The UCSB College of Engineering moved up a spot in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, grabbing the 18 slot in the magazine’s review of top-tier graduate engineering programs.

Out of 1,500 graduate programs across the nation, UCSB’s College of Engineering jumped up one spot from 19th to a three-way tie for 18th place with Harvard and Princeton. Among public graduate engineering schools, UCSB ranks 12th in the nation.

College of Engineering
Dean Matthew Tirrell said the success of the college may be due to its renewed effort to create and maintain several nationally recognized academic research institutes, like the Institute for Energy Efficiency, the Institute for Collaborative Technologies, the Materials Research Laboratory and the California NanoSystems Institute.

According to Tony Rairden, communications manager of the College of Engineering, the rankings are based on data ranging from peer assessment scores, recruiter assessment scores, student selectivity, faculty resources, number of Ph.D.s granted, research activity, to various other factors.

Rairden said the College of Engineering has seen improvements in its peer assessment scores, student selectivity, and strong research activity. He also credits more students applying to the graduate program for its increase in selectivity.

All in all, Tirrell said, he was pleased with the report’s findings.

“It’s an opinion poll and there’s been an increase in their evaluation of us,” Tirrell said. “[We’ve] improved our image in the eyes of our colleagues.”

Engineering Assistant Dean Terri Coleman said she credits the college’s continued improvement to Tirrell’s decade-long commitment to the program.

“Our dean has been with the college for the past 10 years, and it has jumped from 25th to 19th, and it shows his impact,” Coleman said. “There were schools that were ahead of us [10 years ago] and now they’re not, such as Princeton, Columbia, Northwestern, Harvard, Ohio State, Penn State, University of Minnesota, and Virginia Tech.”

While the college as a whole holds 18th place in the U.S. News and World Report, independent parts of the College of Engineering also hold high honors. The Chemical Engineering Dept. remains at a steady ninth place, while the Materials Dept. moved up from fifth to fourth. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. is tied for the 20th rank, and the Mechanical Engineering Dept. is tied as well for the 27th spot.

Overall, Rairden said, the college’s move up to 18th will be a welcome contribution to UCSB’s academic prestige.

“We’re pleased to move up,” Rairden said. “The improvements in rankings make UCSB much more visible and much more prominent.”