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Arnold School of Public Health


Arnold School helps UofSC rank No. 1 nationally and No. 3 globally among sports science schools and departments

December 19, 2016

The 2016 Shanghai Global Ranking of Sports Science Schools and Departments has rated the University of South Carolina as No. 1 in the United States and No. 3 in the world—thanks largely to the success of the Department of Exercise Science and its Athletic Training program. USC’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sports Management and the Department of Physical Education contributed to the ranking as well.

“Our Department of Exercise Science has grown rapidly in student enrollment, nationally recognized faculty, scholarship and grantsmanship,” says Dean Thomas Chandler. “Their success is due to high-quality, engaged students who are supported by strong mentors, researchers, staff, leadership and program directors. As a result, this department has become a major player in the Arnold School, the University, and the field of sports science.” 

Already ranked No. 1 in the nation by the National Academy of Kinesiology (Ph.D. in Exercise Science), this latest ranking provides yet additional confirmation of the exercise science department’s growing recognition as one of the top in the nation and the world. The department offers three other exercise science degree programs, with the undergraduate pre-professional degree program and the Master of Public Health in Physical Activity and Public Health among the first of their kind in the country. The department is also home to a highly competitive Doctor of Physical Therapy program. More recently, the University’s specialized Athletic Training program joined the exercise science department.

The rankings, which placed a significant emphasis on research productivity, reflect the exercise science department’s growing presence and leadership with regard to scholarship. The department’s research focus is broadly defined by three main areas: health aspects of physical activity, applied physiology, and rehabilitation science. 

“This ranking places significant emphasis on the number and quality of research publications being produced, which is in line with our department’s goal to generate impactful research that moves our understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health forward,” says Chair James Carson. “Furthermore, many of our faculty have international reputations in their research areas, and this ranking further promotes the global reach and importance of our department’s work.”

ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, which is the official publisher of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, has been ranking academic subjects since 2009. It is regarded as one of the three most influential rankings of international universities and has been cited by publications, such as Inside Higher Ed.

However, this is the first time that the group has ranked sport science schools and departments. They examined 400 sport-related units from 361 universities worldwide that actively engage in research, ranking the top 300 universities based on publications, citations, citations per publications, top 25 percent journal publications, and internationally collaborated publications. With a time window of five years, the bibliometric data is collected from Web of Science database.