The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 58.0°F | Partly Cloudy

U.S. News Ranks Sloan School First
Engineering rates first for 6th year


Sharon N. Young Pong -- The Tech
President Charles M. Vest, John B. Vander Sande, associate dean of engineering, GLen L. Urban, dean of the Sloan School of Management, and Professor Paul L. Joskow, head of the Department of Economics, spoke ye4sterday at a press conference about the annual U.S. News & World Report survey of graduate schools, which ranked Sloan dn the School of Engineering first in their fields.

By Jeremy Hylton
Technology Director

The School of Engineering, which has headed U.S. News & World Report's annual survey of graduate schools since the survey was started six years ago, will share the limelight this year with the Sloan School of Management, which was ranked as the top business school.

The rankings, announced yesterday, will be published in the magazine's March 13 issue.

At a press conference yesterday, President Charles M. Vest said that the No. 1 rankings in engineering and management were a special honor for the Institute. "It is very meaningful indeed that this kind of synergy can develop within a single institution," Vest said.

"America's future in the world economy depends on innovation - technological innovation and organizational innovation. They are increasingly linked," Vest said.

In rankings of specific disciplines, the Department of Economics shared No. 1 with four other schools, six engineering programs were ranked No. 1, and the Department of Political Science was ranked eighth.

The Sloan School edged out the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School by a score of 100 to 99.8. Stanford University, the top business school last year, fell to third, and Harvard and Northwestern Universities rounded out the top five.

In engineering, the University of California at Berkeley moved into the second position behind MIT. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford, and the California Institute of Technology followed.

Vest said that the No. 1 rankings should be cause for celebration - and should also serve as a reminder of the important role for American research universities.

"Great research universities like MIT must be sustained to educate our best and brightest and to generate new knowledge and technologies," Vest said. "The American public must understand this. The Congress must understand this."

Several factors considered

The business school rankings were decided based on a combination of subjective and objective measures. Recruiters and academics were asked to rank the schools' reputations, which accounted for 20 percent of the final score.

The survey also measured student selectivity, placement success, graduates' starting salaries, and the quality of students.

"This ranking is a recognition of the relevance of Sloan's practical approach to management education, which draws on the creative and collaborative approaches common in engineering and science to give business leaders a competitive edge," Urban said.

"By these metrics we are No. 1, but we still have a lot to do," Urban said.

The top ranking comes just as the Sloan School is about to increase the size of its master of business administration program by 33 percent. Next year Sloan will also reduce the size of its cohorts, or class groups.

The school is expanding its international programs, including management education programs in Singapore and China, and plans to develop programs for alumni to take post-graduate classes and remain in contact with the school, Urban said.

Engineering still first

The School of Engineering ranked first in several of the individual categories used to compute the overall engineering ranking. MIT was first in rank by academics and by practicing engineers and first in research activity, based on both the amount of research funding and the amount of research funding per faculty member.

The survey also ranked the top five programs in 12 engineering speciality fields. MIT was first in aerospace, chemical, civil, materials/metallurgical, mechanical, and nuclear engineering.

Because of MIT's continuing dominance in engineering, one of the surprises in this year's rankings was second place rankings in two categories: computer engineering and electrical engineering. The Institute's biomedical engineering program was ranked fourth overall.

Vander Sande, speaking for Dean of Engineering Joel Moses PhD '67 who was chairing a meeting of engineering deans in Washington, said that he was pleased that the school had again been ranked first, but that it had no intention of resting on its laurels.

"The world is changing and we need to be changing our research and education accordingly," Vander Sande said. "Engineers today need to be able to deal with much more complex systems than in the past."

Vander Sande said that master's degree programs would become more important, as would programs that considered engineering in a broader context. He cited as an example an increasing need for engineers to work in teams to solve complicated problems.

Five-way tie in economics

U.S. News & World Report also ranked six liberal arts programs, including economics and political science. MIT ranked first in economics, in a five-way tie with Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and Princeton University.

The Department of Political Science was ranked eighth overall; it received 4.2 points on a 5 point scale, compared to top-ranked Harvard's score of 4.8.

For the first time, the survey also included rankings of specific specialties within economics. The Institute was first-ranked in public finance and industrial organization, and second-ranked in micro- and macro-economics and in internal economics.

Professor Paul L. Joskow, head of the Department of Economics, spoke briefly at the press conference yesterday. He said the department was pleased to be first-ranked and did not mind sharing the spotlight with so many other schools. "We created the competition," he said, referring to the many MIT alumni who teach in other highly regarded departments.