The graduate program of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering is ranked among the top 30 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools for 2004" survey released today. The university's industrial engineering program is ranked in the top 10.

The engineering college's graduate program was ranked 26th overall among the 168 programs included in the magazine's survey. The Virginia Tech college is tied at that ranking with the engineering schools at Columbia University and the University of Florida.

According to the survey's peer and recruiter assessments, the Virginia Tech graduate engineering program was ranked 19th nationally by both corporate recruiters and engineering school deans.

In addition, the college's industrial engineering graduate program was ranked ninth in its field by the survey of engineering deans. Several more of the college's programs are expected to appear in expanded specialty rankings to be released soon.

"Engineers learn to read any measurement, such as these college rankings, with the appropriate error bars and with a sober assessment of what precisely is being measured," said Hassan Aref, dean of Virginia Tech's engineering college. "The college's programs remain strong, vibrant and attractive, our financial challenges of declining state support notwithstanding."

In last year's survey, the Virginia Tech engineering graduate program achieved an overall ranking of 23rd. "This slight drop in rankings for Virginia Tech likely is something we will see more often as state support for higher education in Virginia continues to erode," said Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations.

U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools" survey, published annually since 1990, uses objective data gathered from the surveyed schools, plus ratings based on reputation. The survey is intended to provide prospective students with information about the nation's top graduate programs.

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