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USNWR Engineering Rankings


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Well, the annual dumpster fire known as USNWR's Graduate School Rankings comes out tonight. I have found alternative sources for information that is important to me (ASEE, NSF HERD), but USNWR, for better or worse, commands everyone's attention. Just wanted to get the ball rolling on a discussion that I am curious to hear people's thoughts on.

Q: What aspects of the rankings/published information do you find useful?

Q: What aspects of the rankings/published information do you find to be pointless?

In terms of useful information, I do like looking at the peer ratings (academic and industry). I don't fixate on a 0.1 or 0.2 difference in reputation, but getting a feel for the general perception of schools is a useful sanity check for me. There exceptions like UCSB, which seems to get an unjustifiably low peer academic rating.

In terms of junk, I think the acceptance rates (and to a lesser extent GRE scores) are a useless measure of program selectivity. Most of the top 20-30 schools have roughly the same acceptance rates. The exceptions are the smaller programs. Of course, this also benefits schools like Wisconsin that seem to game this measure. I mean, does anyone think Wisconsin is the most selective engineering school out there?

Then there's the "total graduate enrollment." Not sure why diploma mills should get credit for enrolling a bazillion students, but they do.

Here are somethings I would like to see added the rankings:

(1) Percent of Graduate Students on Appointments (RA/TA/Fellow)

(2) Median Stipend (adjust for CoL)

(3) Some citation measure. Median h-index for the school? Or is this something that would be better if used to gauge individual departments since some fields are easier to generate citations in than others?


Edited by DiscoTech
grammar + content
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