MIT ranks third among national universities, first in undergraduate engineering programs among schools that offer engineering PhDs, and ties for the top spot in undergraduate business programs, according to America's Best Colleges, US News & World Report's latest college guidebook.
For the second year in a row, MIT moved up a notch in the best colleges ranking. The Institute shared the #4 ranking with Stanford University last year and held the #6 slot in 1997.
This year, the California Institute of Technology received the #1 ranking; Harvard placed second, Princeton and Yale Universities tied for #4 and Stanford University remained at #6.
"I am very pleased that MIT has been rated as one of the very top universities in terms of undergraduate education," said President Charles M. Vest. "It's interesting to see the strong presence of science and technology in the top range of this year's rankings.
"Of course, there's a large dose of subjectivity and hair-splitting in the details of these rankings, but it's clear that the excellence of our programs and resources places MIT in the stratosphere of US undergraduate education."
MIT shares the top ranking in undergraduate business programs with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Institute sits alone in the top slot for undergraduate engineering schools that offer PhDs. Among schools that offer bachelor's and master's degrees but not doctoral engineering degrees, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana was ranked first.
MIT is among the top eight schools in terms of campus racial and ethnic diversity, earning a diversity index of 0.64 (1.0 is the highest possible). Rutgers University is ranked as the most diverse with an index of 0.71.
In the "Great Schools at Great Prices" rankings, MIT stands at #21. The University of Missouri at Columbia leads the way at #1, followed by Caltech at #2, Harvard at #3 and Stanford at #4.
Best college rankings in the guidebook were determined by judging the academic quality of more than 1,400 schools based on a formula that relies upon objective data -- such as freshmen retention and graduation rates, student-faculty ratio and class size -- for 75 percent of the measurement. The remaining 25 percent is based on a reputational survey of university presidents, provosts and deans of admission.
Rankings for undergraduate business and engineering programs are based on ratings by deans and senior faculty of peer institutions in their disciplines. Those rankings were not made last year.
Other indicators used to capture academic quality were faculty salary; proportion of the faculty that is full-time; proportion of professors holding the highest degree in their field; student selectivity; average spending per student on research, instruction and education-related services; and alumni/ae giving rate.
Other New England schools ranked include Dartmouth College, which tied for #11. Brown University tied with two others for #14, Tufts University tied for #29, Brandeis University was #31 and Boston College was #39.
In the undergraduate engineering programs at schools whose highest degree is a PhD, Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley shared the #2 ranking. Caltech and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shared the #4 spot.
UC-Berkeley took fourth spot in the top undergraduate business programs, with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia in a three-way tie for fifth.
America's Best Colleges went on sale August 24.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 25, 1999.