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Message from the Dean

Greetings, and welcome to the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. We are home to a superb faculty, extraordinary students, and a deeply committed staff, and state-of-the-art facilities. We share a bedrock belief in the inherent value of all people and the knowledge that the best, most comprehensive engineering solutions result from the creativity and innovation that arise from an inclusive array of truly diverse perspectives and experiences. 

Located along the picturesque Pacific Ocean, the college offers an array of applied educational programs, and a collaborative spirit that drives bold cross-disciplinary research and has contributed greatly to the current stature enjoyed by the COE and the university as a whole. UCSB was ranked No. 5 among the nation’s public universities in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report listings. Our highly ranked departments have contributed greatly to that recognition, all of them respected for the quality of their research and the value of the education they provide, which enables students to hit the grad-school ground running and to contribute at industry jobs from day one. 

Our faculty, which includes many global leaders in their fields and several Nobel Laureates, ranks in the top one percent for research citations worldwide, according to the 2021 World University Rankings. For the past ten years, UCSB has also ranked among the top two public universities in the world in terms of the scientific impact of our research in the physical sciences and engineering (Leiden Ranking). In addition, for the past five years (2016-2020), eligible junior faculty have received more prestigious Early CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation per capita than their peers at than any other public university.

COE researchers produce a great deal of first-principles science and theoretical research, but also focus sharply on application and are known for moving theory rapidly into important scalable technology. That powerful balance of foundational research and indispensable application is largely the result of the long and ever-expanding tradition of interdisciplinary cooperation among departments both within and beyond the COE. Our deep ties with industry, which appreciates that collaborative orientation and our ability to advance indispensable technologies, has resulted in nearly 100 startups being founded on UCSB technology and more than 750 foreign and domestic active patents.

Because we are a relatively small college, engineering students have ready access to their professors, to a degree rarely found at larger schools. That accessibility, combined with a dedication to teaching and mentoring, enables the college to graduate innovative engineers who are grounded in the techniques, the knowledge, and the collaborative nature of the engineering profession. Exceptionally prepared to contribute immediately to addressing society’s biggest challenges, our alumni are employed at companies like Google, Pfizer, Northrop Grumman, Apple, Facebook, and Intel, to name just a few. 

There has been no grander challenge in recent memory than the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to say that our faculty, students, and alumni have been pushing the boundaries of discovery over the past 18 months, helping to develop the first FDA-approved vaccine, designing a rapid test to administer in the local community, and investigating the use of ultraviolet LEDs to destroy the virus. When the pandemic arrived, the COE community answered the call.  

Collegial, truly collaborative, and consistently sharpening the cutting edge of engineering solutions, UC Santa Barbara is where success-bound engineers want to be. Whether you are a prospective student, parent, or partner, we welcome you and invite you to take full advantage of all that awaits at this superb institution.

Tresa Pollock
Interim Dean, College of Engineering, UC Santa Barbara
Alcoa Distinguished Professor of Materials