College rankings

College and university rankings are lists of institutions in higher education, ordered by combinations of factors. In addition to entire institutions, specific programs, departments, and schools are ranked. Rankings are conducted by magazines, newspapers, websites, governments and academics.

Various rankings consider measures of research excellence and/or influence, student choices, eventual success and/or demographics, on surveys, and others. Some rankings evaluate institutions within a single country, while others assess institutions worldwide. The subject has produced much debate about rankings' usefulness and accuracy. The expanding diversity in rating methodologies and accompanying criticisms of each indicate the lack of consensus in the field.

Rankings are often consulted by prospective students in the university and college admissions process.


Global rankings

Several organizations produce worldwide university rankings, including:

Academic Ranking of World Universities

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) compiled by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and now maintained by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, has provided annual global rankings of universities since 2003, making it the earliest of its kind. The ranking is funded by the Chinese government and its initial purpose was to measure the gap between Chinese and "world class" universities. ARWU rankings have been cited by The Economist magazine.[1] It has been lauded for being "consistent and transparent" based on an article.[2] The education ministers of France, Norway and Denmark traveled to China to discuss and find ways to improve their rankings.[3] ARWU does not rely on surveys and school submissions. Among other criteria, ARWU includes the number of articles published by Nature or Science and the number of Nobel Prize winners and Fields Medalists (mathematics).[4]

One of the primary criticisms of ARWU's methodology is that it is biased towards the natural sciences and English language science journals over other subjects.[4] Moreover, the ARWU is known for "relying solely on research indicators", and "the ranking is heavily weighted toward institutions whose faculty or alumni have won Nobel Prizes": it does not measure "the quality of teaching or the quality of humanities."[5]

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

From 2004 to 2009 Times Higher Education (THE), a British publication, published the annual Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings in association with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). THE published a table of the top 200 universities and QS ranked approximately 500 online, in book form, and via media partners.[6] On 30 October 2009, THE broke with QS and joined Thomson Reuters to provide a new set of world university rankings, called Times Higher Education World University Rankings. THE has stated that academic opinion will form part of its new offering.

On 3 June 2010, Times Higher Education revealed the methodology which they proposed to use when compiling the new world university rankings.[7] The new methodology included 13 separate performance indicators, an increase from the six measures employed between 2004 and 2009. After further consultation the criteria were grouped under five broad overall indicators to produce the final ranking. THE published its first rankings using its new methodology on 16 September 2010, a month earlier than previous years.[8]

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, along with the QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities are described as being the three most influential international university rankings.[9][10] The Globe and Mail in 2010 described the Times Higher Education World University Rankings as "arguably the most influential."[11] Research published by professors at the University of Michigan in 2011 demonstrated that the early THES rankings were disproportionately influential in establishing the status order of world research universities.[12]

Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings

Published for the first time in March 2011,[13] the rankings are based on a survey of 13,388 academics over 131 countries - which is the largest evaluation of academic reputation to date.[14] The survey was conducted in eight languages by Ipsos Media CT for Times Higher Education's ranking-data partner Thomson Reuters, and asked experienced academics to highlight what they believed to be the strongest universities for teaching and research in their own fields. The top six universities in the ranking for 2013—Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, UC Berkeley, and Stanford—were found to be "head and shoulders above the rest", and were touted as a group of globally recognised "super brands".[15]


G-factor ranks university and college web presence by counting the number of links only from other university websites, using Google search engine data. G-factor is an indicator of the popularity or importance of each university's website from the combined perspectives of other institutions. It claims to be an objective peer review of a university through its website—in social network theory terminology, G-factor measures the centrality of each university's website in the network of university websites.[16]

Global University Ranking

Global University Ranking measures over 400 universities using the RatER, an autonomous, non-commercial, Russian rating agency supported by Russia's academic society.[17][18] The methodology pools universities from ARWU, HEEACT, Times-QS and Webometrics and a pool of experts formed by project officials and managers to determine the rating scales for indicators in seven areas. It considers academic performance, research performance, faculty expertise, resource availability, socially significant activities of graduates, international activities, and international opinion. Each expert independently evaluates these performance indicators for candidate universities. The rating is the average of the expert evaluations.[19] This ranking raised questions when it placed Russian Moscow State University in fifth place, ahead of Harvard and Cambridge.[20]

HEEACT—Ranking of Scientific Papers

Main article: HEEACT – Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities

The Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities is produced by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT).[21] HEEACT is designed to assess research universities. The indicators are designed to measure both long-term and short-term research performance.

