UCSB has topped the standings in the latest bout of national graduate school rankings to be released.

The National Research Council, which provides policy advice to the government, has ranked 20 of UCSB’s graduate programs among its list of top programs nationwide. The College of Engineering fared particularly well, with all five of its graduate departments placing within the NRC’s top ten — including the Materials Dept. ranking in at number one.

According to a press release, UCSB’s Materials Dept. is ranked higher than any department in the field of engineering in the nation. The assessment is based on data pooled from 5,000 doctoral programs at 212 universities.

College of Engineering Dean Larry Coldren said the rankings are gratifying as they focus on the university’s quality rather than its reputation.

“It validates the fact that we have been hiring the best faculty in the world for the past 20 years,” Coldren said. “It simply takes this long for their work to be established here and to be firmly associated with UCSB.”

Coldren also said he hopes these results will attract high-achieving students.

“This should convince the best students entering graduate school to choose UCSB over many of our competitors, increasing the general quality of our incoming graduate student pool,” Coldren said.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang, a professor in the mechanical engineering department himself, was also enthused with the survey’s results.

“These new rankings reflect UC Santa Barbara’s rapid rise in our world-class stature over the decades and serve as a resounding affirmation of the quality and diversity of our doctoral programs, which form the fundamental basis of a strong research university,” Yang said in a press release.

Overall, five of UCSB’s Ph.D. programs were ranked among their respective top five categories, with six falling into the top 10 and another six in the top 20 listings. Aside from materials, other top-notch programs included chemical engineering, communication, computer science, computer engineering, geography, marine science, mechanical engineering, physics and theater and dance.

While these results are gratifying, Graduate Division Dean Gale Morrison said she was not altogether surprised.

“UCSB is on an impressive trajectory of excellence in our graduate programs,” Morrison said. “This positive trend is likely to be maintained. The overall results honor and recognize the ongoing work of faculty and staff to provide the best education possible for our graduate students.”