Last updated: Oct. 17, 2016


U.S. News & World Report's “America's Best Colleges 2017” (fall 2016)

  • Among national public universities: 27th
  • Among all national universities: 74th
  • College of Engineering: 8th among public institutions; 16th overall
  • Pamplin College of Business: 27th among public institutions; 43rd overall
  • Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering: 5th
  • Biological/Agricutural Engineering: 6th
  • Civil Engineering: 9th
  • Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering: 10th


Money placed Virginia Tech in the top 50 of all institutions and top 20 among the public institutions in its “Best Colleges” ranking of 736 schools.

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 second 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 4th in the nation. The program has been in the top five for seven of the past eight years.



U.S. News & World Report's “America's Best Graduate Schools 2017” (spring 2016)

  • The College of Engineering’s overall graduate program rose three places to rank 21st among all schools of engineering.
  • Four departments within the College of Engineering finished in the top 10 of their respective category: civil, environmental/environmental health, biological/agricultural (also part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), and industrial/manufacturing systems.
  • The Pamplin College of Business' part-time M.B.A. program in the National Capital Region ranked 16th in the nation for the second year in a row.
  • The public affairs program in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ School of Public and International Affairs ranked 34th in the nation, up from 37th in 2012, the last time the magazine ranked public affairs programs.
  • The School of Education ranked 78th, up from No. 88.

DesignIntelligence ranked the graduate landscape architecture program second in the nation; the graduate architecture program was ranked 18th.


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:

  • #1: Best Quality of Life
  • #1: Their Students Love These Colleges
  • #4 Best Campus Food
  • #7 Happiest Students
  • #7 Town-Gown Relations Are Great
  • #7 Lots of Race/Class Interaction
  • Princeton Review Colleges That Pay You Back
  • #5 Best Alumni Network
  • #13 Colleges that Pay You Back (Even if You're Not Eligible for Need-Based Financial Aid)

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.

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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

5 Guggenheim Fellows



With a research portfolio of $513 million in fiscal year 2014, Virginia Tech marked its 15th consecutive year of research growth. At No. 39 nationally, Tech is the only Virginia institution in the top 50 of the National Science Foundation rankings for research expenditures. The university is ranked among the top 25 public institutions.

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 second class in May 2015. 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

Virginia Tech’s seven university-level research institutes grow the discovery enterprise by drawing upon established strengths in engineering, science, and the life sciences:

  • Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
  • Fralin Life Science Institute
  • 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

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), with more than 450 employees and more than $35 million in annual research expenditures, has a mission to save lives, time, and money, and to protect the environment. It is the second largest university-level transportation institute in the United States and the largest group of driving safety researchers in the world. Facilities include the 2.2-mile, two-lane, fully instrumented Virginia Smart Road; connected-vehicle test beds in Southwest and Northern Virginia; the VTTI/Center for Injury Biomechanics Crash Sled Lab; and the National Tire Research Center in Southern Virginia. Since 1996, VTTI has provided more than 1,400 student-years of funding, and more than 100 students annually gain hands-on experience at the institute to become the next generation of researchers. VTTI has pioneered groundbreaking naturalistic driving studies made possible by internally developed data acquisition systems that allow drivers to be observed in real-world conditions. To date, these systems have been installed in nearly 4,000 vehicles deployed nationally and internationally.

The Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, fomerly the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, with more than 200 employees and more than $109 million in active research awards, combines information technology, medicine, and biology to solve problems in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. Projects include a science portal that connects pathogen databases around the world for genetic and genomic research, mathematical modeling of living organisms through systems biology to unravel the genetic mechanisms of diseases, and personalizing medicine so medical treatments can be tailored to match the patient’s unique genetic makeup.

Fralin Life Science Institute researchers investigate vector-borne disease, infectious disease, obesity, molecular plant sciences, and cancer biology. The institute was formed in August 2008 and represents an administrative merger of the Fralin Biotechnology Center and the Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences.

The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is forging a pathway between transdisciplinary research and art, educational innovation, and scientific and commercial discovery. Partnered with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, the institute fosters the creative process to uncover new possibilities for exploration and expression through learning, discovery, and engagement. This includes preparing students in kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education environments to succeed in a world that demands teamwork and collaboration in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.

The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science is working at the intersection of engineering, science, biology, and the humanities. Thrust areas include nanoscale science and engineering, nano-bio interface, sustainable energy, safe and sustainable water, national security, cognition and communication systems, renewable materials, and emerging technologies. Researchers from across the university are taking advantage of the Nanoscale Characterization and Fabrication Laboratory and building partnerships as they leverage the institute’s resources.

The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment strengthens the university’s competitive position in the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The institute provides organizational, technical, and financial support for targeted creative, interactive, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary research endeavors that address issues of social and individual transformation. The Global Issues Initiative is researching trade policies and poverty in Pakistan and the Philippines, as well as the implications of agricultural subsidies in eight countries, among other issues. A Center for Public Health Practice and Research has been established to foster collaborative public health practice and research activities at Virginia Tech and among external public-health entities.

Since its creation in 2009, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute has made significant progress in efforts to understand and address the fundamental processes of human health and disease, and to develop new approaches to diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and cures. Research emphases include brain function of children and adults; molecular studies of cancer and heart development; infectious diseases in children; addiction and substance abuse; development of novel neuro-rehabilitation strategies for traumatic brain injury, PTSD, depression, and seizure disorders; and early life educational interventions for children at risk.




Other University Rankings

Virginia Tech is consistently recognized for its value and the quality of its programs. These rankings represent a few of the broader measures of excellence that the university garners.