This project employs bibliometrics to analyze and rank the performance of the 500 top universities and the top 300 universities in six fields. HEEACT further provides subject rankings in science and technology fields. It also rank the top 300 universities across ten science and technology fields.[22] The ranking includes eight indicators. They are: articles published over prior 11 years; citations of those articles, "current" articles, current citations, average citations, "H-index", number of "highly–cited papers" and high impact journal articles. They represent three criteria of scientific papers performance: research productivity, research impact, and research excellence.

The 2007 ranking methodology was alleged to have favored universities with medical schools, and in response, HEEACT added assessment criteria.[23] The six field–based rankings are based on the subject categorization of WOS, including Agriculture & Environment Sciences (AGE), Clinical Medicine (MED), Engineering, Computing & Technology (ENG), Life Sciences (LIFE), Natural Sciences (SCI) and Social Sciences (SOC). The ten subjects include Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geosciences, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering (including Energy & Fuels), Materials Sciences, and Civil Engineering (including Environmental Engineering).[22]

High Impact Universities: Research Performance Index

Main article: High Impact Universities

The High Impact Universities Research Performance Index (RPI) is a 2010 Australian initiative[24] that studies university research performance. The pilot project involved a trial of over 1,000 universities or institutions and 5,000 constituent faculties (in various disciplines) worldwide. The top 500 results for universities and faculties were reported at the project website.[24] The project promotes simplicity, transparency and fairness. The assessment analyzes research performance as measured by publications and citations. Publication and citation data is drawn from Scopus. The project uses standard bibliometric indicators, namely the 10-year g-index and h-index. RPI equally weighs contributions from the five faculties. The five faculty scores are normalized to place them onto a common scale. The normalized scores are then averaged to arrive at a final RPI.

Human Resources & Labor Review

The Human Resources & Labor Review (HRLR) publishes a human competitiveness index & analysis annually in Chasecareer Network (ChaseCareer.Net). This system is based on Human Resources & Labour Review Indexes (HRI and LRI), which measure the performance of top 300 universities' graduates.[25]

In 2004, a couple of educational institutions voiced concerns at several events in regard to the accuracy and effectiveness of ranking bodies or lists. The HRLR ranking was pioneered in late 2005 within a working group in response to those concerns. The team was founded in January 2007 and started compiling and processing datas, resulting in the first lists in 2007-2008.[26] The ranking concept is later being adopted for Alumni score on ARWU and many other rankings.

The new HRLR ranking innovative methods sparked intense interests from many institutions and inspired several other ranking lists and scoring which are based on professional, alumni, executives, competitiveness, human capital-oriented aspects. Nevertheless, HRLR remains to be the leader in university ranking with innovative and comprehensive approaches, and not relying merely on those aforementioned aspects.[27]

Leiden Ranking

The Centre for Science and Technology Studies at Leiden University maintains a European and world-wide ranking of the top 500 universities according including the number and impact of Web of Science-indexed publications per year. The rankings compare research institutions by taking into account differences in language, discipline and institutional size.[28] Multiple ranking lists are released according to various bibliometric normalization and impact indicators, including the number of publications, citations-per-publication, and field-averaged impact per publication.[29]


In August 2006, the American magazine Newsweek published a ranking of the Top 100 Global Universities, using selected criteria from ARWU and the Times Higher Education-QS rankings, with the additional criterion of the number of volumes in the library. It formed part of a special issue including an article from Tony Blair, then prime minister of the UK, but has not been repeated. It considered openness and diversity as well as distinction in research.[30] The ranking has been continued since its merger with The Daily Beast, and currently uses data from the Times Higher Education World Rankings, Webometrics world college rankings from public-research outlet Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Spain, and the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy in order to compile its results.[31]

