Countries at all levels of economic development are trying to build world-class universities to serve as economic and academic catalysts. And more universities are seeking world-class status to become players on the global academic stage. In other words, the world of higher education is becoming increasingly "flat."
The major research universities in the United States are aware of these global trends and have been expanding and competing internationally for several years. In fact, American higher education's large research-doctoral-granting university model is now being copied by universities and higher education systems in many other countries. The new World's Best Universities top 400 rankings help put these global trends in context.
When U.S. News started publishing Best Colleges rankings more than 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 variations on the original idea of our national rankings.
With these variations come differences in methodology. First, none of the data used in the Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools rankings are used to compute any of the World's Best Universities rankings. As noted earlier, the international rankings are based on the QS World University Rankings, which are produced in association with QS, who does all the data collection and calculations for the rankings. We publish the same World's Best Universities rankings that QS does.
Additionally, the methodology used to compute the World's Best Universities rankings is different in most key areas from what we use in the U.S. News Best Colleges and U.S. News Best Graduate Schools. It's true that both the Best Colleges and the World's Best Universities rankings use peer surveys. However, the survey process used to calculate peer assessment and recruiter reviews in the World's Best Universities 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.
The U.S. News Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools rankings rely heavily on student and school-specific data—such as scores on admission tests, graduation rates, retention rates, and financial resources—that are not part of World's Best Universities because such student and school-specific data can't be compared internationally.
About our partner: Founded in 1990, today QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the leading information and events company specializing in the higher education sector, worldwide. Through exclusive events, publications, research, and interactive Web tools, QS links undergraduate, graduate, MBA, and executive communities around the world with recruiters and education providers.
QS's websites include: www.topuniversities.com, www.topgradschool.com, www.topmba.com, and www.qs.com. QS operates globally from offices in London, Paris, New York, Singapore, Stuttgart, Beijing, Shanghai, Sydney, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Johannesburg.