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Harvard drops to fourth place in World University Rankings

Published: October 5, 2012
Section: News


Harvard’s ranking in the Times Higher Education, a magazine based in London, fell to fourth this year. Two years ago, Harvard sat at the top of the list. Last year it lost to the California Institute of Technology. This year, Harvard switched spots with Oxford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) usurped Princeton’s spot in the top five.

According to Times Higher Education’s website, they use 13 “carefully calibrated performance indicators” that fall under five categories to measure each school. In the presented measures, Harvard’s highest rating was 99.2 in Citations, which is described as research influence and worth 30 percent of the overall score. Harvard’s weakest rating was a 39.9 under Industry income, meaning innovation. Whereas 39.9 at first glance appears to be an alarmingly low score, since Industry income is the lowest valued category worth 2.5 percent of the overall score. In Teaching and Research, both worth 30 percent, Harvard scored 94.9 and 98.6 respectively. Finishing out the score, International outlook garnered a score of 63.7 and worth 7.5 percent of the final score (93.6).

Between Caltech and Harvard, the total point difference was 1.9. Caltech’s overall score was 95.5 with higher scores in every category other than International Outlook. Caltech scored over 99 in Research and Citations, over 95 in Teaching and Industry Income, but fell below 60 under International Outlook.

Other noteworthy statistics include U.S. institutions composing 76 schools out of the top 200. 31 schools from the U.K., 12 from the Netherlands and 11 from Germany also cracked the top 200. Generally, Asian universities were rarer on the list compared to their American or European peers, but many improved compared to prior years. For example, Seoul National University in Korea advanced more than 60 spots from 124 to 59. Closer to the top of the list, the University of Tokyo improved from 30 to 27, a difference of approximately one point. In explaining the rises among Asian universities, Phil Baty, editor of the rankings stated that “Huge investment in top research universities across Asia is starting to pay off.”

Outside of Harvard and MIT in the top 10, the next school from the greater Boston Area is Boston University at 54th place. Brandeis was ranked between 201-225. Specific Data was withheld by Times Higher Education. Among the top 10, seven spots are held by American Universities, along with Oxford, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London to round out the top 10.