Professional Ranking of World Universities

In contrast to academic rankings, the Professional Ranking of World Universities established in 2007 by the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris measures the efficiency of each university at producing leading business professionals. Its main compilation criterion is the number of Chief Executive Officers (or equivalent) among the Fortune Global 500.[32] This ranking has been criticized for placing five French universities into the top 20.[20]

QS World University Rankings

The QS World University Rankings are a ranking of the world’s top universities produced by Quacquarelli Symonds and published annually since 2004. In 2011 they ranked 712 universities, with the University of Cambridge in the UK, Harvard University in the USA and MIT on top. The QS rankings should not be confused with the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. From 2004 to 2009 the QS rankings were published in collaboration with Times Higher Education and were known as the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings. In 2010 QS assumed sole publication of rankings produced with this methodology when Times Higher Education split from QS in order to create a new rankings methodology in partnership with Thomson Reuters. The QS rankings are published in the United States by US News & World Report as the "World's Best Universities."[33]

The QS rankings use peer review data collected (in 2011) from 33,744 scholars and academics and 16,785 recruiters. These two are worth 40 per cent and 10 per cent of a university's possible score respectively. The QS rankings also incorporate citation per faculty member data from Scopus,[34] faculty/student ratios, and international staff and student numbers. The citations and faculty/student measures are worth 20 per cent of an institution's total possible score and the international staff and student data five per cent each. QS has published online material about its methodology.[35]

QS published the 2011 QS World University Rankings online on September 6, 2011. The rankings also appear in book form, and via media partners including US News & World Report and The Chosun Ilbo.

QS has added to its main World University Rankings, starting in 2009 with the Asian University Rankings.[36] The QS Latin American University Rankings [37] and the QS World University Rankings by Subject [38] were published for the first time in 2011.

The subject rankings are intended to address the most frequent criticism of all world university ranking systems, that they contain too little material about specific subjects, something potential applicants are keen to see. These rankings have been drawn up on the basis of citations, academic peer review and recruiter review, with the weightings for each dependent upon the culture and practice of the subject concerned. They are published in five clusters; engineering; biomedicine; the natural sciences; the social sciences; and the arts and humanities, and cover 29 subjects in 2012.

QS Asian University Rankings

In 2009, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) launched a department of the QS Asian University Rankings in partnership with The Chosun Ilbo newspaper in Korea. They rank the top 200 Asian universities and has now appeared three times. They release an independent list of rankings each time, different to that of the QS World University Rankings.

These rankings use some of the same criteria as the World University Rankings but they use other measures, such as incoming and outgoing exchange students as well. As the criteria and their weightings are different, the QS World university rankings and the QS Asian University rankings released in the same academic year may be different. For example, the University of Hong Kong being 22th in the world was regarded as the best in Asia in the QS World University Rankings (2012) but the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology was at the top of the list of the QS Asian University Rankings (2012).

QS Latin American University Rankings

The QS Latin American University Rankings [5]. This ranking showed that the University of São Paulo in Brazil is the region's top institution, top in the first and second editions in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

SCImago Institutions Rankings

The SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR)[39] since 2009 has published its international ranking of worldwide research institutions, the SIR World Report.[40] The SIR World Report is the work of the SCImago Research Group,[41] a Spain-based research organization consist of members from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), University of Granada, Charles III University of Madrid, University of Alcalá, University of Extremadura and other education institutions in Spain.[42]

The ranking measures areas such as: research output, international collaboration, normalized impact and publication rate.[41]


U-Multirank, a European Commission supported feasibility study, was undertaken to contribute to the EU objective of enhancing transparency about the different missions and the performance of higher education institutions and research institutes. It was completed 2011.[43] At that time it was envisaged that the next stage of the project would be tendered, for completion in 2013.

