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MIT Drops to Fifth In U.S. News Rank

By Ramy A. Arnaout
Executive Editor

MIT ranked fifth in this year's U.S. News & World Report survey of the nation's best colleges, down from fourth place last year.

The Institute also placed well in a National Research Council study released Tuesday.

Harvard University again topped the U.S. News annual ranking, while Princeton and Yale Universities tied for second. Stanford University ranked fourth, edging out MIT by a tenth of a percentage point in overall score.

"I believe that we did very well in the U.S. News undergraduate survey," Provost Joel Moses PhD '57 said. "Although we placed below Stanford, it was only by 0.1 points, which is in the noise in my opinion."

The overall score is a weighted average of U.S. News' ratings of schools in several categories, including school reputation, financial and faculty resources, student retention, and alumni satisfaction.

Like last year, MIT tied with Harvard and Stanford for best academic reputation in the annual ranking. The Institute came in fourth in student selectivity, but only 16th in alumni satisfaction.

MIT tied with Stanford as the top-rated engineering school, followed by the California Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon and Cornell Universities in the U.S. News ranking.

Ranked by discipline, MIT came in first in aerospace, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering. It also placed first in both materials and computer science, but ranked fourth in civil engineering and fifth in both biomedical and environmental engineering.

The survey rated the Institute's Sloan School of Management the nation's third-best business school behind the University of California at Berkeley's Haas School and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Sloan took top honors in quantitative analysis and operations management and second place in management of information systems.

The U.S. News ranking did not explicitly compare undergraduate programs in fields other than business and engineering.

Federal study rates grad programs

In an unrelated rating, the results of an exhaustive congressional study of graduate programs, released Tuesday, ranked many MIT departments among the top one or two in the nation. The study is the first of its kind in 13 years.

The four-year study, which was done by the independent National Research Council at Congress' request, placed MIT's graduate program in linguistics - together with a host of biological disciplines - tops in the nation.

MIT ranked in the top two or three in engineering fields and economics, but only fifth in chemistry. Recently, however, the U.S. News annual ranking of graduate schools, released in March, rated MIT's graduate program in chemistry no. 1 ["U.S. News Ranks Sloan School First," March 10].

"In the NRC survey we also did very well," Moses said. "We surely would have wanted more no. 1 rankings, but our overall results are outstanding. As before, the differences at the top are often minuscule," he said.

In the 22 fields in which MIT was were rated, and in the two major categories of faculty quality and teaching effectiveness, MIT programs were rated in the top three in 34 out of 44 possibilities, Moses said. "This is by far the highest such score in the country,"Moses said.

"I believe that this survey, which like all surveys must indeed be taken with a grain of salt, shows once again that MIT is extremely strong, and almost uniformly so."