University of Virginia Holds Steady in Latest U.S. News Rankings: No. 2 Among National Public Universities, No. 23 Overall

Aug. 22, 2008 — The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings are out, and the University of Virginia's standing remains the same: second among national public universities and 23rd among all American colleges and universities.

The 2009 rankings, released today, mark the fifth straight year that U.Va. has been second among public universities behind the University of California-Berkeley. The University has been first or second in each of the 12 years since the magazine began publishing a separate ranking of national public universities, defined as those that "offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master's and doctoral degrees."

U.Va.'s standing among all universities, public and private, has also remained remarkably stable. It has been ranked between 20th and 24th every year since 1997, and has appeared in the top 24 every year since the magazine's rankings first appeared in 1988.

U.S. News rates colleges and universities using a complex formula that takes into account several components, grouped into seven main factors. Not surprisingly given the stability of its rankings, U.Va.'s marks rose in three categories, fell in three others and remained the same in the most heavily weighted: its reputation in a survey of presidents, provosts and deans of admission, measured at 4.3 on a one-to-five scale.

U.Va. appeared 16th in the magazine's "Great Schools, Great Prices: National Universities" rankings, and 23rd in economic diversity, a measure of the percentage of students receiving federal Pell grants. U.Va.'s first-year experience rated it as one of 33 "Programs to Look For," but getting in on that experience is difficult: The University ranked 34th on the list of schools with the lowest acceptance rates, at 36 percent. Once in, though, students graduate within six years at a 93 percent clip, 14th in the nation. Perhaps encouraged by the first-year experience and the graduation rate, high school guidance counselors give U.Va. an average ranking of 4.6 out of five, tied for 17th-best in the country.

U.S. News also rated several (but not all) undergraduate programs, and U.Va. was well represented. The McIntire School of Commerce was judged as having the sixth-best business program in the country, while the School of Engineering and Applied Science ranked 28th in undergraduate engineering programs among universities granting doctoral degrees. This was a jump from No. 35 last year.

Several programs within those schools were also recognized.

Four Commerce School disciplines ranked in the top 12 nationally: management (sixth), finance (eighth), marketing (ninth) and accounting (12th).

In the Engineering School, three specialties earned top-20 mentions: biomedical engineering (15th), chemical engineering (19th) and electrical engineering (19th).