For the third year in a row Nashville’s Belmont University achieved a Top 15 regional ranking in the “Best Universities—Masters” category in the annual U.S. News & World Report college guide, again landing the highest spot of any Tennessee university. Ranked for 2008 at No. 11, Belmont is joined in the South’s Top 15 by such institutions as Rollins College, Elon University, James Madison University, The Citadel and Appalachian State University.
Belmont is the highest-ranked Tennessee school in the Master’s category, which reports on 119 schools across the South, including 15 in Tennessee. The rankings in America’s Best Colleges 2008 are based on several quality indicators including student retention rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratios and scores on college entrance exams. With a 13/1 student-to-faculty ratio and a competitive 69 percent acceptance rate, Belmont is providing a high quality educational environment for the accomplished and selective students it draws.
“Belmont has earned a national reputation as a college of choice for students seeking a creative and challenging environment that enriches academic study with real world experience,” said University Provost Dr. Dan McAlexander. “Our outstanding faculty and staff have created a leading teaching university that emphasizes innovative programs and pedagogy, strong student-teacher relationships, and entrepreneurial thinking and action. As a result, a diverse body of increasingly qualified students—from across the country and around the globe—are choosing Belmont.”
Belmont’s high rankings arrive on the heels of remarkable growth and accomplishment at the university. Last year’s fall enrollment of 4,481 students marked an increase of just over 50 percent since 2000 when the school enrolled 2,976 students, making Belmont the largest Christian university in Tennessee and one of the fastest growing in the nation.
The university itself has seen unprecedented expansion as well with the 2006 openings of student residence Thrailkill Hall and the $22.5 Gordon E. Inman Center, a facility housing Belmont’s health sciences program including the recently announced School of Pharmacy which will be accepting students for the 2008-09 academic year. This fall will see the opening of Belmont’s new theater complex, which includes the 350-seat Bill and Carole Troutt proscenium theater, a black box theater and a scene shop.
Belmont has successfully grown both in quantity and quality without losing its solid reputation for learning and service. Rolling Stone and Time magazines have both hailed Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business as one of the best music business programs in the country, and Belmont is the only school in league history to win the Atlantic Sun All-Academic Trophy five times, an award given annually to the conference school with the greatest percentage of student-athletes who earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Additionally, both the Belmont Bruins men’s and women’s basketball teams won the 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championship and made appearances in the NCAA National Tournament, the second trip for the men and the first for the women.
The Master’s category in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings include institutions that provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs but a limited number of doctoral programs.