By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released their annual ranking lists on Aug. 15, 2016, with Harvard University again topping the best 500 universities in the world for the 14th year. The ARWU is one of only two major rankings that are not published by a western country either in the United States or the United Kingdom. Shanghai Ranking Consultancy compiles ARWU in China. The ranking is primarily based on scientific research to determine its rankings, and its subject rankings heavily look at the sciences except for the social sciences and economics.
For the 14th straight year, Harvard University topped the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)’s list. The top ten’s schools are unchanged from last year’s rankings and consist of eight American universities and two British institutions, but they moved around in their ranking. The world ranking also includes national ranks for each school represented on the list.
Stanford University remains in second place, but the University of California Berkeley, the top public school, moves up to third. The United Kingdom’s top school, the University of Cambridge, moves up one to fourth place, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology falls two to round up the top five.
In the second half of the top ten, Princeton is only the other university to maintain its spot, staying in sixth place. The University of Oxford is the greatest gainer in the top ten going up from tenth to seventh. While the California Institute of Technology Caltech, Columbia University and the University of Chicago each moved down one, to eighth, ninth, and tenth place respectively.
The top ranking university in continental Europe is ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) moving up one to19th. Denmark’s University of Copenhagen moves up to 30th becoming Continental Europe’s second best university, while France’s Pierre & Marie Curie University at 39th moves down to third place in Europe.
The list includes a rising number of Asian universities with The University of Tokyo is the top Asian university on the list, this time entering the top 20, in 20th place. Australia’s the University of Melbourne is the top university in the Oceania region coming at 40th.
The top Canadian university is the University of Toronto at №27 down two from last year. The University of British Columbia moved up three top №34 and second place in Canada.While McGill came in third in Canada moving up one to 63. Israel has a new top university with the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) moving up nine spots to 67, while Hebrew University moves down 20 spots from last year to 87.
The United States dominates the rankings as it does with all the global lists, while the United Kingdom is in second place. The US holds 15 of the top 20 spots, the UK has three spots, but this year the usual American and British dominance is challenged with the addition of a Swiss and Japanese university.
Although most of the schools in the ranking are from the US and Europe, Asian universities are seeing their numbers rise, with China and Singapore seeing one school crack the top 100 for the first time, China’s Tsinghua University is 58th, while Singapore’s National University of Singapore clocks in at 83.
There are 27 universities appearing in the ranking for the first time, while nine schools broke into the top 100 first time, according to ARWU they are “Tsinghua University, Peking University, Monash University, National University of Singapore, Mayo Medical School and the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.”
The main lists compromises of three different separate rankings; World Top 500 Universities; World Top 200 Universities in Broad Subject Fields, and World Top 200 Universities by Subject Fields. Shanghai Ranking Consultancy has been publishing the list since 2003.
Academic Ranking of World Universities ARWU’s top 10 world universities:
1 Harvard University (1)
2 Stanford University (2)
3 University of California Berkeley (4)
4 University of Cambridge (5)
5 MIT (3)
6 Princeton University (6)
7 University of Oxford (10)
8 California Institute of Technology Caltech (7)
9 Columbia University (8)
10 University of Chicago (9)
Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.