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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

New book ranks UC Irvine among nation's top 20 public research universities

Irvine, Calif., March 26, 1997

UC Irvine has been ranked among the nation's top 20 public research universities and identified as one of the "rising new elites" in a new book called "The Rise of American Research Universities: Elites and Challengers in the Postwar Era."

UCI is ranked 17th among rising public research universities in the study by Hugh Davis Graham, a history professor at Vanderbilt University, and Nancy Diamond, a graduate student at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. This ranking is based on a combined index evaluating public universities' science, social science, and arts and humanities programs. When ranked by the science index only, UCI placed third behind UC San Diego and UC Berkeley, respectively.

The study also places UCI seventh on a list of rising public universities that had not previously been ranked among the nation's top 25 (according to three major comparative studies conducted from 1960-1982).

"This is yet another ranking that places UCI among the nation's top research universities. UCI's rapid rise in stature reflects the high quality of our faculty as well as the emphasis on innovation in research and educational programs," said Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening.
The "Rise of American Research Universities" study (published by The Johns Hopkins University Press) looks at 203 research universities from 1945 to 1990. The researchers measured per capita faculty research productivity, examining the creation of new knowledge in everything from medical science to classics.

The criteria used to measure productivity were: money received from federal grants, number of articles published by faculty members in all scholarly areas, number of articles published in top-rated scientific and social science journals, and fellowships in the arts and humanities.

By focusing on per capita research achievement, the researchers reduced the advantages of size and "soft" reputational data. The study's ranking method rewards institutions that show balanced research strength across the academic spectrum of the sciences, social sciences and humanities. However, the researchers noted that the driving force behind UCI's "rapid ascent" in national rankings is its strong reliance on biomedical research.

UCI was one of seven UC campuses to make the top 20 for combined strength in science, social science, and arts and humanities. UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara were ranked first and second, respectively. UCLA was ranked fourth, UC San Diego ninth, UC Riverside 11th and UC Santa Cruz 15th.

UCI's excellence has been recognized in a number of other ways in the past couple of years. In 1995, UCI became the first public university to have two of its faculty named Nobel Laureates in two different fields in the same year. The same month, UCI was ranked 27th among all universities and 11th among public universities in the prestigious National Research Council's rankings of graduate programs.

Last October, UCI was admitted to the Association of American Universities, one of the nation's most prestigious associations of research universities. AAU membership is by invitation only, and is extended only to universities deemed by the AAU to have exceptional quality in their research and graduate education programs. Membership now comprises only the top 60 universities in the country.

Most recently, four UCI programs received high marks in U.S. News and World Report's 1997 graduate school rankings. UCI's renowned Program in Writing was ranked sixth; drama/theater, 12th; School of Engineering, 45th; and Graduate School of Management, 46th.


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