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Engineering, education, psychology, and public affairs rank high on 'U.S. News and World Report' survey


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 23, 2009 – Graduate programs in four of Virginia Tech's colleges are among the nation's best in their fields according to the "America's Best Graduate Schools 2010" survey released today.

Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering has moved up one rank to 27th among all schools of engineering, according to the new survey. “It certainly is gratifying to see the high standing we carry in the eyes of other engineering programs across the nation,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering. “Virginia Tech’s outstanding reputation comes from the extraordinary talent of our students and the faculty who guide them in study and research. These rankings are a continual success story made possible by the gifted students who choose the Virginia Tech College of Engineering for their education. We will continue to be one of the nation’s largest and most productive engineering colleges.”

Four departments within the College of Engineering finished in the top 10 of their respective category. The Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering tied for seventh among civil engineering programs. The Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering ranked fourth among industrial/manufacturing programs. The biological systems engineering department, also part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, tied for seventh in the nation among biological/agricultural programs. The college’s environmental engineering program ranked ninth.

All four of the programs are ranked higher than last year, including the industrial and systems engineering department which last year ranked in seventh place.

Additional ranked College of Engineering programs, in their respective lists, include aerospace at 16th, mechanical tying for 17th, electrical at 18th, computer engineering tying for 20th, materials science at 23rd, and chemical at 43rd.

The College of Science’s psychology department has ranked 33rd among clinical psychology programs, according to the new survey. The program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science Programs. “Rankings are derived from the ratings of the peers at other institutions, so it definitely feels very good to be thought of so highly, and it is attributed to the work our faculty has done,” said Robert Stephens, department head and professor in the psychology department. He added that with so many new and young faculty on staff, the department’s reputation likely will grow.

The Career and Technical Education graduate program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences' School of Education tied for fourth among vocational and technical specialties, up one position from last year. The program has placed among the top-five seven times and has been a top-10 selection for the past 15 years. The program includes business and information technology education, family and consumer sciences education, marketing education, and agricultural education.

"Our on-campus master's program prepares teachers in critical shortage areas, and we also offer the master's degree via distance education for professional development of educators across the commonwealth," said Daisy Stewart, Career and Technical Education faculty member and associate director of the School of Education. "Our visibility and reputation are enhanced by the professional organization leadership provided by Virginia Tech's faculty and the fact that our graduates are in positions of leadership across the United States and internationally."

The public affairs program in the School of Public and International Affairs, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has ranked 27th in the nation, the same slot it held in the past year’s survey

“We are delighted that the master’s of public administration program is up there with the best in the nation. Now, with new and dynamic faculty members joining our distinguished senior faculty, the college is anticipating innovative strides in scholarship and teaching excellence from this distinguished program in the Center for Public Administration and Policy,” said John Browder, associate dean for academic affairs, College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

U.S. News and 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.

View the U.S. News and World Report survey online.