The critical theory program in UCI's School of Humanities has been home to some of the leading scholars in the field, such as Murray Krieger, J. Hillis Miller and Jacques Derrida. Here, students enter the Humanities Gateway building. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., March 14, 2017 — The University of California, Irvine’s critical theory program is No. 1 in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual graduate school rankings, and 11 other fields of advanced study at UCI are rated in the top 25 among public universities.

The campus’s critical theory program has been home to some of the leading scholars in the field, such as Murray Krieger, J. Hillis Miller and Jacques Derrida. It’s a multidisciplinary subject in which theory brings literary and cultural texts into contact with today’s pressing issues – from the environment to equality and much more. Its faculty come from the comparative literature, East Asian languages & literatures, English, film & media studies, anthropology, political science, studio art and drama departments, among others. UCI shares the U.S. News top ranking with the University of Chicago.

“Literary criticism and theory have been at the heart of the School of Humanities since UCI’s inception,” said James Steintrager, director of the campus program. “This ranking recognizes both our reputation and the reality of our longstanding, dynamic engagement with critical thought and thinkers. It’s an honor to our faculty affiliates in UCI critical theory, to our distinguished professors and guest lecturers, and to the graduate and undergraduate students who have made critical theory a living and lively tradition here.”

UCI’s graduate program in English is rated sixth among public universities and 17th overall.

In just its third year of eligibility, UCI’s law school ranks 28th overall and in the top10 among public universities. It also scored in the top 14 in the U.S. News diversity index, No. 15 for clinical training and No. 17 for intellectual property law and tied for third with Yale University for best student/faculty ratio.

Other top-25 UCI schools and programs include:

  • School of Education, 15th among publics, 25th overall
  • The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, 21st among publics, 37th overall
  • School of Medicine research, 21st among publics, 48th overall
  • The Paul Merage School of Business, 22nd among publics, 44th overall
  • Sociology, 12th among publics, 23rd overall
  • History, 18th among publics, 34th overall
  • Psychology, 19th among publics, 36th overall
  • Political science, 24th among publics, 45th overall
  • Economics, 24th among publics, 47th overall

“UCI has quickly grown to become a world-class research university,” said Frances Leslie, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate Division. “Our campus offers challenging and intellectually rich curricula designed to help our students achieve academic and professional fulfillment. The combined efforts of our accomplished faculty, dedicated administrators and staff allow us to remain at the forefront of academic excellence.”

U.S. News did not evaluate arts and sciences programs this year.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

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