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Top 50: UCF Materials Science & Engineering Jumps 21 Points in New National Rankings

By: Kimberly J. Lewis | March 29, 2018

University of Central Florida’s Materials Science and Engineering graduate program, which advanced 21 points to rank No. 50 in the nation, is among 25 UCF programs ranked in the top 100 of their fields by the recently released U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of 2019.

UCF’s biggest point-gain improvement in the rankings was Physics, which moved up 24 points to No. 61. UCF has experienced an upward trend in the number of programs on the top 100 list. There were 18 programs ranked in 2017, followed by 22 in 2018.

The UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science ranks No. 75 Best Graduate Engineering Schools among the hundreds ranked. All eight of its eligible graduate programs rank in the top 100: Industrial Engineering (39), Materials Engineering (50), Computer Engineering (53), Electrical Engineering (55), Mechanical Engineering (75), Civil Engineering (76), Environmental Engineering (76) and Computer Science (82).

Sudipta Seal, Ph.D., chair, UCF Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), credits the department’s research strengths in additive manufacturing, electronics, smart- and bio-materials, as well as state-of-the-art large-scale advanced characterization equipment, all supported by major funders, for the ranking jump. Key research funding sources are the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and other government and industry partners.

“The ranking is a testament to MSE’s accomplishments nationally and internationally,” Seal said. “It’s the result of a collective effort of our faculty, students and staff fueling the innovation in tomorrow’s material discovery and creating technology commercialization and economic development.”

MSE doctoral student Golareh Jalilvand speaks highly of her student experience. “Joining the MSE department at UCF gave me the opportunity to understand the language of both the scientist and the engineer. The technical courses, plus the chance to practice what I learn in the class on advanced equipment and, most importantly, implementing those learnings in ongoing high-tech industrial projects… my doctoral experience couldn’t be any better.”

The MSE department has added new faculty in the past year to support UCF clustered research in prosthetics, energy propulsion, renewable energy; and focused research in biomedical polymers, flexible smart materials, and cutting edge manufacturing fuels. MSE’s national visibility has increased by landing  prestigious faculty and student awards, and by hosting materials science and engineering scholars, chairs and national academy members from around the U.S. in its Distinguished Seminar Series.

UCF’s top-ranked program this year is Emergency Management and Homeland Security, which is ranked No. 6 in the nation. The ranking category is new this year for the magazine. The university’s program is in the School of Public Administration.

The next highest UCF rankings were Nonprofit Management, which jumped five spots to No. 12, and Optics & Photonics, which jumped two places to No. 12.

In addition to Emergency Management and Homeland Security, there were three other programs that appeared in the top 100 for the first time: Public Finance and Budgeting, Public Management and Leadership, and Public Policy Analysis. Those are all new specialty categories in the magazine’s rankings.

U.S. News & World Report’s rankings in business, education, engineering, law, medicine and nursing are designed for prospective students looking to continue their education and advance their careers. More than 800 institutions are reviewed based on peer and expert opinions about the quality of programs and statistical data that measures the quality of a school’s faculty, research and students.