University Ranking By Academic Performance

First published in 2010, the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) was developed in the Informatics Institute of Middle East Technical University in Turkey and ranked 2,000 universities according to an aggregation of six academic research performance indicators: current productivity (number of published articles), long-term productivity (total documents from Institute for Scientific Information), research impact (citations from Institute for Scientific Information), impact (cumulative journal impact), quality (Journal Citation Impact Total), and international collaboration.[44]


The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities is produced by Cybermetrics Lab (CCHS), a unit of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the main public research body in Spain. It offers information about more than 12,000 universities according to their web presence (an assessment of the scholarly contents, visibility and impact of universities on the web). The ranking is updated every January and July.

The Webometrics Ranking or Ranking Web is built from a database of over 20,000 higher education institutions. The top 12,000 universities are shown in the main ranking and more are covered in regional lists.

The ranking started in 2004 and is based on a composite indicator that includes both the volume of the Web contents and the visibility and impact of web publications according to the number of external links they received. A wide range of scientific activities appears exclusively on academic websites and is typically overlooked by bibliometric indicators.

Webometric indicators measure institutional commitment to Web publication. Webometric results show a high correlation with other rankings. However, North American universities are relatively common in the top 200, while small– and medium–size biomedical institutions and German, French, Italian and Japanese universities were less common in the top ranks. Possible reasons include publishing via independent research councils (CNRS, Max Planck, CNR) or the large amount of non-English web contents, which are less likely to be linked.

Wuhan University

The Research Center for Chinese Science Evaluation at Wuhan University ranking is based on Essential Science Indicators (ESI), which provides data on journal article publication counts and citation frequencies in over 11,000 journals around the world in 22 research fields.[45]

Regional and national rankings

Regional and national rankings are carried out in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania.


QS' Asian University Rankings[46] use some of the same data as the QS World University Rankings alongside other material, such as the number of exchange students attending or traveling from each university. The rankings list the top 200 universities in Asia.


Many academic organizations in China rank universities, such as HRLR Asia, Chinese University Alumni Association (CUAA) and China Education Center Ltd.[47] the Chinese university rankings, and many others. There are also many rankings based on university billionaire alumni, such as Chinese university ranking of billionaire alumni.


Magazines such as Youth Incorporated,[48] India Today, Outlook, Mint, Dataquest and EFY conduct annual rankings for the major disciplines. See India university rankings for a list of rankings; also see List of Indian engineering college rankings.


Most of the ranking systems in Japan rank universities by their entrance difficulties, often called "Hensachi", or by alumni's successes.[49] Especially, the Hensachi Rankings have been most commonly used for university rankings.[50] One of the example of such rankings is Going broke universities - Disappearing universities by Kiyoshi Shimano.[51]

However, there are several rankings which evaluate universities' overall qualities. Toyo Keizai regularly releases the university rankings "Truly Strong Universities" once a year.[52] Japanese leading prep school Kawaijuku also released the Japan's top 30 university rankings in natural sciences and technology for MEXT's GLOBAL 30 Project in 2001.[53]


Pakistan's Higher Education Commission annually ranks domestic universities.[54]


Academic rankings in the Philippines are conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission and the Commission on Higher Education, based on the average passing rates in board tests.[55][56]

South Korea

Korean Council for University Education, established in 2009, evaluates universities in South Korea.[57]


European Union

The European Commission compiled a list of the 22 universities in the EU with the highest scientific impact.[58] This ranking was compiled as part of the Third European Report on Science & Technology Indicators,[59] prepared by the Directorate General for Science and Research of the European Commission in 2003 (updated 2004).[60] It only explicitly considers the European Union's top institutions, but comparisons with the rest of the world are provided in the full report. The report says, "University College London comes out on top in both publications (the number of scientific publications produced by the university) and citations (the number of times those scientific publications are cited by other researchers)" however the table lists the top scoring university as "Univ London" implying that the authors counted the scientific output of the entire University of London, rather than its constituent colleges.

