WASHINGTON — More than a dozen schools in Maryland, Virginia and the District have earned spots on a new list of the best universities in the world, based on how frequently their academic research is cited and the strength of their academic reputations.
The Best Global Universities rankings, released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report, includes 1,250 universities in 74 countries. The schools were evaluated in 22 different subject areas, including the arts and humanities, medicine, computer science and social science.
Two Maryland schools ranked in the top 50. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore came in at No. 10 on the list, and the University of Maryland at College Park was ranked No. 50. Johns Hopkins’ top 10 finish was a result, in part, of the medical school’s strong research performance. Both schools claim a number of academic papers that were among the top 1 percent most-cited in different fields.
The U.S. leads the global rankings with 221 schools on the list, including four of the top five. China came in second with 136 universities in the rankings. Harvard was the No. 1 ranked school in the world, followed by MIT, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Oxford in the U.K.
The global rankings, which U.S. News has published for the past four years, differ from the “Best Colleges” rankings published annually that only evaluate U.S. schools based on factors such as students’ academic performance and graduation rates.
The global rankings focus on schools’ research output, including how frequently research generated at the ranked school is cited in books, academic papers, books, scholarly journals and at conferences.
The focus on research makes it easier to make apples-to-apples comparisons between schools in the U.S. and around the world, says Anita Narayan, managing editor at U.S. News.
“As higher ed has really become much more global, institutions around the world and in the U.S. are really competing for the best students from around the world,” Narayan said.
Other schools in the wider D.C. area that earned spots in the rankings:
- The University of Virginia (No. 107)
- University of Maryland Baltimore (No. 203)
- Virginia Tech (No. 250)
- George Washington University (No. 260)
- Georgetown University (No. 279)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (No. 367)
- George Mason University (No. 429)
- College of William and Mary (No. 594)
- Old Dominion University (No. 630)
- Howard University (No. 750)
- American University (No. 927)
- Catholic University of America (No. 1025)
The global rankings aren’t the final word and should be the start of the school-search process for prospective students and their parents, Narayan says.
“What you need to remember is if an institution is ranked No. 10 vs. ranked No. 50, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the No. 50 school is not the right fit for you,” she said. “You need to really make sure that you dig into the data about that university to figure out: is this the right choice? At the end of the day, going overseas for a degree is an investment in the same way that it is if you’re staying local.”
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.
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