For the second year in a row, UCF’s graduate engineering program ranks as the third-best in the country for Hispanic students. Hispanic Business Magazine released its 2011 Best Schools for Hispanics list, which ranks the top 10 graduate programs in the country in medicine, law, business and engineering.

This is the seventh consecutive year UCF’s engineering program has been ranked. It has steadily moved up the list from eighth place, where it debuted in 2005.

Graduate programs at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at El Paso ranked first and second. UCF and Purdue ranked third and fourth, and MIT ranked fifth. Only one other Florida university — the University of Florida at number six — made the top 10 list.

The rankings are based on questionnaires sent in by the schools, enrollments, the percentage of Hispanic faculty members, the number of programs that recruit Hispanic students, retention rates and student services.

At UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), 11.6 percent of its total graduate enrollment are Hispanic, and 13.4 percent of postgraduate degrees are earned by Hispanics.

“Diversity and inclusiveness are core values in our college,” said Marwan Simaan, CECS dean. “The more diverse our students and faculty are, the more opportunities students have to learn from and respect others’ differences, which ultimately helps prepare them for the global workplace.”

“We are very proud that our college is nationally recognized as a role model for diversity,” Simaan added.

“UCF provides great facilities, tools for learning, environment, and atmosphere that aid student success,” said Marco Yepez, a student majoring in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems. “Moreover, UCF and CECS provide multiple opportunities for professional growth and development through internship and co-op fairs, workshops and networking events.”

Yepez leads the UCF Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). With 140 registered and active members, the group is the third largest SHPE chapter in Florida and is among the top 20 largest in the country. He said his involvement in SHPE has led to internships and job offers.

“The organization has given me leadership and management skills, new friends, more visibility and a competitive edge when looking for jobs,” Yepez said. “I have received several job offers to large international engineering companies, and I owe this to UCF and SHPE guidance and mentoring.”

Click for more information about the rankings.