UMass Amherst Ranked in U.S. News Listing of Top Graduate Programs in the Nation

AMHERST, Mass. - The College of Engineering and the departments of computer science and polymer science and engineering at the University of Massachusetts all received top ratings in U.S. News & World Report''s year 2000 rankings of "America''s Best Graduate Schools."

Under the sciences, previously ranked in 1996, the UMass department of polymer science and engineering is ranked Number 1 in a list of specialty programs under the chemistry category. The computer science department is tied for Number 21 in the country, and is Number 6 in the specialty listing of artificial intelligence (AI) programs.

The College of Engineering is listed Number 46 in the country out of the nation''s 221 graduate engineering programs.

The rankings are in the magazine''s issue dated March 29 that will be on the newsstands March 22. New rankings this year are in business, law, medicine, engineering, education, and library science, along with Ph.D. programs in biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, and physics. Other programs are listed in the guidebook and on the magazine''s Web site but are from rankings first published in 1997 or 1998, according to a press statement issued by the magazine. The magazine has been ranking the nation''s graduate schools since 1987.

School rankings are based on objective data such as student selectivity, faculty resources, and research activity, plus two sets of reputation ratings, one from deans and faculty members and one from people outside academia who are likely to hire or come in contact with new graduates. Master''s and doctoral programs are ranked by reputation based upon surveys of the dean or top administrator and at least one other administrator or faculty member at each school.

Cora B. Marrett, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, said: "These new rankings confirm the strength of some of our programs, and also indicate the University''s national leadership in some important, cutting-edge disciplines, such as materials science and artificial intelligence."

Joseph I. Goldstein, dean of engineering, said the continued high ranking of the College of Engineering (the school has been in the top 50 for a number of years) is due in large part to the "continued high quality of the faculty." He said: "I am looking forward to even higher rankings when the positive aspects of our capital campaign begin to kick in."

Tom McCarthy, acting department head of polymer science and engineering, said: "We''re delighted with the ranking. As long as we continue to recruit and train the very best graduate students and work at the most important frontiers of polymer science, that ranking should continue."

Rick Adrion, former computer science department chair who discussed the rankings in the absence of department chair James F. Kurose, said: "Being in the top 25 is a nice recognition of the quality of the department and reflects the more rigorous and broader rankings from the National Research Council. While all ratings have to be taken with a grain of salt, these rankings recognize one of our real strengths." He said from its very beginning, "the artificial intelligence program has been viewed as one of the top AI programs in the country."