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The World's Best Universities

PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 4,304 Senior Member
On September 26, 2018, Forbes published a list of The World's Best Universities based on scholarship, research funding & reputation. The focus was on what universities do for society and the economy, number of doctorates awarded, AND the extent to which top scholars teach and mentor undergraduates.

Among the top 50 ranked universities are 24 US universities including six of the eight Ivy League schools, four Pac 12 universities (Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA & Univ. of Washington) & four Big Ten universities (Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin & Illinois).

The Top 50 ranked universities are:

1) Oxford
2) Cambridge

3) Stanford
4) MIT
5) Caltech
6) Harvard
7) Princeton
8) Yale

9) Imperial College of London

10) University of Chicago

11)ETH Zurich

12) Johns Hopkins University
13) University of Pennsylvania

14) UCL

15) UCal-Berkeley
16) Columbia
17) UCLA
18) Duke
19) Cornell
20) Michigan

21) University of Toronto
22) Tsinghua University
23) National University of Singapore

24) Carnegie Mellon University
25) Northwestern University

26) London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

27) NYU
28) University of Washington

29) Univ. of Edinburgh

30) UC-San Diego

31) Peking University
32) LMU Munich
33) University of Melbourne (second most livable city in the world behind Vienna, Austria according to a recent ranking)

34) Georgia Tech

35) Ecole Polytech (Switzerland)
36) University of Honk Kong
37) University of British Columbia
38) King's College (London)

39) University of Texas

40) Karolinska Institute (Sweden)
41) Paris Sciences & Letters
42) University of Tokyo

43) University of Wisconsin

44) McGill University
45) Technical Univ. of Munich
46) Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
47) Heidelberg University
48) KU Lev.
49) Australian National University

50) University of Illinois
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Replies to: The World's Best Universities

  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    It is always interesting how much better state flagships do in world rankings. Wisconsin’s ranking is higher here than in the US News US only rankings.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,375 Senior Member
    @Eeyore123

    Not surprising given a very different set of methodologies. World rankings are largely based on research where state flagship institutions do well whereas USNWR's undergrad ranking isn't based on research. Those institutions that emphasize and direct their resources to undergrad education don't do well in world rankings and hence not a single LAC on top 50 listed above (probably not even in top 100).
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 4,304 Senior Member
    These rankings are based on three main factors which include the EXTENT TO WHICH TOP SCHOLARS TEACH AND MENTOR UNDERGRADUATES.
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,375 Senior Member
    @Publisher

    And how much do they weigh "top scholars teach and mentor undergraduates" in comparison to other metrics?
  • OttermaOtterma Registered User Posts: 1,353 Senior Member
    edited October 1
    Silly question, but what is "KU Lev"? I'm familiar with all the other schools on the list, or can see where they are from the name. (My first thought was Kansas University, Leavenworth ...which I'm guessing is not right)
  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    @Otterma It is KU Leuven in Belgium.
  • riley2riley2 Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    This is actually the Times Higher Education (THE) list which was published in Forbes. The methodology is easily found on their website. As suggested above, their methodology is very different from USNWR or even Forbes' own list, which both reward a focus on undergraduates. By contrast, this ranking weights research 30%, citations 30%, teaching 30% (but within this category, 2.5% for ratio of PhD students to bachelors), international outlook 7.5%, and industry income/knowledge transfer 2.5%. So over 60% of the score is based on research activities. Clearly there is a huge advantage given to large universities with an emphasis on graduate students, while LACs or Ivies like Brown and Dartmouth don't have a chance of scoring highly.

    Look, the publication is based in London. It's no accident that Oxford and Cambridge are at the top - boosted there, no doubt, by the "international outlook" edge. I'll bet they tinkered with the parameters until they made that happen. Can we all agree that rankings are ridiculous?
  • TiggerDadTiggerDad Registered User Posts: 1,375 Senior Member
    ^^ Yes
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 9,881 Super Moderator
    edited October 1
    riley2 wrote:
    Clearly there is a huge advantage given to large universities with an emphasis on graduate students, while LACs or Ivies like Brown and Dartmouth don't have a chance of scoring highly.
    It's more complex than that, I think.

    For example, Princeton (#7) and Brown (#53) fare very differently on this ranking, but both have around 2500 PhD students. The main difference is that Brown has about 1400 more undergrads and ~560 medical students, whereas Princeton has no professional schools except Woodrow Wilson.

    Princeton: 5260 undergrads, 2845 graduate students (2512 PhD students)
    Brown: 6653 undergrads, 3113 graduate students (2546 PhD students and 567 medical students)
  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 727 Member
    Any ranking that has Wisconsin > Illinois has some value. It doesn’t matter the topic.
  • sushirittosushiritto Registered User Posts: 2,103 Senior Member
    From a US perspective, looks pretty good to me.
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    From a Canadian perspective it doesn't. It's always the same 3 regardless of what methodology is being employed: U of T, UBC, McGill. Surprise surprise. None of those schools are known for teaching undergraduates. It's all about the research and grad programs. DS19 will be applying to universities in the next few months and none of those schools are on his list. I know they are popular with international students (and domestic students as well), in large part because of their rankings, but I'm not a fan for undergraduate education.
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,646 Senior Member
    Agreed, @gwnorth - Mount Allison all the way!
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 4,304 Senior Member
    @riley2: You noted that the Times Higher Education (THE), which published this list, is located in London, England, and that, therefore, Oxford & Cambridge were certain to be at the top of this ranking.

    It is interesting to note that English colleges & universities were well represented in this list of The World's Best Universities.

    1) Oxford
    2) Cambridge

    9) Imperial College of London
    14) University College of London
    26) London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

    For those interested in studying abroad at an English speaking institution, it may prompt research into the offerings at Imperial College of London, Univ. College of London & well known LSE.

    Also worthy to note that while the University of Edinburgh was listed at #29, University of St. Andrews did not make the list's top 50 schools.
  • gwnorthgwnorth Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    @marvin100 I just wish we had academically selective schools like the top 3 but more the size of Mount A silimlar to the SLAC's in the U.S., ones primarily dedicated to undergraduate education. DS19 is not looking to go out of province to school and the similarly sized schools in Ontario are not particularly selective (not to mention that a number of them are very far north). The schools he is considering are all still very large, but smaller than U of T, with smaller more centralized campuses and just as academically selective. The smallest of them however is Queen's and they still have an entering class size of 4,300 students and a total undergrad population of close to 20,000 students.
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