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:
35–UC Santa Barbara
38–UC San Diego
Arts and Humanities: Top 50 Worldwide
Engineering and Technology: Top 50 Worldwide
17–UC Santa Barbara
36–UC San Diego
Life Sciences: Top 50 Worldwide
17–UC San Diego
39–UC Santa Barbara
Physical Sciences: Top 50 Worldwide
15–UC Santa Barbara
48–UC Santa Cruz
Social Sciences: Top 50 Worldwide
49–UC Santa Barbara