The Top Five

U.S. News & World Report ranks UC Santa Barbara No. 5 among the country's top public universities

In its 2019 listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities,” U.S. News & World Report has ranked UC Santa Barbara No. 5.

Among “Best National Universities,” which includes both public and private institutions, UC Santa Barbara placed No. 30.

UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering ranked No. 17 among public universities on the U.S. News & World Report list of “Best Programs at Engineering Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate.”

In addition, UC Santa Barbara is ranked No. 4 among public universities — and No. 10 overall — on the magazine’s list of “Best Colleges for Veterans.” Also among public universities, UC Santa Barbara placed No. 14 on the “Best Ethnic Diversity” ranking.

The magazine has released its annual college rankings online at The “Best Colleges 2019” guidebook goes on sale today.

To rank colleges and universities for the Best Colleges 2019 guidebook, U.S. News & World Report assigned institutions to categories developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. UC Santa Barbara’s category of national universities includes only institutions that emphasize faculty research and offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s degrees and doctoral programs.

UC Santa Barbara, which this year experienced the most competitive admissions process in campus history, continues to attract the best of the best. Among prospective freshmen and undergraduate transfer students, academic qualifications and diversity remain exceptionally high. For the 2017-18 academic year, the average high school grade-point average of applicants admitted is 4.28, and the average total score achieved on the required SATR test is 1395 out of a possible 1600, with the highest converted SAT and ACT combined.

The unprecedented academic qualifications and diversity of applicants made fall 2018 admissions the most selective in campus history. With 11 national centers and institutes, and more than 100 research units, UC Santa Barbara offers unparalleled learning opportunities for undergraduate students. The world-class faculty includes six Nobel laureates, two Academy and Emmy Award winners, and recipients of a Millennium Technology Prize, a National Medal of Technology and Innovation and a Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

UC Santa Barbara has performed exceptionally well in other national rankings. The most recent College Access Index published by The New York Times ranked the campus No. 2 for its commitment to economic diversity, and on Forbes magazine’s 2018 “America’s Top Colleges” list, UC Santa Barbara placed No. 19 among public universities. In addition, the campus in April took a top spot on the U.S. Department of State’s inaugural list of large colleges and universities that sent the most students overseas on the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program during the 2016-17 academic year.

Within the University of California system, only UC Berkeley and UCLA ranked above UC Santa Barbara on U.S. News & World Report’s list of top public schools.

The rankings in the Best Colleges 2019 guidebook are based on data U.S. News & World Report collects directly from colleges and universities, as well as from other sources. 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

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