In the Top Ten — Again

U.S. News & World Report ranks UC Santa Barbara No. 7 among the country’s top public universities

In its 2020 listing of the “Top 30 Public National Universities,” U.S. News & World Report has ranked UC Santa Barbara No. 7.

Among “Best National Universities,” which includes both public and private institutions, UC Santa Barbara placed No. 34.

UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering is ranked No. 20 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. 6 among public universities — and No. 14 overall — on the magazine’s list of “Best Colleges for Veterans.” Among public universities, UC Santa Barbara placed No. 16 on the “Best Ethnic Diversity” ranking, and on the list of Top Performers on Social Mobility, the campus ranked No. 9. Social mobility measures how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000).

The magazine has released its annual college rankings online at The “Best Colleges 2020” guidebook goes on sale today.

To rank colleges and universities for the Best Colleges 2020 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 2019-20 academic year, the average high school grade-point average of applicants admitted is 4.32, and the average total score achieved on the required SATR test is 1406 out of a possible 1600, with the highest converted SAT and ACT combined.

The unprecedented academic qualifications and diversity of applicants made fall 2019 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, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a National Book Award winner, 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 campus placed No. 20 on Forbes magazine’s 2019 “America’s Top Colleges” list as well as Money magazine’s list 2019 Best Public Colleges. In addition, Business Insider magazine ranked UC Santa Barbara No. 9 on its list of top colleges where students receive the most financial aid.

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

The rankings in the Best Colleges 2020 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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