In this ranking, the EU's top two universities are Cambridge and Oxford, as in the Jiao Tong and Times rankings. This ranking stresses the scientific quality of the institution, as opposed to its size or perceived prestige. Thus smaller, technical universities, such as Eindhoven (Netherlands) and the Technical University Munich (Germany) are ranked third and fourth, behind Cambridge, and followed by the University of Edinburgh. The report does not provide a direct comparison between EU and universities in the rest of the world, although it does compute a scientific impact score, which is measured against the world average.

In December 2008, the European Commission published a call for tenders, inviting bidders to design and test a new multi-dimensional university ranking system with global outreach. The first results of the envisaged pilot project were promised for the first half of 2011.[61]

Another approach to classify the European research area is offered by 'European Research Ranking'.[62] This ranking is based on publicly available data from the European Commissions project and funding database CORDIS to estimate the funding and networking performance of European research institutions.


Some Austrian universities, including all Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences, take part in the CHE UniversityRanking.[63]


The Bulgarian University Ranking System, maintained by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education, compares academic programs in accredited domestic higher education institutions.[64] The system ranks programs based on more than 50 indicators, such as teaching and learning conditions, scientific research, career development opportunities, prestige, and material resources.


In Denmark, the think-tank CEPOS conduct an annual survey and ranking of higher education at study program level and institution level, based on entry salary, career development, drop-out rates, and program completion rates.[65]


Le Nouvel Observateur and other popular magazines occasionally offer rankings of universities, "Grandes écoles" and their preparatory schools, the "Prépas".[66]


Since 2007, the CHE "ExcellenceRanking" has been published by the Center for Higher Education Development in Germany.[67] The ranking includes the sciences of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics as well as psychology, political science and economics. The ranking is designed to support the search for masters or doctoral programmes. The CHE also wants to highlight the research strengths of European universities and provide them with ideas for improvement. The ranking is published by the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit in English and German. The CHE Center for Higher Education Development gathers the data for this ranking. An English version is provided by the DAAD.

The CHE also publishes a "ResearchRanking" showing the research strengths of German universities. The CHE ResearchRanking is based on the research–related data of the UniversityRanking.


The Sunday Times ranks Irish universities based on a mix of criteria, including secondary school examination scores, graduation rates, staff-student ratio, research efficiency, accommodation, nontraditional students, athletics and sports facilities.


Every year, the newspaper La Repubblica, in collaboration with CENSIS, compiles a ranking of Italian universities.[68][69]




Most Dutch universities take part in the CHE UniversityRanking.[63]


The Ad Astra association of Romanian scientists ranked Romanian universities in 2006 and 2007.[72]

Russian Federation

Several bodies rank Russian universities, including RIA Novosti / Forbes, Independent Rating Agency RatER, Interfax (in cooperation with Ekho Moskvy) and the Russian Journal "Finance".

RIA Novosty / Forbes rankings are conducted under the supervision of Public Chamber of Russia in cooperation with State University – Higher School of Economics)[73][74] This ranking is considered the most objective system. It covers 476 higher education institutions and is based on the average score of the Unified State Examination that is required to enter a university. The ranking has separate subrankings for different subjects and clusters of universities.

RIA Novosty rankings do not align with other local and international rankings such as Academic Ranking of World Universities and QS World University Rankings which take into account inherited reputation from the Soviet Union.[73]

Independent Rating Agency RatER publishes annual rankings based on representation of university graduates in governmental, education and business elite.[75]

Interfax annually ranks "classical" (or multi-faculty) universities and higher education institutions specialising in law.[76] Interfax' methodology quantifies several qualitative factors such as research, teaching standards, public opinion and social and international activity.

The Russian Journal "Finance" produces an integrated ranking of higher education institutions specialising in economics and finance.[77] The Journal uses the average score of the Unified State Examination, the number of CFO graduates and the consolidated turnover of companies where graduate CFOs are employed.


