VUSE rises in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 rankings

Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering undergraduate program improved four positions to No. 36 in annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The 2011 annual rankings were released today.

The School of Engineering tied with Lehigh University, University of California-Santa Barbara. MIT was ranked No. 1.

“It is always gratifying to receive recognition from your peers,” said Dean Kenneth F. Galloway. “We are among a group of strong engineering schools that are all striving for excellence.”

In undergraduate engineering specialties, the School’s biomedical engineering program ranked No. 17.

To appear on an undergraduate engineering survey, a school must have a program recognized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). These 370 undergraduate programs are split into two groups: schools whose highest engineering degree offered is a doctorate, and schools whose highest engineering degree offered is a bachelor’s or master’s. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed returned ratings of the group whose terminal degree in engineering is a bachelor’s or master’s; 58 percent did so for the doctoral group.

The U.S. News rankings of accredited undergraduate programs are based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty who rated each program they are familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). Engineering school deans and faculty members (two at each engineering program) were surveyed in spring 2010.

The chief editor of U.S. News & World Report said he recognizes that the results are subjective but “it is a way for students to get intangibles about colleges.” Editor Brian Kelly estimates that, on average, half a million prospective students read U.S. News & World Report.

Vanderbilt University maintained its No. 17 rank on the list of best national universities. Vanderbilt was ranked No. 11 on the Great Schools, Great Prices list, which compares academic quality with the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. The first-time High School Counselors’ Picks list ranked Vanderbilt at No. 19.

Highlights of the college rankings will be published in the September issue of U.S. News & World Report, available on newsstands Aug. 31.