University of Rochester

Rochester Engineering Offers Best Student-Faculty Ratio Engineering school also ranked as among the most selective in the nation

September 18, 2000

Undergraduate engineering students at the University of Rochester have the opportunity for more individual attention from faculty members than any other engineering students in the nation, according to data released this month by Prism, a publication of the American Society of Engineering Education. The University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences boasts the best ratio of undergraduate students to faculty members in the nation among schools that awarded at least 100 bachelor's degrees in engineering in 1999; there is nearly one faculty member for every graduating senior.

In addition to readily available faculty members, students at Rochester also work closely with some of the best graduate students in the nation. The University is second in the nation, behind only the California Institute of Technology, in its selectivity of graduate students, according to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report. Fewer than 15 percent of graduate students who apply to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are accepted; Rochester is twice as selective as such schools as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and the University of Michigan.

"Here at the University of Rochester, our students work closely with a world-class faculty of inventors who are actually creating the technologies of tomorrow. Graduate student applicants from around the world know this, and that's why we can be so selective each year. The same is true of the undergraduate education we offer," says Kevin Parker, dean of engineering.

"Those candidates we do bring into our institution reap the benefits of a great deal of personalized attention. Our modest size sometimes works to make the quality of our education a well-kept secret, but it allows us to maintain an outstanding education and faculty matched by few institutions."

More than half of undergraduate engineering students at the University work on independent research projects with faculty members and graduate students. Projects in biomedical engineering, where students apply engineering knowledge to medical problems faced by patients, are particularly popular. Research in optics and imaging is also a common choice; recently one such research project in Parker's group resulted in a new imaging technology that has been licensed to Hewlett-Packard and more than a dozen other companies and is now found in millions of printers worldwide. Lucent Technologies, Intel, Corning, and Hewlett-Packard are some of the companies that routinely snap up Rochester graduates.

The school includes the Institute of Optics and departments of biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. About 700 of the University's students major or intend to major in engineering. Among the resources available to engineering students: The Laboratory for Laser Energetics, home to the world's biggest laser and a leading program in basic laser science. The Center for Optics Manufacturing, which is modernizing precision optics manufacturing technology by developing computer-controlled machinery for manufacturing the lenses, prisms and mirrors used in virtually all modern high-tech systems. The Institute of Optics, the nation's original educational optics program and home to a pioneering research program in fiber optics, lasers, and other optical phenomena. The Center for Quantum Information Systems, where researchers are studying the use of atoms and photons as the basis of a new kind of computer and other information-coding systems. The Center for Electronic Imaging Systems, where current research includes projects on image compression, information storage, three-dimensional computer holograms, and software engineering. The Center for Future Health, where physicians and engineers are working together to create products for use in the home to prevent disease. The Center for Biomedical Ultrasound, the largest collaboration in the world of physicians and engineers working together in the area of ultrasound to develop new ways to detect or treat disease. The Center for Visual Science, which offers some of the world's top resources dedicated to understanding the neural basis of vision. The vast resources of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, where many engineering students work with physicians studying such topics as cancer, aging, vaccine biology, oral health, environmental health, and genetics.