BioE@UMD: Strong Performance in New Rankings Study

A new set of rankings published September 28, 2010 by the National Research Council (NRC) places the Fischell Department of Bioengineering's (BioE) graduate program among the top 20 in the nation, which also includes institutions such as the University of California–San Diego, MIT, Rice University, and Johns Hopkins University.

The NRC, which functions under the National Academies, compiled its report over the course of five years, with data collected between 2005 and 2006. The rankings, which cover research-doctoral programs in a variety of fields, are distinct from the popular U.S. News and World Report rankings, and are based entirely on data—including number of faculty, publications, citations, student funding, program resources and degrees awarded—rather than reputation. They are also unique in that there is no school at number one, and no school is given a specific position on the list. Instead, the NRC's rankings are expressed as a range a school is most likely to fall into, based on a level of confidence or certainty at both a high (5th percentile) and low (95th percentile) value.

Each school received two overall rankings, one representing a survey of data ("S") and the other representing a regression analysis ("R"). In BioE's case, its scores in the S ranking were 7 (5th percentile) and 27 (95th percentile), meaning the NRC feels 95% certain the department's Ph.D. program should be ranked at number 27 or higher, and 5% certain it would rank as high as number 7. BioE's R scores were 12 and 27.

"This is fantastic news," says BioE Professor and Chair William Bentley, "especially when you consider that the Graduate Program in Bioengineering was only about three years old when the data were collected. My interpretation of the data is that if we rank our and other programs based on mode values, the Fischell Department of Bioengineering comes in at approximately 14th overall and 6th among public schools.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment," he added. "The efforts of our faculty, staff and students, from the start of the graduate program to this point, have made the Fischell Department of Bioengineering the fastest rising in the nation."

For detailed information about the NRC rankings, including tables of information and downloadable reports, please visit the National Academies' Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs web site »

Published October 1, 2010