UC Santa Barbara College of Engineering’s graduate programs have that perfect formula for the success of its students: access to labs, libraries, and other key resources; opportunities to take part in professional research projects with faculty members; a top-tier worldwide reputation; affordable tuition; and multiple career connections to industries in the region and beyond. It is this winning formula that has prompted Value Colleges to rank UC Santa Barbara No. 8 on its list of Top 50 Best Value Graduate Engineering Programs of 2016.
As in other rankings this year, such as U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly, UC campuses were high on the list. Four of the top 10 graduate engineering programs on Value Colleges' list are University of California institutions. The three other campuses are UC Berkeley, No. 2; UC San Diego, No. 5; and UCLA, No. 6.
Value Colleges based its rankings on three metrics: U.S. News & World Report 2016 Best Engineering Graduate Schools (UCSB was No. 23); cost of tuition (data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics); and PayScale’s 2016 College Salary Report, which ranks UCSB No. 7 (annual salary data reported for entry-level engineers at $67,600 and mid-level engineers at $131,000).
In its article, Value Colleges stated what makes UCSB a “prime place” for students to pursue their graduate engineering education:
“What sets UC Santa Barbara apart from the other University of California system institutions on the Best Value list? Aside from one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, including its own beach and an extensive system of biking and hiking trails for students’ physical and mental health? Well, one thing worth mentioning is UCSB Engineering’s dedication to ‘convergence,’ with more than 20 interdisciplinary research centers and a robust system of corporate connections that creates a pipeline from the laboratory to the real world. Seeing as synchronicity is the state of modern engineering and technology, UCSB – a ‘Public Ivy’ with affordable tuition and top-tier reputation – is a prime place for graduate students to prepare for engineering careers that will provide a sound return on investment.”
For more information and to read the complete list, read Value Colleges’ “Top 50 Best Value Graduate Engineering Programs of 2016.”
The GradPost interviewed several engineering graduate students to get their reactions to the honor and find out what they think makes UCSB’s graduate engineering programs so special. Here’s what they had to say:
Chris Sweeney, Computer Science Ph.D. student
"UCSB has provided me with a unique experience in grad school because of the breadth of research and the interaction between different departments and labs. My lab, the Four Eyes Lab, ranges in topics from computer vision to data visualization to augmented reality to social modeling, and we have a very close relationship with the Media Arts and Technology department. This crossover has influenced my research by exposing me to different applications and areas that I never would have otherwise encountered, and I think everyone benefits from this sort of interaction."
Kelly Ibsen, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student
"I am a non-traditional grad student, having worked for several years before deciding to pursue my Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. I picked UCSB because I knew it would provide both diverse research opportunities and an outstanding core engineering education, both of which are essential for a successful career in industry."
Morgan Vigil, Computer Science Ph.D. student
"I have been very pleased with my education in the Computer Science Department at UCSB. I have been well supported in my journey toward becoming an independent academic and I have been given numerous opportunities to pursue research that is cutting edge and personally meaningful. I feel confident that the guidance I am receiving from the Computer Science Department will serve me well as I continue in academia."
Justin Pearson, Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. student
"UCSB has a very special place in my heart, and my UCSB education continues to serve me well. I'm very proud to be a part of such a respectable academic community, and I'm pleased to see UCSB's Engineering program ranked highly."
Sean Gilmore, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student
"I am very excited about the opportunities presented for me here at UCSB. Being a part of a rapidly rising department and school places me at the center of cutting-edge scientific research. It is great to hear that the university is being recognized for the merit and value it provides to its students."
Julia Fisher, Chemical Engineering Ph.D. student
"I have only just started my graduate career at UCSB but I do not doubt the intent of the Chemical Engineering graduate program. The graduate program enables the passionate and curious to totally immerse themselves in engineering. We may enter as students, but we leave as peers; we become leaders in the engineering community."