In Sweden, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) conduct an annual survey and ranking of higher education at study program level, based on entry salary, career development, internationalization, and degree of academic-business collaboration.[78]


The swissUp Ranking ranked Swiss university and polytechnic students until 2004. The swissUp Ranking is no longer conducted. Some universities from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, such as ISFOA Lugano take part in the CHE UniversityRanking.


Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science performs official yearly university evaluations.[79] Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper published the top 200–ranked Ukrainian universities in 2007.[80] Kyiv Student Council ranks universities on criteria of student satisfaction.[81]

United Kingdom

The Research Assessment Exercises (RAE) are the UK government's evaluation of research quality in British Universities. Each subject, called a unit of assessment, is ranked by a peer review panel. The rankings are used in the allocation of government funding. The latest assessment was made in 2008. The RAE provides quality ratings for research across all disciplines. Panels use a standard scale for each submission. Ratings range from 1 to 5, according to the quantity of work that is judged to reach national or international levels of excellence. Participating institutions receive grants from one of the four higher education funding bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) assesses undergraduate teaching. QAA is an independent body established by the UK's higher education institutions in 1997. QAA was under contract to the Higher Education Funding Council for England to assess quality for English universities. This replaced Teaching Quality Assessments (TQAs) which aimed to assess the administrative, policy and procedural framework within which teaching took place and did not directly assess teaching quality. This inspection–based system was replaced by a system of information provision, including a national student survey. QAA publishes scores which have been used by the league table industry.

Other rankings include Times Good University Guide, The Complete University Guide, Independent, The Sunday Times University Guide, The Guardian—University Guide (mainly for undergraduate studies.)[82]

North America


Main article: Rankings of universities in Canada

Maclean's, a Canadian news magazine, publishes an annual ranking of Canadian Universities, called the Maclean’s University Rankings.[83] Ranking criteria include student body characteristics, classes, faculty, finances, library, and reputation. The rankings are split into three categories: schools that focus on undergraduate studies with few to no graduate programs, schools that have both extensive undergraduate studies and an extensive selection of graduate programs and schools that have a professional medical program and a selection of graduate programs.[84]

The University of Calgary produced a formal study examining the ranking methodology, illuminating the factors that determined its rank and criticizing certain aspects of the methodology. The University of Alberta, the University of Toronto and University of Manitoba have expressed displeasure over the ranking system.[85]

A notable difference between rankings in the United States and Maclean's rankings, however, is that Maclean's excludes privately–funded universities. However, the majority of Canada's institutions, including the best–known are publicly–funded.

Beginning in September 2006, over 20 Canadian universities, including several of the most prestigious and largest universities such as the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, Concordia University, McMaster University and Dalhousie University, jointly refused to participate.[86] University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera wrote that Maclean's initially filed a "Freedom of Information" request but that it was "too late" for the universities to respond. Samarasekera further stated, "Most of [the universities] had already posted the data online, and we directed Maclean’s staff to our Web sites. In instances where the magazine staff couldn’t find data on our Web site, they chose to use the previous year’s data."[87]


Estudio Comparativo de Universidades Mexicanas (ECUM)

Mexican institutions have been compared in the Estudio Comparativo de Universidades Mexicanas (ECUM) produced within the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).[88] ECUM provides data on institutional participation in articles on ISI Web of Knowledge–indexed journals; faculty participation in each of Mexico's three–level National Researchers System (SNI[89]); graduate degrees within (National Council of Science and Technology's (CONACYT) register of quality graduate programs;[90] and number of academic research bodies (cuerpos academicos) according to the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) program PROMEP.[91]

ECUM provides online access to data for 2007 and 2008 through ExECUM.[92] Institutional data can be visualized through three options:

  • A selection of the most prominent 58 universities (43 publics and 13 privates). This selection accounts for more than 60 percent of undergraduate and graduate enrollments. It includes public federal universities (UPES), and a group of private institutions that feature within ECUM's selected classification data.
  • Result tables for the top 20 institutions in each of the data labels in this study. These include some of the selected universities in addition to the rest of Mexico's higher education institutions, as well as institutes, centers and other research producing organizations.
  • A personalized selection from more than 600 institutions. These are classified by institutional type, institutional gatherings, by activity sector alphabetically.

