The Cream of the Crop

U.S. News & World Report ranks UCSB number 8 among the country’s top public universities

In its 2016 listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities” in the country, U.S. News & World Report has ranked UC Santa Barbara number 8. This marks the university’s highest ranking ever in the magazine’s annual listing.

UCSB — which this year experienced the most competitive admissions process in campus history — jumped two spots among the “Top 30 Public National Universities.” Among the “Best National Universities” ranking, which includes both public and private institutions, UCSB moved up three places to number 37.

Within the University of California system, only UC Berkeley and UCLA ranked above UCSB. Other UC campuses in the Top 30 include UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Davis.

In addition, UCSB placed number 6 among public universities in the magazine’s list of colleges and universities that offer students the best education value. UCSB’s College of Engineering is ranked number 18 among public universities on the U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate.”

The magazine has just released its annual college rankings online at The 2016 “America’s Best Colleges” guidebook goes on sale Tuesday, September 23.

“Students are the reason all of us are here at UC Santa Barbara,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “As part of our vibrant and diverse academic community, our students study with award-winning professors, engage in original undergraduate research projects, and enjoy a unique learning and living environment in a spectacular location.”

To rank colleges and universities for the Best Colleges 2016 guidebook, U.S. News & World Report assigns institutions to categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. UCSB’s category of national universities includes only institutions that emphasize faculty research and offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s degree and doctoral programs.

Of prospective freshman and undergraduate transfer students, UCSB continues to attract the best of the best. The academic qualifications and the diversity of the applicants accepted by UCSB remain exceptionally high. For the 2015-16 academic year, the average high school grade-point average of applicants admitted is 4.19, and the average total score achieved on the required SATR Test is 1975 out of a possible 2400.

Of the admitted freshmen, 24 percent are members of underrepresented minority groups (African-American, American Indian, and Chicano and Latino students. In addition, 32 percent of admitted freshmen are first-generation college students.

The rankings in the Best Colleges 2016 guidebook are based on data U.S. News & World Report collects directly from colleges and universities, as well as from other sources. This year, the magazine reported that 92.75 percent of the 1,376 colleges and universities it surveyed responded to its request for statistical information. Additional data was obtained from the American Association of University Professors, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Council for Aid to Education and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The magazine evaluates and analyzes data on various indicators of academic quality and assigns a weight to each factor based on its relative importance. It then tabulates composite scores and ranks institutions against others in the same peer group.

Complete U.S. News & World report rankings are available at

UCSB has performed exceptionally well in a variety of other recent national and international rankings. The 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities compiled by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranked UCSB number 38 among the top 500 universities in the world. In addition, UCSB is ranked number 11 among the top 200 universities in physics, number 13 in chemistry, and number 17 in engineering and in natural sciences and mathematics.

Also, UCSB came in at number 14 in Washington Monthly’s 2015 National Universities Rankings and number 14 among schools with 10,000 or more undergraduates in Teach for America’s 2015 Teaching Corps. In addition, Princeton Review ranks UCSB number 3 overall — and number 1 among public universities — on its annual list of the Top 50 Green Colleges.

Finally, in PayScale’s 2015-16 College Salary Report, which ranks universities in terms of graduates’ salary potential, UCSB came in first in computer science and number 7 in engineering.

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