Movin’ Up

UCSB scores highly on a host of university and college rankings

When U.S. News & World Report included UC Santa Barbara on its 2015 list of the Top 30 National Public Universities, the No. 10 ranking acknowledged UCSB’s stature as a top-tier research institution as well as its commitment to academic excellence.

It was also one of many such honors the campus has received. Over the last year, UCSB has scored among the best of the best on a host of university and college rankings, from Leiden to Net Impact to the Sierra Club.

“These rankings reflect UC Santa Barbara’s remarkable strength across a wide variety of disciplines and departments,” said David Marshall, executive vice chancellor. “Excellence across the campus contributes to the interdisciplinary environment that allows us to provide our students with a deep and broad education, while stimulating innovative research and scholarship.”

While the most recent U.S. News & World Report ranking focuses on undergraduate education, UCSB was highlighted last spring in the magazine’s annual ranking of graduate and professional programs at American universities. The campus’s materials program was ranked No. 2 among all universities and No. 1 among public institutions.

In addition, the chemical engineering program at UCSB was ranked No. 8 overall, and No. 4 among public universities while the College of Engineering came in at No. 19 among all universities and No. 11 among public universities.

“Our faculty’s tremendous research agenda, which in turn stimulates so much research and critical thinking amongst our students, inevitably helps to ensure that we have the highest quality of undergraduate students at our campus,” said Kum-Kum Bhavnani, professor of sociology and chair of the UCSB Academic Senate. “Further, the increase in the diversity of our student population ensures that as a campus we continue to offer much to the residents of California, the nation and, indeed, the world.”

The U.S. News & World Report ranking comes on the heels of Washington Monthly’s National Universities Rankings, which place UCSB at No. 15 among national universities (a jump of seven spots from the previous year) and No. 11 among public universities. UCSB also placed at No. 13 in Washington Monthly’s Best Bang for the Buck ranking.

Among the criteria considered by Washington Monthly are the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants; the difference between predicted versus actual graduation rates; total research spending; Peace Corps service by graduates; community service participation; faculty awards; and faculty members elected to national academies.

The Leiden Rankings, compiled by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, places UCSB at No. 8 among the top 750 universities worldwide with the largest publication output in the Web of Science database. The ranking is based on data from the Web of Science bibliographic database produced by Thomson Reuters and includes Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index and Arts & Humanities Citation Index.

In the 2014 Academic Rankings of World Universities, UCSB’s engineering, technology and computer science departments ranked No. 7 in the world. UCSB also scored a perfect 100 for engineering in the category of percentage of papers published in the top 20 percent of journals in engineering fields.

On its list of America’s Most Entrepreneurial Universities for 2014, Forbes Magazine placed UCSB at No. 20. Among public universities, UCSB ranked No. 5 with the magazine citing the newly opened 4,500 square-foot business and technology incubator established as a partnership among the university, the city of Goleta and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Forbes ranked the universities based on the number of alumni and students who have identified themselves as founders and business owners on LinkedIn as compared to the school’s total undergraduate and graduate enrollment.

Focusing on environmental innovation and initiative, Net Impact, the non-profit organization for students and professionals seeking to use business skills in support of social and environmental causes, ranked UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management No. 1 in the country on its Business as UNusual Schools list of the Top 50 Schools for Environmental Sustainability. UCSB received a score of 4.9 out of a possible 5.

Among the Healthiest Colleges in America, UCSB is listed at No. 4 among the top 25. Schools so recognized have gone the extra mile to create an environment that nurtures and educates students about healthy eating practices, provides excellent medical and mental health services and programs and offers myriad opportunities for student to get and stay physically fit.

“It’s hard to beat the natural beauty of the University of California, Santa Barbara’s campus: 1,000-plus acres with miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean against a backdrop of mountains in Los Padres National Park,” the editors noted.

“The students at UCSB are able to take advantage of the nature that lies at their fingertips through the school’s adventure programs,” they continued. “Trips include kayaking to Santa Cruz Island, backpacking in Yosemite, and canoeing on the Colorado River. The school is also known for its bike culture, meaning it’s easy to remain active back on campus, too. And if students find themselves stressed out by coursework, they can reserve egg or massage chairs in the university’s counseling and psychological services building.”

And on the Sierra Club’s list of Cool Schools, UCSB is ranked No. 24, receiving high marks for innovation, planning, energy use, transportation and waste management. As the editors noted, “The colleges at the top of our annual ‘Cool Schools’ ranking are so dedicated to greening every level of their operation — from energy usage to recycling to food sourcing to curriculum — that sustainability has become woven into their very culture.”

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