UC Merced’s graduate programs climbed the U.S. News & World Report’s newest rankings of Best Graduate Schools, an indication the university is gaining prestige, according to school leaders.
The report released this week put the school of engineering at No. 127 in the nation, up from the debut at No. 140 in 2015.
UC Merced’s psychology program also hopped up the rankings, appearing at No. 90, an improvement from No. 158 in 2015. The environmental engineering program debuted this year at No. 70, according to school officials.
The campus also ranked No. 135 in electrical engineering.
Where the environmental engineering program debuted
Dean Mark Matsumoto lauded the school’s improvement. “This ranking is an indication of a maturing school of engineering with an improving reputation,” Matsumoto said in a statement. “This milestone is due to the quality of the faculty and students we are recruiting.”
U.S. News surveyed graduate programs at more than 200 schools that grant doctoral degrees, and the rankings are based on a variety of criteria, according to a news release. For the engineering ranking, factors included average standardized test scores, acceptance rate, student-to-faculty ratio and research activity.
Officials pointed to UC Merced’s environmental research initiatives as a factor in that program’s ranking. Some include the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, UC Water, UC Solar and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.
This ranking is an indication of a maturing school of engineering with an improving reputation. This milestone is due to the quality of the faculty and students we are recruiting.
Mark Matsumoto, the dean of the school of engineering
The U.S. News rankings in psychology are based on peer assessment surveys from academics in each discipline, according to a news release.
Since opening in 2005 as the first research university built in the 21st century, UC Merced has grown from 875 students to more than 7,000, with plans to enroll up to 10,000 students after the completion of the Merced 2020 Project.
UC Merced made its debut on the U.S. News overall Best Colleges list last year, ranking No. 78 among public universities and No. 152 overall. A number of other lists, like those from Washington Monthly and Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, have also ranked UC Merced.
Rising in the rankings is particularly worth noting because the school is so young, according to Marjorie Zatz, the school’s vice provost and graduate dean.