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March 29, 2022 View/share from our web page

U.S. rankings: Purdue remains engineering royalty; sciences rise, and analytical chemistry, ABE No. 1 in respective fields

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Home to national hubs for hypersonics and cybersecurity research, a sprawling innovation district and graduates who are among the most in demand in professional areas such as health care, finance and consulting, aviation and aerospace, and manufacturing, Purdue University has seen graduate student enrollment reach an all-time high — up 16% from last year and 43% over the last decade.

Why such success? A look at the newest U.S. News & World Report Graduate School rankings provides a strong clue.

For the second consecutive year, Purdue’s College of Engineering graduate program is No. 4 nationally in the rankings, released Tuesday (March 29).

Seven of the College of Engineering’s graduate programs are in the top 10 of their areas, and 11 departmental programs made the top-15 rankings in the country. The College of Science also lights up specialty lists, with 11 of its programs ranked.

Purdue’s Agricultural and Biological Engineering graduate program is in its familiar spot at the top. That’s nothing new: It has been ranked No. 1 the last two years (and either No. 1 or No. 2 in 11 of the last 12 years)  – with the ABE undergraduate program dominating the top spot the last 11 years. Analytical chemistry is in the No. 1 spot in its specialty area as well.

In addition to these accolades, the Graduate School has also seen the impact of a focused effort on enhancing diversity. During the five-year period that ended spring 2020, Purdue conferred the most doctorate degrees to Black students among peer R1 research institutions (those that reach certain benchmarks in research activity and funding as set by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) nationally and in the Big Ten – in the disciplines of chemistry, the physical sciences, veterinary medicine, computer science and statistics.

This strong diversity picture is based on a Purdue analysis compiled from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Additionally, Purdue ranked second among its R1 and Big Ten peer universities for the number of Ph.D.s granted to Black students in agricultural engineering and engineering-related technology during this period, the Purdue-IPEDS analysis shows.

“When I became dean of the Graduate School, I made a commitment to diversify graduate education at Purdue, and we are working to accomplish that through innovative programs, like our Graduate Diversity Visitation Program and Summer Research Opportunities Program,” said Linda Mason, dean of the Graduate School. “We understand that diversity fosters innovation, and innovation is the backbone of Purdue’s research enterprise. We are proud of the strides we’ve made as a university and understand that we still have more work to do.”

Tuesday’s Graduate School rankings come on the heels of the U.S. News & World Report’s Online rankings in January, in which Purdue Engineering also shows as elite. Purdue is third overall in online master’s programs from the College of Engineering, with master’s programs in electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering management all No. 1.

That persistent pursuit of excellence carried into the Graduate rankings across the board. Other than petroleum engineering, Purdue competes in all the engineering rankings, and it bettered last year’s ranking in eight of them. Engineering’s highlights show Purdue at:

  • No. 1 in agricultural and biological.
  • No. 5 in aerospace, up from No. 6 in the 2021 rankings.
  • No. 7 in both civil and industrial (up from No. 10).
  • No. 8 in mechanical.
  • No. 9 in both computer (up from 11) and electrical (up from 11).
  • No. 11 in both environmental (up from 14) and nuclear.
  • No. 13 in material, up from 17.
  • No. 14 in chemical, up from 16.
  • No. 29 in biomedical, up from 33 (No. 7 among those without a medical school).

“While any particular ranking is always partially noisy, the Pinnacle of Excellence at Scale in the caliber of engineering faculty, students and staff is reflected,” said Mung Chiang, executive vice president for strategic initiatives and the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “This year marks the first time on record for Purdue Engineering to be ranked among the nation’s top four in consecutive years. And this is the first time that we have, other than biomedical that competes against many with medical schools, all of the other 11 departmental rankings in the top 15, including seven in the top 10: upward momentum and stellar strength across the board.”  

Doctoral programs in the College of Science saw substantial increases in rankings, with 11 programs now listed among the best in their fields and analytical chemistry carrying the torch at No. 1.

Highlights include the continued strengthening of the experimental sciences at Purdue, with biology and physics each rising several places. Reflecting strong cross-campus investments in data science, Purdue is now ranked in the top 25 in statistics and computer science, including systems and theory, with programming languages and topology in the top 15.

“The progress reflected in these rankings is a direct result of our substantial efforts and investments to strengthen the sciences across Purdue, showing not only how much we are capable of achieving, but also how much more and greater potential remains,” said Patrick J. Wolfe, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science. “The sky is the limit, and we are working every day to define Purdue as a top destination for students looking for the best education in the science fields.”

Agricultural and biological engineering, operated by both the College of Agriculture and the College of Engineering, remains the gold standard in its field.

“Our college is extremely proud that we have the number 1 graduate and undergraduate Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department in the country,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. “What makes these the top programs in the country is a faculty world-renowned for their research and respected for their commitment to teaching future generations of scholars and innovators.”

In Krannert School of Management’s graduate program, the production operations program is No. 3, project management No. 7, supply chain management No. 9, business analytics No. 15 and information systems No. 19. In the College of Health and Human Sciences, the industrial psychology program is No. 7.

In other rankings, Purdue is No. 47 overall in education; in the top 50 in economics and psychology, No. 26 in nursing master's programs and 45 in doctor of nursing practice; and in the top 75 in public health graduate programs.

 “We are delighted to see the graduate programs in our newest department, Public Health — formed in July of 2019 — already ascending in the rankings,” said Marion Underwood, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. “Purdue is uniquely positioned to help meet the need for additional public health care workers and to enhance public health and health equity in Indiana, the nation, and the world. In addition to our strong and growing public health faculty, Purdue has particular strengths in pharmacy, nursing, health sciences, agriculture, food and nutrition science, veterinary medicine, engineering and extension. All can contribute to distinctly Purdue initiatives in public health and health equity.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.

Writer/Media contact: Jim Bush, jsbush@purdue.edu