Biomedical engineering, computer science programs rise in 2014 grad school rankings

Vanderbilt’s School of Engineering graduate program is ranked No. 36 by U.S. News & World Report. The 2014 engineering graduate program rankings were released today. U.S. News surveyed 199 schools granting doctoral degrees in engineering.

The school ranks ahead of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Boston University (both 38) and just below Yale (34). Last year the school tied with Colorado and Florida at No. 35. MIT, Stanford, and UC-Berkeley maintained their top three spots in the engineering schools rankings.

The School of Engineering received recognition in a number of specialties. The biomedical engineering program continued its rise to No. 16 in the U.S. News program rankings, passing Columbia, Cornell and Northwestern. Last year the program was No. 19, up from 22 the year prior. Johns Hopkins was ranked No. 1.

“Such advancement is a challenge, especially near the top of a distinguished field of programs,” said Todd Giorgio, chair of biomedical engineering. “This is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Giorgio, who cited faculty successes in publishing, external funding for research, professional service and other “creative and involved contributions that have led to greater visibility of the program.”

The greatest leap in the Vanderbilt engineering program rankings belongs to computer science, which jumped 10 spots to 48. Electrical engineering moved up four spots to 44. Mechanical engineering remains at 38. Chemical engineering and civil engineering dropped two places to 38 and 45, respectively. Environmental engineering dropped out of the top 50. MIT is ranked No. 1 in chemical, electrical, mechanical, and materials engineering programs.

Engineering program rankings are based solely on assessments by department heads in each specialty area, which were provided by the American Society for Engineering Education.

Of the 199 engineering schools surveyed, 193 responded. Data were collected in fall 2012 and early 2013. Rankings for 191 schools that provided the data needed were calculated based on a weighted average of several indicators.

Peer opinion data is gathered from deans, program directors, and senior faculty to judge the academic quality of the programs. Professionals who hire new graduates are also surveyed. Other “quality indicators” include acceptance rates, average quantitative GRE score, faculty membership in the National Academy of Engineering, engineering school research expenditures, Ph.D.’s granted, and total graduate engineering enrollment.

For rankings of other Vanderbilt graduate school programs, go here.

The full rankings will be available on the U.S. News and World Report website and in the Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook, which will be available April 9.