The Viterbi School of Engineering rose to sixth place (tied with Caltech) in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate schools for 2004, announced April 1..
Among private universities, only graduate engineering programs at Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked above the USC Viterbi School in the 2004 rankings.
Dean C.L. Max Nikias said that the forward momentum of the USC Viterbi School has been buoyed by the rise in the general reputation of USC under President Steven B. Sample — himself a member of the School’s electrical engineering faculty and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
“Steve Sample will go down in academic history as one of the great college presidents of our era,” said Nikias. “He makes the work of all of his deans easier and more effective.”
Additionally, Nikias said, “I cannot overestimate the importance of the major naming gift given this year by Erna and Andrew Viterbi, adding $52 million to our endowment, in addition to associating the school with one of the most renowned engineers of our time.”
Nikias pointed to numerous signs of the schools rise, including the number of National Academy of Engineering member affiliates (23, the fourth highest total among private universities); and the numerous “Young Investigator” awards won by junior faculty, in addition to such major honors as the Turing Prize, the top honor in computer science,
"We have improved dramatically and done so with great speed. Only six years ago we were number 16,” said Nikias. “This is a tribute to the outstanding quality of our faculty and students.” (The USC Viterbi School ranked eighth in both the 2002 and 2003 rankings.)
In 2003, Nikias noted, the USC Viterbi School scored two other notable successes: the award of two major research centers, the Department of Homeland Security’s first Research Center of Excellence, and the Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems Center established by the National Science Foundation, both won despite formidable competition from numerous other schools.
2003 also saw the announcement of new and highly significant partnerships with major corporations, including Pratt & Whitney and ChevronTexaco. “And on the same day of the announcement of the rankings,” Nikias said, “the USC Viterbi School also announced a partnership with one of the premier engineering schools in India, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
As it did last year, USC led the nation's engineering schools in research funding per tenured faculty member.
Total research funding for the USC Viterbi School is now more than $135 million. Only 10 years ago, the figure was less than half that -- $58 million.
USC now enrolls 1878 undergraduates and 3,325 graduate students. In 2003 it awarded 512 B.S. degrees, 850 M.S. degrees, and 109 PhDs.
Of the MS degrees, 99 were earned through the school’s inventive Distance Education Network (DEN), which enrolls hundreds of students at corporations across the country including Boeing, Qualcomm, United Technologies Corporation, Intel, Aerospace Corporation, Raytheon, Ericsson, SAIC, Northrop-Grumman and Lockheed Martin.
“I believe all faculty, students, and staff of the USC Viterbi School can be proud of how far we have come in such a short time,” the dean concluded.