Virginia Tech's College of Engineering now ranks among the nation's 25 best engineering schools for graduate studies, according to "U.S. News and World Report's" America’s Best Graduate Schools 2011 survey, released last week.

In all, graduate programs in five of Virginia Tech’s colleges ranked among the nation’s best in their fields, according to the annual report.

Boasting some 2,000 graduate students, the College of Engineering advanced two spots from the 2010 survey, where it was ranked 27th. The College of Engineering’s graduate program ranked at 28 in the 2009 survey. Tying the Virginia Tech College of Engineering program for 25th place for 2011 were Johns Hopkins University and Ohio State University. It was the highest ranked engineering school in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Our College of Engineering’s outstanding reputation comes from the extraordinary talent of our faculty, who help guide and work closely with our graduate students in diverse fields such as helping reverse the deadly tide of heart disease and re-engineering more earth-friendly automobiles that rely less on fossil fuels,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of the College of Engineering. “We will continue to be one of the nation’s largest and most productive engineering colleges, and continue to invent the future -- a very bright future.”

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 ranked ninth among civil engineering programs, with the environmental engineering program tying for seventh. 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 of Science’s psychology department ranked 33rd among clinical psychology programs as it did during the 2010 survey, according to the new report. The program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science Programs. Virginia Tech also was ranked as having some of the best paleontology and earth sciences programs in the nation, at No. 9 and No. 28, respectively. Both programs are part of the College of Science’s geosciences department.

“Faculty members in the departments of geosciences and psychology should be very proud of the recognition that their programs have received, and I am especially pleased that the research of the paleontology group is so highly appreciated, said Lay Nam Chang, dean of the College of Science. “Our faculty members deserve all the credit for these rankings.”

The Career and Technical Education graduate program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences School of Education tied fourth among vocational and technical specialties for the second year in a row. The program has placed among the top-five for eight consecutive years and has been a top-10 selection for the past 16 years. The program includes teaching licensure programs at the master's level in business and information technology education, family and consumer sciences education, marketing education, and agricultural education as well as professional development programs at the master's, education specialist and doctoral levels.

“Our graduates are employed across Virginia and the nation, and their contributions to the profession reflect positively on the quality of the program,” said Daisy Stewart, faculty member in Career and Technical Education.

The public affairs program in the School of Public and International Affairs, part of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, again ranked 27th in the nation, the same slot it held in the past two year’s survey. It tied with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business ranked 41st among the nation’s best part-time M.B.A. Schools, according to the 2011 survey.

“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.

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