ExECUM allows users to establish comparison types and levels which they consider relevant. Data is presented in raw form with virtually no derived indicators. Users can relate variables and build indicators according to their own analytical perspectives.

Based on this comparative study project, ECUM's creator, the Dirección General de Evaluación Institucional, published reports providing an analysis of the data for 2007 and 2008.[93][94][95]

United States

Main article: Rankings of universities in the United States

U.S. News & World Report College and University rankings

Referred to as the "granddaddy of the college rankings",[96] The American college and university rankings have been compiled since 1983 by U.S. News & World Report and are widely regarded as the most influential of all college rankings.[97] The college rankings were published in all years thereafter, except 1984. The ranking order of universities has been shown to have great effect; a one-rank improvement leads to a 0.9% increase in number of applicants.[98]

The US News rankings are based upon data which U.S. News collects from each educational institution either from an annual survey or from the school's website. There has been some significant controversy surrounding this annual survey, including a letter from the Annapolis Group requesting that school presidents do not participate in the US News annual survey, which led to "a majority of the approximately 80 presidents at the meeting said that they did not intend to participate in the U.S. News reputational rankings in the future."[99]

Also considered in the rankings formula are opinion surveys of university faculty and administrators outside the school.[100]

United States National Research Council Rankings

The National Research Council ranks the doctoral research programmes of US universities, most recently in 1995.[101] Data collection for an updated ranking began in 2006.[102]

Faculty Scholarly Productivity rankings

The Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index by Academic Analytics ranks 354 institutions based on faculty publications, citations, research grants and awards.[103][104]

The Top American Research Universities

The Center for Measuring University Performance has ranked American research universities in the Top American Research Universities since 2000. The methodology is based on data such as research publications, citations, recognitions and funding, as well as undergraduate quality such as SAT scores. The information used can be found in public–accessible materials, reducing possibilities for manipulation. The methodology is generally consistent from year to year and changes are explained in the publication along with references from other studies.[105]

Washington Monthly College rankings

The Washington Monthly's "College Rankings", last published in 2011, began as a research report in 2005. Related rankings appeared in the September 2006 issue. It offers American university and college rankings[106] based upon how well each enhances social mobility, fosters scientific and humanistic research and promotes an ethic of service.[107]

TrendTopper MediaBuzz College Guide

TrendTopper MediaBuzz College Guide is an American-college guide based on what it calls "Internet brand equity" based on data collected from the Internet and global media sources. It ranks the Top 300 United States colleges and universities. The guide includes specialty and for profit schools including Art, Business, Design, Music, and Online Education. The TrendTopper MediaBuzz College Rankings are produced twice a year by the Global Language Monitor of Austin, Texas.

Time Magazine described internet brand equity as "a measure of who's talking about you online, based on Internet data, social media, blogs and the top 75,000 print and electronic media outlets.[108][109]

GLM ranks the schools "according to their online presence -- or internet brand equity ... By focusing on online presence, the Monitor hopes to avoid the biases that characterize other rankings, which commonly rely on the opinions of university officials and college counselors rather than that of the greater public.[110] " GLM believes the rankings provide an up-to-date perspective on which schools have the most popular brand. The resulting rankings gauge the relative value of the various institutions and how they change over time.

Forbes College rankings

In 2008, began publishing an annual list, prepared by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity[111] of "America's Best Colleges".[112] The Forbes rankings use the list of alumni published in Who's Who in America, student evaluations from, self-reported salaries of alumni from PayScale, four-year graduation rates, numbers of students and faculty receiving "nationally competitive awards," and four-year accumulated student debt to calculate the rankings.[113] It disregards subjective measures such as public reputation, which causes some Ivy League and other highly reputable colleges to score lower than in other lists.

