UCF has once again ranked among the premiere hospitality and transportation programs in the world, according to ShanghaiRanking’s 2021 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, which assesses 500 of the world’s top universities.
For the second year in a row, UCF’s hospitality and tourism programs ranked No. 1 in the nation and No. 2 in the world. The transportation science and technology programs ranked No. 6 in the nation and No. 33 in the world, above Purdue, Arizona State, Carnegie Mellon and the University of California, Davis.
“UCF’s latest top hospitality rankings further distinguish our dedicated faculty and staff’s resolve to advance world-class excellence and innovation in partnership with an essential global industry, in spite of the pandemic,” says Michael. D. Johnson, UCF’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The transportation science and technology rankings reflect yet another dimension of excellence in our College of Engineering and Computer Science and the work being done to make our roadways safer, smarter and more sustainable for everyone on the road.”
ShanghaiRankings annually ranks the best universities in 54 academic subjects ranging from physics and transportation sciences and technology to finance and hospitality and tourism management. The rankings take into account five indicators, including the volume, quality and influence of research published, as well as international collaboration and academic awards.
World-Class Hospitality and Tourism Programs
UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management offers five undergraduate degrees, including the only event management bachelor’s degree of its kind, as well as the only standalone doctoral program in hospitality management in the state of Florida. The college is known for its collaborative, international research initiatives and prides itself on its HOSPITALITY+ curriculum strategy, which combines classroom learning with hands-on work experiences, ensuring graduates have a robust understanding of the industry when they enter the workforce.
“Our dedication to delivering impactful research that is published in the top academic journals worldwide and to educating the future leaders in the hospitality industry with a curriculum that evolves to meet the needs of the industry is demonstrated in this prestigious ranking,” says Youcheng Wang, dean of Rosen College. “We are extremely proud of our 2021 ShanghaiRanking. Our college is among the best on a global stage, and we will continue to provide stellar academics and research that will serve our stakeholders and industry partners now and into the future.”
In addition to the ShanghaiRanking, UCF’s hospitality school has ranked among the top five in the world by CEOWorld magazine for the past five years in a row. Rosen is home to four highly cited research journals: International Journal of Hospitality Management, edited by Assistant Dean Manuel Rivera; International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, both edited by Professor Fevzi Okumus; and the Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, edited by Associate Dean Alan Fyall and Dean Youcheng Wang. The college also houses the Rosen Research Review magazine, edited by Associate Dean Robertico Croes, which shares current research with industry partners in a format that is easily adaptable to the functions and practices of the hospitality and tourism industries.
Located minutes from International Drive, Rosen College’s campus is situated in the heart of Orlando’s tourism, convention and entertainment district. Orlando is one of the top tourist destinations with roughly 76 million visitors in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, 97% of the college’s students earned full-time jobs upon graduation, and students have interned with industry leaders, including Darden, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando Resort, the Walt Disney Company, and Marriott International. The college also boasts a truly global approach to its educational offerings, with faculty representing 17 different countries and study abroad opportunities in 11 countries across Asia, Australia and Europe.
Top Programs in Transportation Science and Technology
UCF’s transportation programs, housed in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, have made impressive strides over the past years. Since 2019 in the same rankings, the programs have moved up from the top 20 to No. 6 in the nation and from the top 75 to No. 33 in the world.
“UCF has an excellent transportation group that continues to push forward with ambitious and innovative research in areas including smart cities, connected and automated vehicles, artificial intelligence, and road safety,” says Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Pegasus Professor of civil engineering and chair of the CECE department. “We have a good number of junior faculty members who are in the process of developing strong scholarly portfolios, and we expect that we will not only sustain this strong ranking but are hopeful that we will improve it in the years to come.”
Earlier this year, Abdel-Aty was recognized with the highest award from the Transportation Research Board, and the team has published nearly 300 articles in top journals and been recognized for best papers by the Transportation Research Board, the ASCE Journal of Transportation Engineering and the World Conference on Transport Research Society; beat out 50 other teams — including Ford and Uber — to win a national competition by the U.S. Department of Transportation focused on making driving safer; and garnered roughly $22 million in research funding for projects, including a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to test several smart cities transportation technologies locally. In addition to the USDOT, FDOT and MetroPlan, UCF researchers have collaborated with the Federal Highway Administration, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and the University Transportation Center: Safety Research Using Simulation to study topics focused on monitoring, assessing and improving traffic safety.
UCF offers several degrees for students interested in pursuing transportation studies, including a B.S. in civil engineering, an M.S. in civil engineering, an M.S. in transportation systems engineering, and the nation’s first engineering-focused M.S. in smart cities.
As one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities and only hubs offering connectivity options via road, sea, air, rail and even space, Orlando offers faculty and students alike the opportunity to study multi-modal, multi-faceted transportation systems. The area boasts seven major highways, three major ports less than 2 hours away, seven international airports within 100 miles, and 68 miles of railroad with an additional 170 miles of new track being developed by Virgin Trains to connect Orlando to Miami. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is also only roughly an hour away.
Currently, there are more than $10 billion in transportation infrastructure investments in Orlando, including the $2.3 billion, 21-mile long I-4 Ultimate project. According to The Wall Street Journal, the public-private partnership is one the nation’s largest roadway projects.