The University of Virginia, Georgetown and George Washington University all have Top 20 law schools, according to the 2011 U.S. News rankings, which came out several days ago but escaped my attention until now.

I’m told professional school rankings are followed at least as closely as overall university rankings, both because they represent smaller and more sharply competitive fields and also because grad-school rankings are deemed more valid, in some ways, than rankings of entire universities, if only because grad schools are more easily compared.

U-Va. ranks ninth, Georgetown 14th and GWU 20th. Yale, Harvard and Stanford top the list. For more rankings, read on.

More law school rankings: College of William and Mary (27th), Washington & Lee University (30th), George Mason (40th), University of Maryland (42nd) and American University (50th).

Johns Hopkins Universities places third this year in the ranking of medical schools for research (there is a separate ranking for delivery of primary care), after Harvard and Penn. The next-best local entry is U-Va., at 22nd. U-Md. ranks 38th, Georgetown 45th.

U.S. News names U-Va. as the best local business school (13th), followed by Georgetown (25th) and U-Md. (45th). Stanford is said to have the best.

The University of Maryland is credited with the region’s best engineering school (22nd), followed by Virginia Tech (24th), Johns Hopkins (26th) and U-Va. (39th). The top spot goes to MIT.

Among local education schools, Hopkins is ranked 18th this year, U-Va. 22nd and U-Md. 23rd. Virginia Commonwealth ranks 29th, GWU 35th, William and Mary 41st. Vanderbilt, incidentally, is credited with having the best ed school in the nation. Columbia’s Teachers College ranks fifth.

Rather than plod through comparisons to last year’s rankings, let me instead refer you to last year’s post.

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