Programs offered across Virginia Tech’s colleges and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine are included in the U.S. News & World Report survey of best graduate programs for 2021.

The College of Engineering was ranked 29th in the nation, continuing its history of ranking in the top tier. Additionally, 12 specialty engineering programs received high marks, with three in the top 10 in their fields: industrial and systems engineering, ranked 6th; environmental engineering, ranked 7th; and civil engineering ranked 9th.

Six speciality programs are among the top 20 in the nation: biological systems engineering, a joint program between the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at 15; aerospace engineering, also at 15; mechanical engineering, at 17; computer engineering, at 18; nuclear engineering, also at 18; and electrical engineering, at 19. Material engineering ranked No. 31 in its field, while chemical engineering was listed No. 33 among such programs, and biomedical engineering was 37th.

“Through collaboration, experiential learning opportunities, and globally impactful research, our engineering faculty continue to empower graduate students to become technical leaders that improve the human condition,” said Jack Lesko, associate dean of research and graduate studies for Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. “We are excited to see that the college has climbed significantly in the rankings, while civil and environmental engineering and industrial and systems engineering programs are holding strong in the top 10."

Biological systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics, along with engineering science and design principles, to solve problems in biological systems. Our faculty have developed cutting-edge programs in the areas of vaccines, water resources protection, synthetic biology, and public health,” said Dwayne Edwards, department head for biological systems engineering, said of the top-20 ranked program. “Our integrated extension and research activities benefit citizens of the commonwealth on a daily basis, and technologies under development show promise of direct and enduring global impacts.”

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine received its first public ranking in the 2021 survey. Medical schools were ranked two categories: research and primary care. Among the 122 schools that were ranked in the research category, the School of Medicine was listed at 81.

“We are very pleased with where we landed on the list for the first time, particularly as a newer school largely competing with schools that have been around for centuries,” said Dean Lee Learman. “Our top-notch graduates are now ambassadors for us across the country in residencies, fellowships, and now some in private practice, and our reputation is on the rise.”

The part-time MBA program, offered by the Pamplin College of Business, ranked 19th among competing programs across the nation. The program serves aspiring business leaders in the Washington, D.C., area with classes taught at the Northern Virginia Center. As the college’s flagship MBA program, the Evening MBA has seen significant growth in recent years.

The College of Science’s clinical psychology program ranked 56th overall among health specialities, continuing its rise among programs at peer institutions.

The public affairs programs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ School of Public and International Affairs was ranked 45th among other programs in the survey.

The School of Education, in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is ranked No. 105 overall.

“The college is extremely proud of the vital importance of our School of Education to the state of Virginia,” said Dean Laura Belmonte. “This ranking is a testament to the school’s great strengths, and I look forward to working closely with their leadership and faculty in further elevating its national prominence.”

The programs in the 2021 rankings are among the more than 150 graduate programs Virginia Tech offers across its campuses.

U.S. News & 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.

You can find the full new rankings and data on the U.S. News Graduate School Compass.

Alison Matthiessen, Paula Byron, Suzanne Irby, Zeke Barlow, and Lindsey Haugh contributed to this story.

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