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CMU's computer engineering No. 1, beating MIT, Stanford

Tuesday, April 03, 2001

By Bill Schackner, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

This year, at least, the nation's No. 1 program in computer engineering is on the Oakland campus of Carnegie Mellon University, according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking, based on a survey of engineering school deans, brought a wave of euphoria to campus yesterday. So did several other strong graduate school scores, in engineering, business, public affairs, economics and psychology.

 
    U.S. News & World Report's top 20 computer engineering graduate schools

1. Carnegie Mellon University

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3. Stanford University

4. University of California--Berkeley

5. University of Illinois--Urbana/Champaign

6. University of Texas--Austin

7. University of Washington

8. University of Michigan--Ann Arbor

9. Princeton University

10. Cornell University

11. University of Wisconsin--Madison

12. Georgia Institute of Technology

13. Purdue University

14. California Institute of Technology

15. University of Southern California

16. University of California--Los Angeles (tie)

University of California--San Diego (tie)

18. Rice University

19. University of Maryland

20. North Carolina State University

 
 

It's the first time Carnegie Mellon has finished first in a specific engineering discipline, said President Jared Cohon.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for the record, was ranked second. Stanford University finished third.

"It's a dream of any faculty member to work in a department that is ranked number one," said Pradeep Khosla, a professor and head of Carnegie Mellon's electrical and computer engineering department, trying his best not to sound like a World Series winner.

Khosla said there really is only a slight difference among programs in the top 10. "Still," he said with a tinge of satisfaction in his voice, "one is one, and two is two."

The rankings will appear in the magazine's annual newsstand book this month.

Down the street, parts of the University of Pittsburgh were basking in the limelight, too, and not just within the medical school, which traditionally ranks high among its peers.

The university's Katz Graduate School of Business nudged back into a four-way tie for 50th among business schools in the survey, having been knocked out of the rankings last year.

And the university's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs inched up a notch from 20th to a tie for 19th. Its nonprofit-management program was ranked ninth in the country.

The medical school's research ranking slipped from 19th to a tie for 20th, Pitt spokesman Ken Service said. But in the category of primary care, it rose from 37th to a tie for 28th.

Service said the significance to Pitt is that it continues to have a number of areas on campus recognized as being among the nation's best.

The annual rite of grading schools is both savior and scourge to campuses aware that prospective students use them as a scorecard in picking schools. Among the proliferation of college rankings, those in U.S. News are among the most widely known.

Deans of many schools complain that rankings are subjective and often based on methodology that changes from year to year. Just the same, they live and die by moves up or down, and in some cases even take rankings into account when developing strategic plans.

"It's the normal problem facing a service marketer," said Katz School Dean Frederick Winter. "Your customers really can't judge a service prior to it being delivered, so you try to use any kind of statistic or number to build your case, to demonstrate excellence.

"The ones who do well tout it," he said. "I think anybody in the business knows they aren't terribly valid."

The U.S. News rankings include business, education, engineering, law and medicine as well as other fields such as health and public affairs.

Overall, Carnegie Mellon's business school ranked 17th, while Penn State University's tied with five other schools for 35th.

Among business specialty programs, Carnegie Mellon's management information systems ranked second and its production operations management program ranked third. Its quantitative analysis program finished second.

Penn State's school of education was in a four-way tie for 26th and Pitt's tied for 47th. Among specialty education programs, Penn State ranked 10th in administrative/supervision; second in higher education administration; second in vocational-technical; and sixth in counseling personnel services.

Among engineering schools, Carnegie Mellon ranked eighth overall and Penn State tied for 14th. Among specialty engineering programs, Penn State ranked fourth in industrial manufacturing; ninth in materials; and eighth among agricultural programs.

Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School tied for seventh overall among public affairs schools. The university's doctoral program in psychology ranked in a ninth-place tie; and its doctoral program in economics tied for 19th. The university's cognitive psychology program was ranked second behind Stanford.



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