UNC School of Medicine’s Primary Care program came in the top spot in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” rankings.

The program was ranked No. 2 in last year’s rankings.

Vice Dean for Education for the UNC School of Medicine Dr. Julie Byerly called the achievement a point of pride for the university.

“We’ve been working really hard to improve our programs in primary care to make sure that we’ve genuinely earned that number one ranking,” said Byerly, “and I believe we have.”

The program also has the lowest in-state tuition out of all the universities ranked in the top 10, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Byerly says UNC’s emphasis on providing a quality public education sets it apart from other universities on the list.

“At UNC we have a very broad mission where we aspire to be the nations leading public school of medicine, with real emphasis on the word ‘public,’” said Bylerly. “We’re by the public, for the public, and our mission is to serve the public.”

Medical students at UNC graduate with nearly $70,000 less debt than the national average.

The ranking came just a few days after “Match Day,” a day in which medical students from across the country find out where they will complete their residency training.

Bylerly says a large number of these graduating students go on to continue their education in state.

“We’re proud that about a third of our graduates will train in North Carolina, and we know from past experience that even those who don’t train [here], many of them will come back to serve in North Carolina,” said Byerly.

The School of Medicine’s next focus is their office of rural initiatives, which seeks to bring in students from rural communities.