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Factbook: Measures of Excellence

Last updated: July 5, 2018


U.S. News & World Report's “America's Best Colleges 2018” (fall 2017)

  • Among national public universities: 25th
  • Among all national universities: 69th
  • College of Engineering: 9th among public institutions; 14th overall
  • Pamplin College of Business: 40th among public institutions; 45th overall
  • Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering: 8th
  • Biological/Agricutural Engineering: 8th
  • Civil Engineering: 7th
  • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering: 10th

Money ranked Virginia Tech in several categories

  • #3 Best Colleges You Can Actually Get Into
  • #7 Best Colleges in the South
  • #13 Best Public Colleges
  • #23 Best Colleges for Your Money
  • #31 Best Colleges for Business Majors

Forbes ranked Tech 23rd among its best public colleges.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine again ranked Virginia Tech among the best values in public education.

For the third year in a row, USA Today College ranked Virginia Tech as the nation’s best for studying natural resources and conservation.

DesignIntelligence ranked the university’s undergraduate architecture program fourth in the nation and the undergraduate interior design program No. 5.



U.S. News & World Report's “America's Best Graduate Schools 2019” (spring 2018)

  • #6: Environmental and Environmental Health Engineering
  • #7: Civil Engineering
  • #7: Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems
  • #17: Evening MBA program

DesignIntelligence ranked the graduate architecture program 11th in the nation; the graduate landscape architecture program was 15th.

A Gallup survey of freshmen, sophomotres, and juniors found that students at Virginia Tech are more likely than their peers to thrive during their experience on campus, outpacing the national average in terms of well-being, engagement, participation in co-curricular activities, and looking out for one another.

International Rankings

Times Higher Education World University: 79th of 147 U.S. universities in top 400

QS World University: Top 10 percent of 3,500 world universities

Center for World Universities: 256th worldwide; 98th among U.S. institutions


General Rankings

Princeton Best College List:

  • #2 Town-Gown Relations Are Great
  • #3: Their Students Love These Colleges
  • #3: Best Campus Food
  • #7: Best Quality of Life
  • #14: Happiest Students
  • #17: Best Alumni Network
  • Also chosen by Princeton Review as a Green College and among the Best Southeastern Colleges That Pay You Back.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Virginia Tech as one of its 361 community engagement institutions, which affirms that the university's problem-solving partnerships with businesses and communities contribute to the public good and also imbue students with a sense of civic responsibility.

Virginia Tech ranks first in the state for college license plate sales; in fact, the university ranks first, second, and third (three versions of the Tech plate are available). The Commonwealth of Virginia sells more Tech college plates than the other top 10 Virginia schools combined.

Princeton Review named Virginia Tech one of its top environmentally responsible colleges for the sixth year in a row.

The university received its sixth straight gold award from the Best Workplaces for Commuters Race for Excellence by increasing alternative transportation participation and improving commuter resources.

MSN/Active Times ranked Virginia Tech the fittest college in the nation based on the university’s food, recreational, and fitness offerings. ranked Blacksburg among its top 25 places to retire.

See more rankings at

Notable Awards

65+ Faculty with National Science Foundation CAREER Awards

6 Presidential Early Career Awards
13 Virginia Outstanding Scientist Awards

3 Science Museum of Virginia Lifetime Achievement award winners

30 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Awards
13 National Academy of Engineering members

4 National Academy of Sciences members

7 Guggenheim Fellows



With a research portfolio of $521 million in fiscal year 2017, Virginia Tech ranked 43rd nationally and is the only Virginia institution in the top 50 of the National Science Foundation rankings for research expenditures.

Virginia Tech continues to be one of the world’s leaders in research involving unmanned aerial vehicles and automated transportation technology, led by the Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace will pave the way for numerous benefits. In agriculture, the aircraft can help promote crop health and strengthen the food supply. Additionally, unmanned aircraft will be useful for search-and-rescue missions, disaster response, pipeline inspections, newsgathering, wildlife management, and more. The unmanned aircraft industry could add more than $13.6 billion to the nation’s economy by the end of the decade, reaching as high as $82.1 billion by 2025, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Meanwhile, VTTI in October 2015 demonstrated a Level 3 automated vehicle, in which a driving system handles all the driving with a human driver ready to take control if needed. What made this demonstration especially spectacular is that it didn’t take place on some isolated test track, but on an 11-mile stretch of the Interstate 395 express lanes in Washington, D.C.

Areas of research achievement and investigation throughout the university include high-performance computing; advanced materials; wireless telecommunication; housing; human and animal health; cognition, development, and behavior; the environment; and energy, including power electronics, biofuels, fuel cells, and solar-powered building structures. In the social sciences, scholarship and creative work include cultural expression and literature; interactions between ideas, technology, and people; performing arts; and more.


The university is affiliated with two human medical schools, each with a significant research component:

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, which opened its doors in August 2010, graduated its fifth class in May 2018. Curriculum value domains are basic sciences, clinical sciences, research, and interprofessionalism. Students and clinicians will be partners in the research enterprise.

The Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences integrates the capabilities of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Virginia Tech’s research includes biomechanics, cellular transport, computational modeling, biomaterials, bioheat and mass transfer, biofluid mechanics, instrumentation, ergonomics, and tissue engineering.

Virginia Tech has about 700 faculty members devoted strictly to research — research scientists concentrating on creating new knowledge and solving problems. In addition, Virginia Tech has about 1,440 tenured and teaching faculty, many of who conduct research.

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1985 to support the research mission of the university by protecting and licensing intellectual properties that result from research performed by Virginia Tech faculty and staff members and students. During fiscal year 2014, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties licensed six startup companies, received 163 invention disclosures, processed 163 patent applications, signed 25 license and option agreements, and received 19 U.S. and 15 foreign patents.

The Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC), a private nonprofit corporation affiliated with Virginia Tech, was established in fall 2010. With offices in Northern Virginia and Blacksburg, VT- ARC fosters applied research and development, and management of large contract research projects. It will apply Virginia Tech's basic and scholarly research achievements, expertise, and collaborations across multiple disciplines to solve complex national challenges in intelligence, cyber and information technology, national security, energy, and health.

Virginia Tech also established the Global Change Center to tackle the new frontier of global environmental challenges, specifically those posed by the interaction of climate change, pollution, invasive species, disease, and habitat loss.

University-level Research Institutes

The Research Institutes of Virginia Tech enhance the university's ability to address large-scale research opportunities by crossing traditional disciplinary and college lines.

The eight institutes provide clients access to world-class expertise across many disciplines and to the scientific and technical capability of specially equipped, advanced laboratories.

  • Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
  • Fralin Life Science Institute
  • Hume Cemnter
  • Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology
  • Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science
  • Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment
  • Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
  • Virginia Tech Transportation Institute