This year China, for the first time, has the largest percentage of universities ranked for chemistry, civil engineering, materials science and mechanical engineering, according to US News and World Reports

By Ian Horswill


Posted on October 25, 2019

For the first time, universities in China have begun making their mark on the best university global rankings.

While the top 10 Best Global Universities rankings, supplied by US News and World Report, are similar to last year’s rankings with Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the US again topping the best university ranking. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in Cambridge, and Stanford University in Stanford, California, came second and third respectively. Two US universities, Columbia University in New York City and Princeton University in New Jersey, have surpassed the UK’s University of Cambridge, which has dropped down to ninth.

In Australia, the University of Melbourne, was the 26th best university worldwide and the University of Sydney the 27th best university. In Singapore, the National University of Singapore was the 34th best university, with the Nanyang Technological University the 43rd best university. In Sweden, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm was ranked the 51st best university with Lund University in Lund 91st. In India, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai came 513th and Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore was ranked the 530th best university.

The top 10 universities worldwide, according to US News and World Report, is:

  1. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, US
  3. Stanford University, Stanford, California, US
  4. University of California – Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  5. University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  6. California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, US
  7. Columbia University, New York City, New York, US
  8. Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, US
  9. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
  10. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  11. The US has 249 universities that qualified for the overall ranking, more than any other nation. China (188) has the second-highest number of universities ranked, and the UK has the third-largest number with 86. Universities in six countries that weren’t represented in the rankings last year qualified: Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Macedonia, Malta, Tanzania and Zambia.

    In degree course rankings, the US continues to have the highest proportion of ranked universities, with 16.6% of universities ranked in a subject, followed closely by China, with 12.5%.

    Last year, the US dominated in every subject bar one with the highest proportion of ranked universities. This year China has the largest percentage of universities ranked for chemistry, civil engineering, materials science and mechanical engineering.

    There are a small number of universities that have the unique distinction of placing highest in multiple best global universities subject rankings, demonstrating the breadth of their research excellence. These institutions include Harvard University, which is the highest-rated university in 13 of the 28 subject rankings, and the following three schools, each of which is rated No. 1 for multiple subjects: Tsinghua University in China, Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands and the California Institute of Technology in the US.

    Five universities earned spots in all 28 subject rankings: McGill University and the University of Toronto in Canada, the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, Pennsylvania State University—University Park in the US and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

    The ranking analyses 13 different variables that measure academic research into consideration, including academic reputation, international collaboration, publications and citations. In order to gather information in these categories, U.S. News partnered with Clarivate Analytics to survey 26,810 professors, researchers, senior administrators, students and university employees from across the globe.

    Click here for the complete rankings of the Best Global Universities.

    From 2010 to 2017, the number of international students who enrolled in higher education institutions worldwide increased by 2%, according to a report published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in September. English-speaking countries remained the most attractive, with Australia, Canada, the US and the UK together attracting 40% of internationally mobile students.