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September 13, 2001

Pitt drops 1 place in U.S. News rankings of PhD-granting public universities

Pitt tied for 39th among the nation's Ph.D.-granting public universities in the U.S. News & World Report's annual America's best colleges issue, a drop of one spot from last year's rankings.

Tied with Pitt in the 39th slot among public institutions were Clemson, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the University of Arizona and the University of Kansas.

The University of California-Berkeley got the top spot among the publics.

In a separate U.S. News & World Report ranking of all national universities, 249 public and private schools, Pitt again this year finished in the second tier, numbers 53-130, which the magazine lists alphabetically.

The rankings for national schools are derived from a comparison of seven indicators: academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving rate and graduation rate performance.

The last indicator, graduation rate performance, is defined as the difference between a school's six-year graduation rate for the class that entered in 1994 and the predicted rate for that class; the predicted rate is calculated using a formula that accounts for the standardized tests scores of 1994-entering students and the school's expenditures on the students.

If the actual graduation rate is higher than the predicted rate, the school is judged to have enhanced the students' achievement. For example, Pitt's predicted six-year graduation rate was 60 percent, while the actual count was 66 percent, according to the magazine.

U.S. News defines "national universities — doctoral" (as opposed to "national liberal arts colleges — bachelor's," "regional universities — master's" or "regional comprehensive colleges — bachelor's") as those that offer a "full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master's and doctoral degrees; many strongly emphasize research." The categories were developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and were adopted this year by U.S. News. The magazine has ranked colleges annually since 1983.

Pennsylvania institutions ranked among the top 50 national universities — doctoral were the University of Pennsylvania (tied for 6th with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University), Carnegie Mellon (tied for 23rd with Georgetown University), Lehigh University (tied for 38th with Boston College and Case Western Reserve University) and Penn State University (tied for 46th with Tulane University).

The top spot overall was held by Princeton, with Harvard and Yale tied for 2nd.

Pitt's Johnstown campus was ranked 4th in the northern region among public schools in the sub-category of "comprehensive colleges — bachelor's," that is, those public institutions that focus on undergraduate education and offer a range of degree programs, with liberal arts accounting for fewer than half of their bachelor's degrees awarded. There are 322 public and private comprehensive colleges — bachelor's ranked by four regions of the country.

The overall top spot in the northern region was held by Stonehill College, a private institution in Massachusetts.

Undergraduate business and engineering programs on the Pittsburgh campus also were nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Pitt's business program finished tied for 35th (tied for 21st among public universities). There are 350 accredited undergraduate business programs. In the overall rankings, Carnegie Mellon ranked tied for 7th; Penn State ranked tied for 14th.

Among the 183 accredited undergraduate engineering programs for universities that grant Ph.D.s as their highest degree, Pitt's program tied for 63rd; it tied for 36th among public institutions.

Carnegie Mellon finished tied for 7th and Penn State ranked tied for 14th overall.

The college ratings were published in the Sept. 17 issue of the magazine and are posted at U.S. News & World Report's web site:

–Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 34 Issue 2

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