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British journal again ranks Caltech best university in world

October 02, 2013|By Larry Gordon
  • Caltech in Pasadena was ranked first by the Times Higher Education magazine of Great Britain.
Caltech in Pasadena was ranked first by the Times Higher Education magazine… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

For the third year in a row, Caltech has been ranked as the top research university in the world by the Times Higher Education magazine of Great Britain. Three other California campuses — Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCLA — also scored in the top dozen.

Harvard University was tied for second with Britain’s University of Oxford, followed by Stanford, MIT, Princeton, the University of Cambridge, UC Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Imperial College London, Yale and UCLA.

The Times Higher Education listing emphasizes research and research reputation more strongly than some other rankings of universities. Among its scoring categories are income from research, the amount of scholarly publications and how international are the student bodies and faculties.

The UC system had four others in the top 100: UC Santa Barbara, No. 33; UC San Diego, No. 40, tied with New York University; UC Davis, No. 52, tied with Brown University and Kyoto University of Japan; and UC Irvine, No. 93, according to the magazine.

Caltech spokeswoman Deborah Williams-Hedges attributed Caltech's top spot to its "extraordinary faculty and their commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education."

USC was listed at No. 70, tied with Ecole Polytechnique in France. USC dropped from No. 56 the year before. Magazine officials attributed USC's lowered position mainly to a formula that compares the size of a school's academic staff to the amount of scholarly papers and doctorate degrees awarded. USC expanded its academic staff while not increasing the other categories as much; so it lost ground in those ratios, the publication said.

Beth Meyerowitz, USC's vice provost for faculty affairs, said in an email that there may be a lag between the time when the faculty ranks are expanded and when the new professors' research gets published or receives new funding. In addition, she said that USC has recently added faculty in the arts and fine arts and that "metrics such as grant income and publication citations may not be accurate measures of the status or contributions of faculty in the arts."


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