The Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas found itself among the top 25 percent of the nation’s business schools in rankings published this week by U.S. News & World Report.

This was the first opportunity for the Opus College of Business to be ranked by the magazine because U.S. News only considers schools that hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Following a five-year process, the Opus College of Business in early 2011 became the first private college or university in Minnesota to receive AACSB accreditation.

In its first year of eligibility, the Opus College of Business was ranked 104th out of 446 AACSB-accredited schools of business in the United States.

“We always believed we had an outstanding business school but there wasn’t a good way to demonstrate that,” commented Dr. Christopher Puto, dean. “To move from being unranked to the top 25 percent is a wonderful affirmation. This initial ranking recognizes the efforts of our faculty, staff, students and benefactors. I could not be more grateful or proud of what they have accomplished.”

There are six AACSB-accredited colleges and universities in Minnesota and 22 in the five-state area. In its “Best Business Schools” list, U.S. News and World Report ranked only four of those 22 higher than St. Thomas: the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

In a separate ranking of 326 accredited part-time graduate business programs, U.S. News and World Report listed St. Thomas at No. 200.

In the magazine’s ranking of U.S. law schools, St. Thomas moved from No. 135 last year to No. 119 this year, where it is tied with seven other schools. The University of Minnesota moved up one spot to No. 19 this year. William Mitchell College of Law, which was tied with St. Thomas last year, moved up to No. 127. Hamline University is listed alphabetically among 53 schools in the second tier of the rankings.

The St. Catherine University-University of St. Thomas School of Social Work moved up one spot in the magazine’s list of top social work programs. It was ranked 52 out of 2oo programs nationally that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The magazine does not conduct new surveys and publish new rankings every year. In the last ranking, two years ago, the St. Thomas-St. Catherine program placed 53rd out of 177 schools.

St. Catherine and St. Thomas share the No. 52 social work rank with Catholic University of America, Georgia State University, St. Louis University, University of Alabama, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Yeshiva University.

St. Thomas’ School of Education was not listed in the top 174 nationally, but was listed alphabetically among 100 schools in the second tier.

The St. Thomas School of Engineering is not listed in the national rankings because it does not offer doctoral programs. Last fall, U.S. News rated St. Thomas No. 51 among 193 engineering schools that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but not doctorates.