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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

April 4, 2008

ISU statistics and engineering graduate programs jump in U.S. News rankings

by Mike Krapfl, News Service

The College of Engineering and statistics department jumped four spots in national rankings of graduate and professional schools published by U.S. News and World Report magazine.

The magazine's graduate rankings, now online at, rank the Engineering college 41st among all American universities and 24th among public schools. The overall number is a jump from last year's ranking of 45th.

The magazine also ranked the statistics department third among public graduate programs. Last year, the department ranked seventh.

Ken Koehler, University Professor and chair of statistics, attributed the high ranking to several factors: a $1.8 million National Science Foundation grant helped the department improve its graduate program and attract more doctoral students (it now has 90); the department recently hosted a major conference for users of software for statistical computing; and the department has one of the best survey sampling programs in the world.

He also said the Snedecor Hall remodeling project should help to recruit and retain faculty and graduate students.

Engineering dean Mark Kushner said he and faculty members have been working to spread the word about the quality of the college's teaching and research programs. He noted that several faculty members are serving on high-profile national committees. Because the rankings include a peer assessment score, Kushner said all of that outreach helps to build the college's reputation and rankings.

Kushner also noted that several engineering faculty are leaders in Iowa State's work in biorenewables programs.

An Iowa State engineer, in fact, is quoted in the issue of U.S. News and World Report that features the graduate rankings.

Robert C. Brown, the Iowa Farm Bureau director of the Bioeconomy Institute, tells the magazine that mechanical engineering is on the rise these days because mechanical engineers know energy and how to apply its laws to bring machines to life.

The magazine ranked several of the college's departments among the country's top 30 public programs. Aerospace engineering ranked 14th; industrial and manufacturing systems engineering ranked 17th; materials science and engineering ranked 17th; chemical engineering ranked 21st; electrical engineering ranked 21st; civil, construction and environmental engineering ranked 22nd; computer engineering ranked 25th; and mechanical engineering ranked 26th.

Top 25 public programs

The magazine also ranked several other Iowa State programs in math, science and education among the country's top 25 public programs: inorganic chemistry ranked 11th; analytical chemistry ranked 12th; student counseling and personnel services ranked 12th; and higher education administration ranked 15th.


Engineering and statistics moved up four spots in U.S. News and World Report magazine's graduate rankings.