Times Higher Ed World University Rankings 2012: The Top U.S. Publics

Each year we especially enjoy writing about the Times Higher Education World University Rankings because unlike most U.S. ranking publications and the current trend of disparaging academic research at public institutions, the Times rankings embrace research as “the single most influential of the 13 indicators,” as the Times “looks at the role of universities in spreading new knowledge and ideas.”

This year, U.S. public universities occupy 24 of the top 100 slots, while U.S. private universities account for another 23 positions.  The Times surveys 400 institutions, so being in the top 100 is certainly a noteworthy achievement.  The continuing worldwide respect for U.S. higher education is even more remarkable, given the number of detractors in this country.

The Times rankings do not ignore metrics for class size and financial resources as they focus on research, but they certainly do not make them determinative.  The downside to the Times list is that it does not include a metric for graduation rates.

But to us, the Times rankings are like old-time football: straight up head knocking to see who’s the best, and forget who has the most expensive stadium or the best recruiting class.  On the other hand, we believe that they are most useful in tandem with some of the other rankings that place more emphasis on class size as well as graduation rates.  In effect, the Times rankings offset some of the shortcomings of the U.S. News rankings, and the U.S. News rankings do the same for the Times rankings.

Below are six lists.  The first lists the U.S. public universities that are in the top 100 universities in the world, according to the Times rankings.  We will show the world rank, and then list the university.

The other five lists show the U.S. universities that are in the top 50 in the subject areas ranked by the Times: Arts and Humanities; Engineering and Technology; Life Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Social Sciences.  Again, we will list the world rank of each university within each subject area, and then the name of the university.

U.S. Public Universities in the Top 100 Worldwide:

9–UC Berkeley

13–UCLA

20–Michigan

24–Washington

25–UT Austin

26–Georgia Tech

31–Wisconsin

33–Illinois

35–UC Santa Barbara

38–UC San Diego

42–North Carolina

44–UC Davis

47–Minnesota

53–Ohio State

61–Penn State

69–Purdue

72–Massachusetts Amherst

76–Pitt

91–Colorado

94–Michigan State

96–UC Irvine

97–Maryland

98–Arizona

99–Rutgers

Arts and Humanities: Top 50 Worldwide

7–UC Berkeley

16–UCLA

18–Michigan

20–Rutgers

22–UT Austin

27–Wisconsin

33–North Carolina

35–UCSD

42–Massachusetts Amherst

45–Pitt

49–Virginia

49–Arizona

Engineering and Technology: Top 50 Worldwide

4–UC Berkeley

7–UCLA

9–Georgia Tech

13–UT Austin

17–UC Santa Barbara

19–Michigan

20–Illinois

34–Washington

36–UC San Diego

41–Wisconsin

42–Purdue

45–Minnesota

48–UC Davis

Life Sciences: Top 50 Worldwide

6–UC Berkeley

15–UCLA

17–UC San Diego

18–Michigan

24–Washington

30–Wisconsin

35–North Carolina

38–Massachusetts Amherst

39–UC Santa Barbara

43–Penn State

47–Illinois

Physical Sciences: Top 50 Worldwide

2–UC Berkeley

9–UCLA

14–Washington

15–UC Santa Barbara

18–UT Austin

20–Michigan

24–Illinois

30–Colorado

38–Wisconsin

47–Georgia Tech

48–UC Santa Cruz

Social Sciences: Top 50 Worldwide

12–Michigan

12–UCLA

14–UC Berkeley

21–Wisconsin

25–North Carolina

27–Washington

28–UT Austin

29–Minnesota

34–Ohio State

37–Penn State

47–Michigan State

49–UC Santa Barbara



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