Private institutions usually dominate the "Best National Universities" list, with Harvard, Princeton, and Yale taking the top three spots this year. The highest-ranked public institution is UC Berkeley, at number 21. UCSB is tied at number 42 with UC Davis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution of New York, and the University of Washington.
In addition, the undergraduate program in UCSB's College of Engineering is ranked number 34 on the U.S. News & World Report list of "Best Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate."
The magazine has just released its annual college rankings online at USNews.com. Highlights of the college rankings will be published in the September 2009 issue of U.S. News & World Report, available on newsstands Monday, August 24. The 2010 "America's Best Colleges" guidebook goes on sale Tuesday, August 25.
To rank colleges and universities, U.S. News & World Report assigns institutions to categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. UCSB's category, national universities, includes only institutions that emphasize faculty research and offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's degree and Ph.D. programs.
U.S. News collects data directly from colleges and universities as well as from other sources. This year, the magazine reported that 91.2 percent of the 1,477 colleges and universities it surveyed responded to its request for statistical information. The magazine evaluates and analyzes data on various indicators of academic quality and assigns a weight to each factor based on its relative importance. It then tabulates composite scores and ranks institutions against others in the same peer group.
UCSB's rank among public universities was one place higher than last year, and its rank on the list of all national universities was two places higher.