Virginia Tech ranks among the top in undergraduate engineering and career-related programs

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 17, 2007 – In U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2008" survey released today, Virginia Tech's undergraduate engineering and cooperative education and internship programs are rated among the top 15 in the nation, the business program has retained its standing among the top 50, and the university's overall undergraduate program is ranked among the top 30 at public institutions.

The Virginia Tech College of Engineering, traditionally rated one of the top 20 engineering schools in the U.S. that offer doctorates, shares its current undergraduate program ranking of 14th with Johns Hopkins University and Northwestern University. This places the three schools among the top three percent of the more than 580 institutions accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology.

The Virginia Tech engineering program is ranked eighth among undergraduate programs at public universities.

“The continued respect shown for our undergraduate program by peer institutions is a bright spot for our college this year,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of engineering. “I’m not one to attach much importance to small shifts in rankings, but the fact that our college stepped up a bit from 17th last year to 14th gives me confidence in the unflagging excellence of our faculty, staff, and students. We continue as one of the finest engineering schools in the nation and, I hope, as a source of pride for the citizens of Virginia.”

Undergraduate engineering students are the power behind many of the achievements that draw attention to the Virginia Tech program, Benson said, including numerous first place wins in national air, water and ground vehicle competitions, and participation in well-known events such as RoboCup 2007, the international robot soccer tournament.

Among undergraduate business programs, Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business is ranked 41st overall, along with six other schools, and 24th among those at public universities.

The Pamplin College's overall ranking keeps it among the top 10 percent of the 400-plus U.S. undergraduate programs accredited by AACSB International — the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The individual college rankings released by U.S. News & World Report are based solely on peer assessment surveys of deans and senior faculty at accredited business and engineering schools.

In a section of the survey titled “Programs to Look For,” which the magazine describes as “stellar examples” of academic programs nominated through a national survey of chief university administrators, Virginia Tech is recognized as having one of the nation’s 14 best cooperative education and internship programs.

“According to the post-graduation survey of Virginia Tech students, about 90 percent have had career-related experiences by the time they graduate, many of them in closely supervised and often well-paid jobs with business and industry,” said Pam Herrmann, senior assistant director of Career Services and director of the Cooperative Education and Internship Program at the university.

Among 2005-2006 graduates, for example, 45 percent participated in paid internships, 16 percent in unpaid internships, and nine percent in co-op jobs. “At Virginia Tech, students from every college participate in internships, while about 90 percent of students in the Cooperative Education and Internship Program are from engineering and about eight percent are from business,” Herrmann said. Students also gain career-related experience through undergraduate research, volunteer work, service learning, and part-time and summer jobs.

Overall, Virginia Tech’s undergraduate program is ranked 71st among all U.S. universities that offer doctoral programs and 29th among public institutions. This constitutes a slight rise from last year’s survey, when the university was ranked 77th on the national list and 34th on the public list.

“This increase might not seem impressive unless you pay close attention, as I do, to all the ways that the major universities in this country are locked in tight competition for faculty, students, and resources,” said Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations at Virginia Tech.

“In the current climate, when so many good universities are finding it difficult just to stay in place — especially on the fund-raising treadmill — I believe it’s a real accomplishment to move forward in a long-standing national ranking like this one,” Hincker said.

U.S. News & World Report bases the overall university rankings, which have been published annually since 1983, on a number of criteria, including peer assessment, retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rates, and alumni giving.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.