St. Thomas has maintained its position in the “Best Colleges” rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, and the School of Engineering’s undergraduate program has jumped nearly 50 places in the magazine’s survey.

The university ranks No. 113 among 280 schools in the National Universities category, compared with No. 112 last year and No. 113 in 2012. St. Thomas previously was ranked No. 115 in 2011, No. 124 in 2010 and No. 137 in 2009.

The undergraduate engineering program ranks No. 34 among 202 schools that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees but not doctorates – a leap from the No. 81 ranking last year and No. 69 in 2012. The survey was based solely on peer assessment – deans and senior faculty ranking other programs – and only schools with accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology were eligible.

“We are extremely pleased with the recognition,” said Dr. Don Weinkauf, dean of the School of Engineering. “We have a distinctive engineering program grounded in the liberal arts, our key faculty have national visibility and we have had steady growth. It all adds up.”

The Opus College of Business undergraduate program ranks No. 155 among 429 programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The survey also was based solely on peer assessment. St. Thomas ranked No. 119 last year; this year, schools were bunched closely in the rankings, with 20 tied at No. 113, followed by 22 at No. 133 and 29 at No. 155. (Last March, U.S. News ranked St. Thomas No. 100 of 453 AACSB-accredited schools with full-time MBA programs and No. 110 among part-time MBA programs.)

U.S. News announced the rankings today (Tuesday). They are published on the magazine’s website and in the 2015 print edition of the “Best Colleges” guidebook, which will be available Sept. 23 on newsstands.

The institutional rankings are based on seven measures: assessment by peers and high school admissions counselors (22.5 percent of overall score), graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent).

“National Universities” are defined as offering a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees. Princeton is in the top spot, and the University of Minnesota is tied for No. 71. Among Catholic universities in this category, Notre Dame (No. 16), Georgetown (21), Boston College (31), Fordham (58), Marquette (76), San Diego (95), St. Louis (99), Dayton (103), Chicago Loyola (106) and San Francisco (106) rank higher than St. Thomas. Catholic universities ranked lower than St. Thomas include Catholic, Duquesne, DePaul, Seton Hall, St. John’s of New York and St. Mary’s of Winona.

All other Minnesota colleges are ranked in three other institutional categories: 249 National Liberal Arts Colleges, which emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the arts and sciences; 620 Regional Universities, which provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs but few, if any, doctoral programs; and 364 Regional Colleges, which focus on undergraduate education but grant less than half of their degrees in the arts and sciences.

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