institutions. Certainly if there is going to be a top 10 we want to be in it."

This year, U.S. News & World Report added a ranking of the “Most Innovative Schools” based on facilities, curriculum and technology. Duke ranked No. 7 in this category, which was led by Arizona State University.

Along with the "Most Innovative Schools" ranking, Schoenfeld noted that the University finished near the top in rankings of affordability and access and quality of instruction.

The U.S. News & World Report lists are among the most popular college rankings each year. Rankings are based on a combination of 16 factors that are assigned different weights. The most heavily weighted factors are reputation among academic leaders, student retention and faculty resources.

No changes were made to the ranking indicators used in the 2016 edition, though the methodology to assess certain indicators was modified.

In May, the School of Law was tied for eighth, the School of Nursing was tied for sixth and the School of Medicine was tied for eighth among their respective peers.

Duke was ranked third and fourth in other sets of rankings that came out recently. College Factual placed Duke third behind Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania for the second year in a row. The College Factual rankings rely on a set of statistics such as number of full-time teachers and freshman retention rates rather than industry opinions.

Parchment, which ranks schools based on student enrollment decisions, placed the University fourth behind Stanford, MIT and Harvey Mudd College.

Duke has been ranked eighth by U.S. News & World Report in three of the past four years. It rose to seventh in 2013, and it has not fallen out of the top 10 since 1989.

"The fact that Duke has been ranked among the top 10 universities in the country for about two decades now is a pretty strong indicator of the quality of the university," Schoenfeld said.

This story was updated Wednesday to include comments by Michael Schoenfeld.

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