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Harvard is the Best for 13th Year Straight- Shanghai Rankings 2015

Shanghai Academic Rankings are one of the most prestigious in the world. Here is a brief report on the 2015 edition.
BY Skendha Singh |   31-08-2015

When choosing a University, students look for the stature and 'brand' of the institution. One of the biggest brandings for an institution is the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). These are alternatively known as the Shanghai Rankings. The 2015 edition  was released in August by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

From 2003, ARWU has been presenting the world’s Top 500 universities annually. ARWU adopts six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of Highly Cited Researchers, the number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, the number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index - Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance. More than 1200 universities are ranked every year and the best 500 universities are published.

For the 13th year in a row, Harvard University took the number one spot. Stanford came second, followed by MIT, University of California-Berkeley, Cambridge, Princeton, Caltech, Columbia, Chicago and Oxford.

In Continental Europe, ETH Zurich (20th) took first place, and University of Copenhagen (35th) overtook Pierre & Marie Curie (36th) as the second best university in this region. In Asia, University of Tokyo (21st) and Kyoto University (26th) kept their leading positions. University of Melbourne (44th) topped other universities in Oceania. University of Warwick (92nd) entered the Top 100 list for the first time. 11 universities broke into the Top 500 list in 2015, including Queensland University of Technology in Australia and Sharif University of Technology in Iran.

The Center for World-Class Universities also released the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Broad Subject Fields (ARWU-FIELD) and 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities by Subject Fields (ARWU-SUBJECT).

The best five universities out of 200 in five broad subject fields are as follows:

The top 5 Universities by subject fields are as follows:

  •  Physics – Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, MIT and Caltech
  • Chemistry – Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, Caltech and Northwestern (Evanston)
  • Computer Science – Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard and Princeton
  • Economics/Business – Harvard, Chicago, MIT, Berkeley and Columbia

Before choosing a University, a students must make sure that the ranking of an institution is not the only factor influencing his or her decision.  It is best to keep rankings in perspective when shortlisting colleges. Both the President of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator, and College Board’s India rep, Lisa Jain, have some good advice to give in this context. 

Rankings like ARWU can list some of the best performing universities, but only the students can decide if the best is also the right fit for him or her.




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