For the first time, Virginia Tech has moved into the Top 25 public universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report in its annual survey of undergraduate programs – “America’s Best Colleges 2014” -- released today.

The move to No. 25 among public schools is a bump up from the No. 28 position in the 2013 survey by U.S. News & World Report, released this time last year. Among overall public and private universities, Virginia Tech ranks 69th in the nation, again a move up from No. 72 during the previous survey. Virginia Tech ties with fellow public universities Rutgers State University in New Jersey, Texas A&M University, and University of Minnesota on the survey.

Virginia Tech is among three public universities in the commonwealth of Virginia to rank among the Top 25, with the University of Virginia tying at No. 2 with the University of California Los Angeles, and College of William & Mary at No. 6. Other than California, Virginia is the only state with three or more schools in the Top 25 Public Universities.

“As a public institution with a land-grant mission, Virginia Tech is committed not only to providing access to higher education, but producing graduates who are successful in their field,” said Mark McNamee, Virginia Tech provost and senior vice president.

“Our retention and graduation rates are strong and, in concert with the university’s new strategic plan, we are continuing to improve our curricula, facilities, research opportunities, programs, and services to give students a rich educational experience. We are enhancing our undergraduate education with a focus on using a ‘hands-on, minds-on’ approach, and undergraduate research, experiential learning, international engagement, interdisciplinary learning, and e-learning all play a critical role in the university’s strategy.”

Among college programs, Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering ranks 15th overall, a move up from 16th place last year, and sixth among public universities in the United States, again tying with Texas A&M University. The Pamplin College of Business ranks 43rd in the nation overall, tying with Boston University, Syracuse University, and Tulane University, and 26th among all public school programs.

“Aspiring engineers have many choices; they don’t need to come to Virginia Tech. The fact that they want to says everything about the quality of the ‘hands on, minds on’ education that so characterizes this college,” said Richard C. Benson, dean of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, citing the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, along with the recent pool of freshmen applications for the 2013-14 admission pool reaching an all-time high of 7,391, and record levels research spending across the college.

In engineering department rankings, Virginia Tech again appears in many Top 20 lists, including the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering each at No.8; the Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering – in separate lists – at 10th for civil and 11th for environmental. 

Additional rankings: The biological systems engineering department, also part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, ranks 11th; the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering each at 14th; the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering – in separate lists for electrical engineering and computer engineering -- ranking 15th each; with the Department of Chemical Engineering at 20th.

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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