About the World's Best Colleges Rankings

More students are eager to explore the higher education options that exist beyond their own borders.

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U.S. News & World Report is proud to publish our first ever World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings. These rankings are based on data from the THE-QS World University Rankings, which were produced in association with QS Quacquarelli Symonds. QS Quacquarelli Symonds, one of the world's leading networks for careers and education, has been publishing world rankings since 2004. These rankings have obtained increasing influence among academics worldwide and have a growing impact among prospective students and government policymakers.

The U.S. News World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings enable our readers to understand more fully how well American institutions perform when compared with other institutions of higher learning around the world. The bottom line is that they perform very well: Nearly 60 schools in the Top 200 Universities Worldwide are in the United States.

When U.S. News started publishing our college and university rankings 25 years ago, no one predicted the influence these lists would acquire as both a consumer tool and a force for accountability in American higher education. What began with little fanfare has spawned college rankings in countries around the world. Global institutional ranking systems like the one we are publishing here are a new variation on the original idea of our national rankings.

The world is rapidly changing and evolving. More students and faculty are eager to explore the higher education options that exist beyond their own borders. Universities worldwide are competing for the best and brightest students, the most highly recognized research faculty, and coveted research dollars. Countries at all levels of the economic development scale are actively trying to build world-class universities to serve as economic and academic catalysts. In other words, the world of higher education is becoming increasingly "flat."

The major research universities in the United States are fully aware of these trends and have been thinking, expanding, and competing internationally for numerous years. In fact, the American higher education megaresearch-university model is being copied by many other countries. These new World's Best Colleges rankings help put these global trends in context.

In addition to the overall world ranking list, we are also publishing lists for the Top 30 Asian Universities, Top 20 Australian and New Zealand Universities, Top 20 Canadian Universities, and Top 30 European and UK Universities. We also are producing top 50 global rankings in the fields of arts and humanities; engineering and IT; life sciences and biomedicine; natural sciences; and social sciences.

How are the World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings different from the America's Best Colleges and America's Best Graduate Schools rankings?

  • First, none of the data used in the America's Best Colleges and America's Best Graduate Schools rankings is used to compute any of the World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings. The world rankings are based on the THE-QS World University Rankings, which are produced in association with QS Quacquarelli Symonds. Quacquarelli Symonds does all the data collection and calculations for the World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings.
    • Second, the methodology used to compute the World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings is different in many key areas from what we use in the America's Best Colleges and America's Best Graduate Schools. It's true that both the America's Best and the World's Best Colleges and Universities rankings use peer surveys. However, the survey process used to calculate peer assessment and recruiter reviews in the World's Best rankings are conducted very differently. Because of the limitations and the availability of cross-country comparative data, the world ranking system relies heavily on research performance measured through citations per faculty member. The U.S. News rankings do not use citation analysis.