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Chemical Eng: Santa Barbara vs. CU Boulder vs. U Michigan vs. U Delaware

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I've gotten into the schools mentioned above for chemical engineering PhD (leaning bio centered research) and would appreciate input regarding all of your opinions on these schools (if you've gone there, applied, heard anything etc.)

At this point my ultimate goal is to head toward academia though this largely could change depending on how the PhD process ends up going. I know the ranking changes every year (if anyone has an updated list of top 20 I would appreciate it) but I believe santa barbara is around 7, delaware 10, michigan 12, and boulder around 17. Since these are all top 20, is there a large significance between say santa barbara and boulder?

There are a few teachers in each schools department which interest me, and I assume I will have a better idea after visiting, regardless I appreciate any input! 

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I don't think I could provide any better advice than information you'd gain by visiting, but the the current Top 20 based on US News and World Report are shown below. Also, it's worth checking out http://phds.org/rankings/chemical-engineering as another ranking option, although realize that the individual department statistics are about 6 years outdated.

1) MIT

2) UC Berkeley

3) Caltech

4) Stanford

5) Minnesota - Twin Cities

6) UT Austin

6) UW - Madison

8) Princeton

9) Georgia Tech

9) UCSB

9) Delaware

12) UIUC

12) Michigan - Ann Arbor

14) Carnegie Mellon

14) Purdue

16) Cornell

16) Northwestern

16) Colorado - Boulder

16) UPenn

20) Johns Hopkins

Edited by Argon

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Just for the record, the ones I posted were from 2016.

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from my naive perspective, SB and delaware are probably a tier above UM, UC boulder. However, they are all excellent schools. You should go with your gut based on how the visits felt. I think academia is based more on the individual (ie, you) than the school you attend.

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