Times Higher Education released their 2014/15 World University Rankings on Oct. 1, 2014, where the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) held onto the number one spot. For the past four years, Caltech has topped the World University Rankings. Harvard University remains in the second spot as it has for the past two years, but it tops the World Reputation Rankings. Since the listing began in its current form, there has been little movement in the top 10, this year was an exception, Yale University broke through into the top 10, tying for 9th place, although the university is considered one of the best in the United States it was sitting at the edge at number 11 since 2011.
All four global listings agree the top university on the European continent is Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) sitting at number 13. The University of Toronto is also Canada’s top university at 20 as it is on the QS World University Rankings. Here the University of Tokyo is the top ranking Asian university on the list coming in at 23. Another difference is the University of Melbourne in Australia at 34 is the top ranking university in the Oceania region.
The top 50 however, is overwhelmingly dominated by American universities. Coming in a far second is British institutions with 29 universities, but they lost three universities from the top 200 this year but gained one new entry, the University of London. Many of the British institutions, which are concentrated in London, Cambridge, and Oxford also slipped in the rankings. London has the distinction of having the most universities in the top 200, with seven more than any other city in the world. The editor of the rankings Phil Baty, explained the shift, saying; ‘This loss of power and influence is not good for the UK’s overall competitiveness in the global knowledge economy.
Europe and Canada are given a raw deal with few universities in the top 50 and not many ranking high. Germany is the exception with a growing number of institutions represented. Canada only had eight universities in the top 200 with only one cracking, just barely the top 20. As a consolation, Canada had one new university reaching the top 200, University of Victoria, which in now at 173.
McGill University once the country most preeminent university also fell in the rankings from 35 to 39. McGill is now third in the country’s ranking on the global list after the University of British Columbia that sits at 32 similar to the QS World University Rankings. The principal of McGill University Suzanne Fortier stressed it is because of funding problems; “We have not seen any additional investments in quite a number of years now and also we have to live within quite a lot of constraints… We don’t have agility, we don’t have a lot of flexibility, because, certainly in the case of McGill, all of our money is controlled by the government.”
Asian universities are creeping into the higher rankings, but still very far the top. Even if Asian universities are not high in the rankings, they are increasing with 24 this year, four more than last year. The UK Mail noted that there is a “power shift” from “West to East” with more universities on the list from “China, Hong Kong and South Korea.” Baty explained the reason comes down to funding; “East Asia’s top universities continue their strong upward movement in the rankings, on the back of strong government financial support, strong leadership and a strong commitment to excellence in higher education and research…. At the same time, many Western universities, in many cases starved of vital public funding, are losing ground.” The former Dean of Arts at the University of Waterloo Ken Coates told CTV that “Now, it really is a global ranking.”
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an offset of the QS World University Ranking. In 2010 the Times Higher Education formed a new partnership with Thomson Reuters in 2010, and a new methodology. The ranking looks at a university’s “teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.” Thomson Reuters utilizes 13 indicators to determine the results of the list, they are under five “overall indicators; “industry income, internationalism, teaching, research, and citations.”
The annual ranking includes 10 additional lists covering subject fields, and universities in specific areas in additional to the main World University Rankings, which ranks the top 200 institutions. Subject field lists include; Arts & Humanities, Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health, Engineering & Technology, Life sciences, Physical sciences, and the Social sciences. Additionally, there are World Reputation Rankings, which looks at the “top 100 most powerful global university brands,” the 100 Under 50, ranking universities established in the past 50 years, Asia University Rankings, and BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings.
Many of the supplemental lists overlap and are similar to those issued by the QS World University Rankings. After years of being criticized for overlooking non-English institutions, and being too “commercialized,” the listing has now an increased number of Asian universities on the main list, in addition to a list specifically ranking Asian institutions, and other universities in the non-English world.
Times Higher Education’s Top 10 from their World University Rankings:
1 California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States, 94.3
2 Harvard University, United States, 93.3
3 University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 93.2
4 Stanford University, United States, 92.9
5 University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 92.0
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States, 91.9
7 Princeton University, United States, 90.9
8 University of California, Berkeley, United States, 89.5
9 Imperial College London, United Kingdom, 87.5
9 Yale University, United States, 87.5
- Times Higher Education: World University Rankings
College Rankings Guide 2014-15:
- College rankings guide: national and global rankings rev up for 2015 admissions
- College rankings guide 2014-15 Princeton Review names Syracuse best party school
- College rankings guide 2014-15: Forbes names Williams America’s Top College
- College rankings guide 2014-15 Princeton and Williams tops US News Best Colleges
- College rankings guide: Harvard tops the Academic Ranking of World Universities
- College rankings guide 2014-15: MIT again tops QS World University Rankings
- College rankings guide: Caltech tops Times Higher Ed’s World University Rankings
- College rankings guide: Harvard tops US News’s Best Global Universities Rankings
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are academic & universities news, particularly history & library news.