U.S. News Ranks Graduate Studies Among the Best
By GEORGE FOULSHAM
U.S. NEWS & WORLD Report magazine has rated seven of UC Santa Barbara’s graduate programs among the top 50 in the nation in its 2010 ranking of leading graduate and professional programs at American universities. Three of UCSB’s graduate programs were ranked among the top 25 in this year’s rankings.
The graduate program in physics at UCSB was ranked at number 10 by U.S. News, while the College of Engineering’s program was ranked at number 19, tied with Harvard. The other UCSB program ranked in the top 25 was earth sciences at number 23.
Several areas that U.S. News defines as “specializations” in both physics and engineering (actually departments on our campus) were ranked even higher. In physics, condensed matter was ranked at number 3, quantum at number 5, elementary particles/field/string theory at number 8, and cosmology/relativity/gravity at number 9. In engineering, materials was ranked at number 4, chemical engineering at number 9, while electrical and computer engineering was ranked at number 17.
Other UCSB programs that achieved national rankings from U.S. News were chemistry, number 33; computer science, number 35; mathematics, number 46; biological sciences, number 46; statistics, number 55; and the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, number 79.
U.S. News did not update the rankings for graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences this year.
“It is gratifying to see that the rankings in physics and several subfields, and in materials and chemical engineering reflect our longstanding success in these areas,” said Pierre Wiltzius, Susan and Bruce Worster Dean of Science, Division of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences of 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 and environmental studies. “Other recent rankings have placed UCSB in the top 10 worldwide for the overall study of climate change,” Wiltzius said. “And our geography department is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country.”
Larry Coldren, acting dean of the College of Engineering, said: “It is always gratifying to see the quality of our programs recognized in this way, but it is 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 our college, and in just one department at MIT, electrical engineering, they have 170 faculty members.”
Coldren, who also holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Optoelectronics and Sensors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, also 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.
“But this type of ranking in U.S. News is based in part on total numbers, on how many Ph.D.s are produced. For us to be ranked up there with the big boys is really a statement,” he said.
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 U.S. News & World Report magazine and in the 2011 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” as well as on the magazine’s Web site, <http://www.usnews.com