UCSB Engineering

April 16, 2010

Materials ranked 4th, Chemical Engineering 9th, Electrical & Computer Engineering 17th in nation.

College of Engineering ranked 11th among public universities and 19th overall.

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) ––Two UCSB College of Engineering departments have been ranked in the nation’s top 10, Materials at 4th and Chemical Engineering at 9th, in the US News & World Report annual ranking of leading graduate and professional programs at American universities. Both high rankings were unchanged from last year. A third department in the college, Electrical and Computer Engineering, was ranked well within the top twenty at 17th, up three places from last year. The College of Engineering was ranked eleventh in the nation among public university engineering schools and 19th overall, tied with Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Larry Coldren, acting dean of UCSB's College of Engineering, said: "It’s always gratifying to see the quality of our programs recognized in this way, but it’s also exceptional and extraordinary to be ranked so high when one considers the relatively small size of our graduate program. We have 145 faculty members in the five departments in our college, while in just one department at MIT, electrical engineering, they have 170 faculty members."

Coldren noted that UCSB's engineering program always stands out in per capita rankings, when distinctions and achievements such as publications and citations, grant funds and fellowships, and memberships in the National Academy of Engineering are viewed in relation to the total faculty size. "The ranking in U.S. News is based in part on total numbers, such as how many Ph.D.s are produced. For us to be ranked right up with the large and highly-endowed universities is a very strong statement," he said.

UCSB’s physics graduate program was also among the top 10 in the nation, at 10th, with several areas of specialization within physics ranked even higher: condensed matter 3rd, quantum 5th, elementary particles/field/string theory 8th, and cosmology/relativity/gravity 9th. (UCSB is also home to the world-renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.)

"It is gratifying to see that the rankings in physics and several of its subfields, and in materials, chemical engineering, and electrical and computer engineering, reflect our longstanding success in these areas," commented Pierre Wiltzius, Dean of Science in the College of Letters and Science.

Wiltzius added that what the U.S. News rankings do not show is UCSB's strength in newer and more interdisciplinary areas such as marine science, environmental studies, and bioengineering. "Other recent rankings have placed UCSB in the top 10 worldwide for the overall study of climate change, and our geography department is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country.,"

Earth sciences was ranked 23rd in the country, making a total of five UCSB graduate programs ranked among the top 25 in their disciplines; ten ranked in the top 50. The additional UCSB programs that received national rankings from U.S. News were mechanical engineering, 26th (tie);  chemistry, 33rd; computer science, 35th; mathematics, 46th; biological sciences, 46th; statistics, 55th; and Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, 79th.

The U.S. News rankings are based on a weighted average of various measures, some specific to the particular program. The rankings generally include a quality assessment by peers, with measures of faculty quality and resources, student selectivity, research activity, and several other factors.

Highlights of the graduate school rankings are included in the current issue of U.S. News & World Report, in the 2010 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools," and on the magazine's Web site at grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools U.S. News generally does not compile rankings in all fields every year—this year the magazine refreshed its rankings of Ph.D. programs in various engineering and scientific fields, which are updated every four years.




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Tony Rairden
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