The National Research Council released its long-awaited assessment of the nation's doctoral programs in September, ranking four CU engineering doctoral programs—aerospace, chemical, mechanical, and civil engineering—as high as the top 10 in their field.
The NRC conducted a more comprehensive assessment than offered by popular ranking systems such as U.S. News and World Report, although it is not without controversy. The NRC rankings are based on 20 indicators ranging from number of students in 2005, to faculty publications from 2001 to 2006, to graduation rates, to faculty honors and awards, which were all combined using a lengthy and complex statistical analysis process.
The NRC reported what it calls "illustrative" ranges of rankings on overall program quality and on three dimensions of doctoral education—research activity, student support and outcomes, and gender and ethnic diversity of the academic environment.
Addendum: The NRC published recalculated rankings in April 2011 to correct errors in the data initially released in September 2010. The revised NRC rankings listed three CU engineering doctoral programs—aerospace, mechanical and civil engineering—as high as the top 10 or top 10 percent in their field.