U.S. News & World Report continues to rank Virginia Tech among the nation’s best undergraduate public colleges, with the College of Engineering ranking 8th and the Pamplin College of Business ranking 23rd in the “America’s Best Colleges 2015” rankings, released today.

Among public university undergraduate business programs, Pamplin ranks at No. 23 in the nation, and 39th among all universities, public and private, tying with College of William and Mary, University of California Irvine, University of Pittsburgh, and the University of South Carolina. 

In last year’s ranking, for the 2014 year, U.S. News ranked Pamplin 26th among public schools and 43rd in the nation overall.

Among overall college programs, Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering again ranks 15th, the same position it held last year, tying with Johns Hopkins University and Texas A&M University.

In Top 10 individual engineering program specialties, the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics ranks at No. 5, tying with Harvard University; the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering ranks 6th, the biological systems engineering department, shared with  the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, ranks 7th; and the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering ranks 9th in civil and 10th in environmental.

Also, the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering ranks 13th (electrical) and 18th (computer) in two separate lists; with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at No. 16 and the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering ranked at No. 17.

Overall, Virginia Tech ranks 27 among all public universities and 71st among all universities, a slip from the Best Colleges 2014 rankings of 25th and 69th respectively for public and all universities, but in line with previous years as slight movements up or down in the rankings are normal. Virginia Tech ties with fellow public programs University of Iowa and University of Minnesota Twin Cities on the new survey.

Pleased by Pamplin’s improved ranking, Pamplin Dean Robert Sumichrast said giving students the “best business education available anywhere” is one of the four goals of the college’s new strategic plan.

Sumichrast, who became Pamplin dean in July 2013, has taken actions that include recruiting more faculty to further strengthen teaching, particularly in the areas of business intelligence and analytics, innovation through entrepreneurship, and international programs; remodeling the Pamplin atrium to promote studying and networking; and launching a new speaker series featuring young alumni.

“We’re continuing to work to give students a superlative educational experience,” Sumichrast said. 

With approximately 1,500 business schools in the U.S., Pamplin’s rank puts it among the top 3 percent. The U.S. News business school ranking is based on a survey of deans and senior faculty at schools that have earned accreditation by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“These rankings again confirm the Virginia Tech College of Engineering as among the nation’s best choice for aspiring engineers, not just for students from the United States, but the world over,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering, citing the recent admission of 1,430 freshmen students into the college for the 2014-15 year, which came from a record high applicant pool of 8,480 potential students. “Our focus in a quality ‘hands on, minds on’ education characterizes this college, and with the opening of our new state-of-the-art Signature Engineering Building this past summer, our future stands even brighter.”

Also of note among the record level of freshmen engineering students is another first-time high: 25.5 percent of the students are women, a traditionally under-represented group in engineering. “As recently as fall 2010 it was 17.5 percent,” added Benson. “I attribute this steady progress to the tremendous array of recruiting and mentoring programs offered by the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity.”

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. 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.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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