Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
For the eighth consecutive year, MIT ranked #1 among graduate engineering schools in US News and World Report's annual rating of American graduate schools.
The magazine ranked the MIT School of Architecture and Planning second, or three places higher than 1994 when these programs were last evaluated. The Sloan School of Management, second in 1996 and first the previous year, dropped to fourth. MIT has been the #1 engineering school in the country in every survey conducted by the magazine.
"I am very pleased by this continuing recognition of the strength of our engineering and management schools, and by the fine ranking of the Department of Architecture," said President Charles M. Vest. "Frankly, the hair-splitting differences among the programs are not very significant, but it is important to be considered to be among the very best. I particularly note that engineering is rated #1 by both our academic and industrial colleagues."
The magazine ranked doctoral science programs in 1996 and humanities and social sciences in 1995. These programs were not rated this year. However, US News continues to list these rankings on its Web page.
In the 1996 survey, MIT and the University of California at Berkeley finished first in four of six categories of doctoral science programs. MIT was tied for first place with Harvard, Stanford and UC-Berkeley in biological sciences; for first in computer science with Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and UC-Berkeley; for first in mathematics with Harvard, Princeton and UC-Berkeley; and for first in physics with the California Institute of Technology and Harvard. MIT tied for second in chemistry with Caltech and Harvard (UC-Berkeley finished first) and was second, a tenth of a point behind Caltech, in geology.
In the 1995 survey, MIT tied for first in economics (with Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and the University of Chicago) and mathematics (with Harvard, Princeton and UC-Berkeley). MIT was ranked eighth in political science behind Harvard, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Chicago, Princeton and Yale.
Details of the 1997 survey follow:
The rankings, which will appear in US News and World Report's March 10 issue, list MIT as No.1 among 219 engineering schools in seven of 10 graduate programs offered at the school. The Institute tied for second in another program and was third in the other two. MIT was ranked first in reputation among academics and practicing engineers, first in research and second in faculty resources.
The rankings, which started in 1990, placed Stanford second among the engineering programs, followed by UC-Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Tech and Caltech.
US News gauged research activity, student selectivity and faculty resources, and conducted two surveys to determine reputation. Engineering school deans were asked to rate each program, and members of the National Academy of Engineering were asked to name the top 25 programs based on their experience with recent graduates.
MIT was ranked #1 in the following engineering disciplines: aerospace, chemical, computer, electrical/electronic, material/metallurgical, mechanical and nuclear. The Institute tied for second with Duke in biomedical engineering behind Johns Hopkins, and finished third in civil and environmental engineering.
UC-Berkeley topped the civil engineering schools, followed by Illinois. Stanford was #1 in environmental engineering, followed by the University of Michigan. The two categories in which MIT was unranked--agriculture and industrial/manufacturing--are not offered at the Institute.
"The continued acknowledgment of the quality of our graduate engineering programs is very gratifying, and is a tribute to the quality of our faculty, staff and graduate students," said Robert Brown, dean of the School of Engineering. "What is most exciting is that the School continues to evolve in new dimensions that combine engineering, science and practice and that will continue to help define engineering education in the years to come."
MIT finished second behind Harvard among accredited schools that offer master's degrees in architecture. Deans, top administrators and senior faculty at each school were asked to rank the reputations of the programs by considering a school's scholarship, curriculum and quality of faculty and students. The voters did not rank their own programs.
"The ranking, limited though it is in being based solely on a survey of deans and senior faculty, gratifyingly represents our enhanced reputation among senior colleagues," said Professor Stanford Anderson, head of the Department of Architecture.
Since architecture programs were last ranked, MIT has revamped its curriculum, renewed physical facilities and developed a leading program in design and computation. In addition, new faculty have come on board, including many distinguished senior designers, artists and visitors.
While doing this, the School of Architecture and Planning has maintained a high level of accomplishment in areas than range from history through many aspects of urban design and building technology.
"In the last few years, we have worked very hard to raise the Department of Architecture to the very highest levels of quality," said Dean William J. Mitchell. "We have rebuilt the faculty by hiring some terrific young people. We have developed a strong new research thrust in design and computation. We have created crucially important new design space and we have significantly reformed the Master of Architecture curriculum. We aren't satisfied yet, but it's good to see our efforts are getting some recognition."
The Sloan School, fourth among 300 MBA programs, trailed Stanford, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Sloan's rating of 98.7 was a mere 1.3 points behind Stanford's top score of 100.
The Sloan School was rated No.1 in management information systems, production/operations management and quantitative analysis. It ranked fourth in real estate and fifth in finance.
The top six graduate schools of business all were rated No. 1 in reputation by the academics polled. The University of Chicago finished fifth and Northwestern University's Kellogg School was sixth.
"I am pleased that Sloan has again been recognized as one of the country's top management schools," said Dean Glen L. Urban. "Our consistently high ratings illustrate the relevance of balancing theory and practice in management education, which draws on the creative, analytic and collaborative approaches common in engineering and science to give business leaders a competitive edge. In this way, we provide a solid base of technical expertise coupled with communication, team-building and leadership skills."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 5, 1997.