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Some Characteristics Of Highly Ranked Programs In The U.S.News & World Report Ranking Of Engineering Programs In Institutions Without Doctoral Programs

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Programs II

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1130.1 - 10.1130.12



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Paper Authors

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James Farison

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Some Characteristics of Highly Ranked Programs in the U.S. News &World Report Ranking of Engineering Programs in Institutions without Doctoral Programs

Jim Farison Department of Engineering, Baylor University


Many prospective engineering students and engineering educators and the schools they serve are aware of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. A distinct set of U. S. News & World Report rankings is the ranking of the undergraduate engineering programs in institutions without doctoral programs in engineering. While many observers point out the subjective and variable nature of these rankings, many also wait eagerly for the next ranking. This paper reviews the procedure by which these rankings are obtained and gives special focus to the characteristics of those engineering programs that are highly ranked. Features such as age, size and nature of the institutions and of the engineering programs in those institutions are described. Some observations about the characteristics of highly ranked programs are offered, and some potential hypotheses about correlations between program characteristics and rankings are suggested.


In varying schedules starting about a decade ago, but annually in recent years, U.S. News & World Report has published a “ranking” of undergraduate engineering programs in institutions that do not offer doctoral programs in engineering. This ranking is distinct from the rankings of engineering programs at institutions with doctoral programs in engineering.

Here, from the current U.S. News webpage1 (copied February 28, 2005), is their introduction to the most recent rankings (released in 2004):

“Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs Think your future lies in engineering? On these pages, you'll find the U.S. News rankings of undergraduate programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The rankings are based solely on a peer survey of deans and senior faculty that asked them to rate each program they are familiar with on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). On the following page are programs at schools that offer doctorates, which often means a wider range of offerings at the undergraduate level, too. Students who prefer a program focused on undergraduates can consult the list below of top programs at schools whose terminal degree is the bachelor's or master's. Fifty percent of those surveyed returned ratings of the group below; 60 percent did so in the doctorate group. Respondents were also asked to nominate the best programs in specialty areas; the five schools receiving the most mentions in each category appear here.”

For the purposes of this paper, several aspects of this statement are worthy of emphasis:

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Farison, J. (2005, June), Some Characteristics Of Highly Ranked Programs In The U.S.News & World Report Ranking Of Engineering Programs In Institutions Without Doctoral Programs Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15351

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