17 Aug 2011

Previously we here at the Regional Studies Blog have written about World University Rankings. As many Regional Studies folk work in academia we thought we'd revisit this idea given that the Academic Ranking of World Universities was just released for 2011. This ranking system is often considered to be one of the most reliable as it does not rely on surveys for data collection and has a fairly transparent ranking process. It was also among the very first to start ranking universities back in 2003.

As is often the case with these rankings the United States again dominates with eight out of the top ten universities in the world, led by Harvard, with Cambridge and Oxford in the UK being the other two.

The good thing about this index is that it also gives a break down of the top 100 universities by both field and broad subject area. While Harvard is number one in the fields of Science, Life and Agriculture, Medicine and Social Science - MIT gets first place for Engineering. One of the biggest criticism of this particular ranking is that it is overly focused on the natural sciences. This becomes apparent in that the only subjects for which universities are ranked are Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computers and Economics.

For those of you interested in rankings, you should also check out this older post on journal rankings.