University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering


Cullen College Doctorate Programs Among the Best in Texas

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Toby Weber

The National Research Council’s recently published rankings of Ph.D. programs puts the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering well ahead of its counterparts at the state’s six other emerging research universities –Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Using the median for all rankings, the Cullen College’s Department of Chemical Engineering placed 18th in the nation out of 106 ranked programs in the study’s S-ranking, which measures a program against criteria set by members of the discipline. Texas Tech’s chemical engineering Ph.D. program came in at 74th in the country, the only other emerging research university in the state with a ranked program.

With this ranking the department also bested its counterparts at nearby institutions such as Rice University (48th) and Texas A&M (43rd), as well as at highly regarded universities from around the country, including Cornell, Penn State and Georgia Tech. The University of Texas at Austin was the only school in the region to rank higher. The department performed even better in the NRC’s research activity evaluation, which factored in publications, citations, the percent of the faculty holding research grants, and recognition of scholarship as evidenced by honors and awards. In this category, the college’s chemical engineering Ph.D. program ranked 13th in the country.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Cullen College ranked 58th out of 136 ranked programs, outpacing both the University of Texas at Dallas (95th) and Texas Tech (105th), the only other emerging research universities with ranked programs in the field. In addition, this ranking puts the department very close to Texas A&M (54th); and not far from UT Austin (41st). The department is also ranked ahead of several prestigious national universities such as North Carolina State University; the University of California, Irvine; the University of Florida; and the University of Pennsylvania. What’s more, the department is in the top 20 in the nation in terms of citations per published paper, once again ahead of both UT Austin and Texas A&M.

The Ph.D. program in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering placed 63rd in the nation out of 130 ranked programs, well ahead of Texas Tech (101st), the only other ranked program among emerging research universities. In addition, the department placed 42nd in the country in the NRC’s research activity measure, ahead of both Texas A&M (45th) and UT Austin (56th), making it by that metric the highest ranked civil engineering program in the State of Texas. The department earned this ranking in large part due to its publications per faculty member, which came in at 1.7 compared to 1.1 at UT Austin and 1.0 at Texas A&M. The department was also ranked ahead of many flagship Universities from other states, including Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah and Ohio to mention a few.

The Cullen College’s Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Ph.D. program placed 77th in the country out of 127 ranked programs. That put the program ahead of Texas Tech (110th), again the only other ranked program among the state’s emerging research universities. In terms of research activity, the department ranked 45th in the nation, ahead of the UT Austin at 46. With 1.6 publications per faculty member, the department outperformed UT Austin at 1.5, and was close behind Texas A&M at 1.9. It also bested both universities in the citations metric, garnering 1.4 per faculty member compared to 1.3 at Texas A& M and 1.0 at UT Austin.