Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
The first major university ranking of the year released is the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), who publishes their list way before the start of the new academic year. On Monday, May 28, 2018, CWUR released their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities in the world, where once again Harvard remained the top university, now for the seventh year running.
The CWUR is one of only two major rankings that are not published by a western country in either the United States or the United Kingdom. CWUR is centered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Although the top schools remained the same, the ranking saw a lot of movement especially in the ranking of the countries and their individual top schools representing a changing landscape in the best global universities.
The 2018 edition is the seventh year CWUR has released their rankings; the relatively new listing first started in 2012. It includes their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities and 61 countries, the largest number. After Harvard, the rest of the top three remains the same as last year with Stanford second and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) third. Two British universities round out the top five as last year, with the University of Cambridge in fourth place closely followed by the University of Oxford rounding out the top five.
The second half of the top ten had a lot of movement, the University of California, Berkeley moved up one spot from seventh to sit at the sixth position. Princeton University also moved up, two spots from the ninth to the seventh position. Columbia University moved down two places to the eighth position. Only one university entered the top ten the California Institute of Technology, Caltech moving up from number 11 to the ninth place. While the University of Chicago fell two spot to round out the top ten. Yale University dropped out of the top ten this year to number 11.
The US dominated the CWUR rankings as it does with most other world university rankings; however, there are less American schools in the top 1000, last year there were 225 this year there are only 213. The CWUR ranking shows how preeminent Asian schools are becoming globally, here they follow the US in the most school represented an honor usually reserved for the United Kingdom. This year’s edition there are more schools that are Asian represented, there are 108 schools from China listed, the number keep rising, with 97 in 2017 and 90 in 2016.
The United Kingdom has improved their standing, but and have lowered the number of universities represented, they have 62 schools listed down from 65, but now have the third most schools in the ranking. The UK has consistently two universities in the top ten, and they are the only other country to break American dominance. Only four universities from the 24 that are part of the Russell Group fell in the ranking.
The UK rise in the country ranking has more to do with Japan losing ground that any improvement in their standing. In the past three ranking Japan’s number of schools represented has dwindled. Currently Japan has 56 schools in the list down from 71 in 2017 and 74 in 2016. Still, Japan has the first school to make the global list outside of the US and the UK with the University of Tokyo up one to at number 12, which also the top ranking Asian school.
France this year takes third place in the world with 58 schools featured, and the Sorbonne University as their top school coming in the top 30 at 29 and replacing École Polytechnique for the honor.
CWUR also includes rankings by country, with lists of the best universities in the major countries in all the world’s regions and they correspond to the rankings on the international list. Therefore, Harvard also tops the USA list, while the number four University of Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s top school. The first university ranking from the European continent is Switzerland’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which ranks at 28th down one from last year. In Oceania, Australia has the top school with the University of Melbourne at 57, replacing the University of Sydney for the top place.
Canada is only the fourth country to reach the top 20, with the University of Toronto at 17th place moving up from 28 last year. Overall, Canada is in 10th place with 28 universities on the list, but all their top school moving up; the University of Toronto also remains Canada’ top school again this year. McGill retains their position in second place ranking at 37th up from 41 last year. At their heels is third place the University of British Columbia at number 38 up from 55 in the last edition.
In the Middle East, the Weizmann Institute of Science replaces the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the Middle East and Israel’s highest-ranking university. The title is hardly a victory, the Weizmann Institute ranks at number 45 down from 39 last year. Hebrew University fell over 30 places from 27th last year to just 61st this year. Hebrew U usually ranks as Israel’s top university. Israel has one other school in the top 100 is the Tel Aviv University at 85. Israel has seven schools represented in the ranking.
The key to their methodology is objectivity; all the seven indicators are backed by solid, quantifiable statistics emphasizing graduate success and faculty research. The seven factors are “quality of teaching, alumni employment, quality of faculty, research output, quality publications, influence, and citations.” This year CWUR revised their methodology with “research now accounting for 70% of the total score.” According to the description of their methodology, “The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students along with the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.”
Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) top 10:
1. Harvard University (1)
2. Stanford University (2)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (3)
4. University of Cambridge (4)
5. University of Oxford (5)
6. University of California, Berkeley (7)
7. Princeton University (9)
8. Columbia University (6)
9. California Institute of Technology (11)
10. University of Chicago (8)
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 over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.