Engineering, education, and public affairs programs earn high marks in U.S. News and World Report survey

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 28, 2008 – Graduate programs in three of Virginia Tech's colleges have been ranked nationally among the tops in their fields in the "America's Best Graduate Schools 2009" survey released today by U.S. News and World Report.

The industrial engineering graduate program in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering is ranked seventh this year among peer programs nationally. Both the civil engineering and environmental engineering programs in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are ranked 10th. All three of these Virginia Tech specialties typically score among the top 10 in their respective fields.

The College of Engineering’s overall graduate program moved up a few notches in the new survey, from 33rd last year to 28th among all schools of engineering, and from 18th to 17th among engineering colleges at public institutions.

“One should never attach much significance to small changes in the U.S. News & World Report rankings,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of engineering. “Still, I am pleased by the five-point upward movement of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.”

“I am particularly pleased by the top-20 scores that we received in both the peer assessment and recruiter assessment surveys,” Benson added. “The folks who work with our faculty members and hire our students know us the best, and they have shown their confidence in the College of Engineering. We intend to re-earn that respect with every succeeding generation of Hokie engineers.”

The Career and Technical Education graduate program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences' School of Education ranked fifth among vocational and technical specialties in this year's survey, moving up a position from last year. The program has placed among the top five a number of times and has been a top-10 selection for the past 14 years.

The program currently has 100 master's students and 25 doctoral students in fields such as business and marketing education, family and consumer sciences education, agricultural education, and health occupations education.

“Our master's degree courses are available to educators throughout the state online or through video-conferencing,” said Daisy Stewart, Career and Technical Education faculty member and associate director of the School of Education. “That accessibility, combined with the professional organization leadership provided by Virginia Tech's faculty, has enhanced our national recognition. Our graduates are in positions of leadership across the U.S. and internationally, and they increase our visibility in the profession.”

The public affairs program in the School of Public and International Affairs, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has been ranked 27th in the nation. In 2004, the same program was ranked 26th.

“This year's ranking continues our long-term good standing in the nation in public affairs. We've consistently done well in these rankings and are in very good company,” said John Randolph, director of the School of Public and International Affairs. “We will be working hard going forward to do even better.”

“We have continued to perform well in this ranking primarily because of our public administration program, the core program on which the ranking is based. We are also especially strong in related public affairs programs in urban planning, environmental policy, nonprofit management, and international affairs,” Randolph said.

U.S. News & World Report’s graduate rankings of colleges, published annually since 1987, are based on several categories of data gathered from the surveyed schools, plus peer assessments by deans, senior faculty, and other professionals in their respective fields. Rankings of the specialty programs are based solely on peer assessments. The annual survey is intended to provide prospective students with information about the nation’s top graduate schools and programs of study.