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

In 2009, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) began grading colleges and universities based on the strength of their general education requirements. In ACTA's annual What Will They Learn? report, colleges and universities are assigned a letter grade from "A" to "F" based on how many of seven subjects are required of students. The seven subjects are composition, mathematics, foreign language, science, economics, literature and American government or history.[114] The 2011-2012 edition of What Will They Learn? graded 1,007 institutions.[115] In the 2011-2012 edition, 19 schools received an "A" grade for requiring at least six of the subjects the study evaluated.[116] In the 2012-2013 edition, the study evaluated 1,070 colleges and universities, with 21 schools earning an "A" grade.[117][118] ACTA's rating system has been endorsed by Mel Elfin, founding editor of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings.[119] New York Times higher education blogger Stanley Fish, while agreeing that universities ought to have a strong core curriculum, disagreed with some of the subjects ACTA includes in the core.[120]

Revealed preference rankings

Avery et al. pioneered the use of choice modelling to rank colleges. Their methodology used a statistical analysis of the decisions of 3,240 students who applied to college in 1999.[121], now called Parchment, adopted a similar approach starting in 2009,[122] stating that its method is based on this approach.[123] The study analysed students admitted to multiple colleges. The college they attended became the winner, and the others became the losers. An Elo rating system was used to assign points based on each win or loss, and the colleges were ranked based on their Elo points. A useful consequence of the use of Elo points is that they can be used to estimate the frequency with which students, upon being admitted to two schools, will choose one over the other.


Other organizations that rank US institutions include the Fiske Guide to Colleges and College Prowler. Many specialized rankings are available in guidebooks, considering individual student interests, fields of study, geographical location, financial aid and affordability.

Among the rankings dealing with individual fields of study is the Philosophical Gourmet Report or "Leiter Report",[124] a ranking of philosophy departments. This report has attracted criticism from different viewpoints. Notably, practitioners of continental philosophy, who perceive the Leiter report as unfair to their field, have compiled alternative rankings.

The Gourman Report, last published in 1996, ranked the quality of undergraduate majors and graduate programs.

Gallup polls ask American adults, "All in all, what would you say is the best college or university in the United States?"[125]

Guide to Online Schools publishes online college rankings each year, using the criteria of recommendation rate, cost of tuition, retention rate, repayment rate, and accreditation. All schools on their 2013 online college rankings are regionally accredited.[126][127]

The Princeton Review, annually publishes a book of Best Colleges. In 2011, this was titled The Best 373 Colleges. Phi Beta Kappa has also sought to establish chapters at the best schools, lately numbering 280.[128]



The Good Universities Guide and Excellence in Research for Australia annually rank domestic universities.[129][130]

South America


In Argentina the National Commission for University Evaluation and Accreditation ranks higher education programs by evaluation and accreditation.[131]


The latest ranking, the Ranking Universitário Folha (RUF) website (in Portuguese), was created by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. This ranking is based on the combination of four indicators: education quality, research quality, market assessment and an innovation indicator.


In Chile the "Comisión Nacional de Acreditación" (National Commission of Accreditation of the Universities) manages evaluation and accreditation. It also ranks universities according to accreditation levels.[132] Other commercial rankings are made by research magazines, including Qué Pasa and América Economía. Qué Pasa's ranking evaluates perception and quality following surveys of approximately 1,000 employers across the country.[133] América Economía's ranking considers quality of students, quality of teachers, rating of professors by student, research productivity, internationalization, integration with the community, student life quality and inclusion of students from lower social strata.[134]

See also


External links

  • EUA Report on University Rankings 2013
  • The 2012 Ranking of Italian Universities
  • Institute for Higher Education Policy Ranking Systems Clearinghouse
  • University of Illinois Library – College and University Rankings
  • The Ranking Forum of Swiss Universities
  • College Rankings Reformed: The Case for a New Order in Higher Education
  • Interactive maps comparing the ARWU, Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings
  • Jambor, Paul Z. 'The Changing Dynamics of PhDs and the Future of Higher Educational Development in Asia and the Rest of the World' Department of Education – The United States of America: Educational Resources Information Center, September 26, 2009

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