National Research Council Has High Marks for UCSB Engineering

All Five Departments in Top Ten Nationwide

UC Santa Barbara’s doctoral engineering programs have been rated among the best in the nation, according to an assessment released today by the National Research Council (NRC).

The evaluation covers more than 5,000 doctorate programs in 62 fields at 212 universities around the country. Rather than giving each program an absolute rank, the NRC, which is part of the National Academies, came up with ranking ranges to reflect how rankings can vary depending on how much weight is given to the different kinds of data used in the assessment.

Three of the five departments in the College of Engineering—Materials, Chemical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering—earned ranking ranges within the top five in the country in those fields. The Materials Department scored the highest of any engineering doctoral program in the country, and was the top rated doctoral program at UCSB. The other two departments within the College of Engineering—Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering—both had ranking ranges that place them among the top ten nationwide. All five engineering doctoral programs received higher ratings than they did in the last NRC assessment, released in 1995, with Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering making particularly big leaps.

“These are extraordinary rankings,” said Larry Coldren, Acting Dean of Engineering at UCSB. “Finally, we have an objective, in-depth study that verifies what we have known for some years.”

According to data from the NRC assessment, UCSB’s engineering school ranks among the top five in the country, after Stanford, MIT and UC Berkeley; Caltech is also in the top five, but its position relative to UCSB depends on the weighting given to the various kinds of data used in the assessment.

The NRC assessment, based on data from the 2005-2006 academic year, evaluated 31 doctoral programs at UCSB. Of those, 20 were given ranking ranges that fell within the top 20 nationwide.

These high ratings for UCSB’s engineering programs come less than a week after Times Higher Education ranked the university 17th in the world for engineering and technology.

The College of Engineering at UCSB is a global leader in bioengineering, chemical and computational engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, and physics. It boasts a uniquely interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial culture. The college’s faculty includes two of the university’s five Nobel Laureates, 15 National Academy of Engineering members, five National Academy of Sciences members, two Royal Society fellows and a recipient of the prestigious Millennium Technology Prize.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Carousel House Now for Rent

The iconic octagon is available for parties and classes.

‘Fess Parker’ Name Dropped from Santa Barbara Waterfront Hotel

Change to Hilton Santa Barbara said to help the hotel reach a broader demographic.

Nicholas Kristof Hashes Out How To Help

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author joined local nonprofits to talk global development.

Pile Burn Season Raises Alarms

Uptick in citizen emergency calls upon viewing smoke and fire.

Jon Peterson Departs Habitat for Humanity

Takes a post with Covenant Trust Company of Chicago.