August 19, 2013

ASU ranks among world's top 100 universities

Posted: August 19, 2013

Ranking authors say ASU is "perhaps the most advanced globally in terms of merging the boundaries between academic disciplines"

Arizona State University once again ranks among the top 100 universities in the world, according to the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which this week released the 11th edition of its annual global university ranking, "2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities."

According to the authors of the rankings, among the world’s best universities, ASU is, “perhaps the most advanced globally in terms of merging the boundaries between academic disciplines. President Michael Crow has led Arizona in a strategy of differentiation, whereby the university’s academic profile is focused upon intellectual fusion around major international challenges.”

The university first entered the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2003 and achieved top 100 status in 2006. ASU is ranked 79th this year. ASU ranked 46th among all universities in the United States and 25th among all public U.S. universities.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities is considered one of the two most prominent world university rankings, along with the Times Higher Education World University Ranking. ASU also was the top-ranked Arizona university this year, at 73rd overall and 46th among U.S. universities, by the Center for World University Rankings.

“ASU’s research strengths and initiatives represent opportunities that we believe will advance discovery and innovation,” Crow said. “Our approach is to identify an intellectual path that addresses a range of problems, say those related to living more sustainably, and then to bring together people from multiple disciplinary areas to come up with solutions. It’s a pioneering approach that carries throughout the university and provides our students and faculty with a truly differentiated academic experience.”

In addition to the overall ranking, ASU was highly ranked in the top 100 in several other categories, by general scientific field and subject matter:

• 20th in the social sciences (field)
• 21tst in economics/business (subject)
• Group 76-100 in computer science (subject)
• Group 76-100 in engineering/technology/computer science (field)

As opposed to more popular lists – such as the U.S. News & World Report rankings, which predominantly measure average SAT scores of incoming freshmen, selectivity, average faculty compensation or student-to-faculty ratio – the ARWU measure outcomes: the achievements of alumni and faculty.

ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; the number of highly cited researchers selected by Thomson Scientific; the number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science; the number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index; and per capita performance, with respect to the size of an institution.

In total, more than 1,000 universities are actually ranked, and the best 500 are published on the website:

The top five world universities are Harvard, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge in England.

By country, the United States had 52 universities in the top 100; followed by the United Kingdom, with 9; Australia, with five; Germany, France, Canada and Switzerland, with four; Japan, Israel, Netherlands and Sweden, with three; Denmark, with two; and Russia, Norway, Finland and Belgium, with one.

According to the Shanghai University, the initial purpose of ARWU was to find the global standing of top Chinese universities. Since then, it has attracted a great deal of attention from universities, governments and public media worldwide. A survey on higher education published by The Economist called ARWU "the most widely used annual ranking of the world's research universities." The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that ARWU "is considered the most influential international ranking."

Sharon Keeler,
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering