U.S. News & World Report's World's Best Universities rankings are based on the QS World University Rankings.
U.S. News & World Report is proud to publish its fifth annual version of the World's Best Universities rankings.
These new 2012 rankings are based on data from the QS World University Rankings, which were produced in association with QS Quacquarelli Symonds. QS, one of the world's leading networks for careers and education, has been publishing international rankings since 2004.
These rankings have obtained increasing influence among academics worldwide and have a growing effect on prospective students and government policymakers. The rankings themselves are the same as QS publishes on its website.
In addition, there are global rankings in the following 25 subject areas, including a new ranking this year in communication and media studies:
• Arts and humanities: English language and literature; geography and area studies; history; linguistics; modern languages; and philosophy
• Engineering and technology: chemical engineering; civil engineering; computer science; electrical engineering; and mechanical, aeronautical, and manufacturing engineering
• Life sciences: biological sciences; psychology
• Natural sciences: chemistry; earth and marine sciences; environmental sciences; mathematics; metallurgy and materials; and physics and astronomy
• Social sciences: accounting and finance; communication and media studies; economics and econometrics; politics and international studies; sociology; and statistics and operational research
[See the methodologies used in the World's Best rankings.]
The 2012 U.S. News World's Best Universities rankings enable our readers to more fully understand how American institutions are performing when compared with other institutions of higher learning. The bottom line is that U.S.-based universities perform very well: Eighty-three of the top 400 universities worldwide, or 21 percent, are in the United States.
The United Kingdom comes in second place with 45 universities, or 11 percent of the worldwide total. Germany was third with 35 universities, or 9 percent; Australia was fourth with 22 universities, or 6 percent; and France was fifth with 19 schools, or 5 percent.
Canada and Japan were tied at sixth place with 16 universities, or 4 percent each; Netherlands finished eighth with 12 universities, or 3 percent; South Korea was in ninth place with 11 schools, or 3 percent; and China came in at 10th place with 9 schools, at 2 percent.
These top 10 countries accounted for 67 percent of the top 400, or 268 schools. In total, there are schools from 45 different countries represented in the top 400. The other 35 countries accounted for 33 percent of the total number of universities, or 132 schools.
The world is rapidly changing. More students and faculty are eager to explore the higher education options that exist outside their countries. 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 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.