The number of international students enrolled worldwide from 1998 to 2018 increased on average by 4.8% per year, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But due to the interruption of on-campus courses in early 2020 caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to affect many countries, “future editions of this publication may reveal a sharp reversal of trends in the year that COVID-19 struck,” the report states.
“Although higher education institutions were quick to replace face-to-face lectures with online learning,” it reads, “these closures affected learning and examinations as well as the safety and legal status of international students in their host country.”
Still, many students will seek enrollment at universities abroad, and higher education experts say students should avoid common mistakes — like not accounting for costs beyond tuition — and should be sure to research how schools are supporting international students during the pandemic. Prospective students can find guidance about which international schools are world-renowned by examining the seventh edition of the U.S. News Best Global Universities rankings, released today.
The overall ranking includes nearly 1,500 schools spread across 86 countries. U.S. News also offers rankings specific to particular countries, geographic regions and academic disciplines.
The 2021 Best Global Universities rankings are based on data and metrics provided by Clarivate, a research and analytics firm. The methodology differs from that used to calculate other U.S. News rankings, such as Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools, in that the Best Global Universities rankings are entirely based on schools’ academic research performance, such as highly cited papers, and global and regional research reputations. These are not ratings of specific undergraduate or graduate programs.
The top 10 schools in the overall Best Global Universities ranking are similar to last year’s edition, with Harvard University in Massachusetts again topping the list, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University in California.
Johns Hopkins University in Maryland is the only new addition to the top 10, moving up one spot to No. 10. Princeton University in New Jersey fell out of the top 10 this year, dropping from No. 8 to a tie with Yale University in Connecticut for the No. 11 spot.
The U.S. has more universities that qualified for the overall ranking than any other nation: 255. China has the second-highest number of institutions, at 176, and the U.K. has the third-largest contingent, at 87. Universities in four countries that weren’t represented in the rankings last year made the cut this year: Algeria, Armenia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Aspiring international students can also consult the 45 country and five regional rankings to compare school options in specific areas of the world. These rankings are based entirely on how each school within that geographic region performed in the overall Best Global Universities ranking.
The highest-rated institutions in the regional rankings have changed in one region: China’s Tsinghua University surpassed the National University of Singapore to lead the Asia ranking this year. The University of Cape Town continues to top the Africa ranking, and in the Australia and New Zealand ranking, the University of Melbourne remains in first place. The University of Oxford is again at the top in Europe, and the Universidade de São Paulo continues to hold its No. 1 ranking in Latin America.
Prospective students who are interested in a specific field, such as engineering, can refer to the relevant subject ranking. In total, schools are evaluated in 38 subjects. Some subject areas increased by as many as 250 ranked schools, while others remained the same size.
This year, the rankings include 10 new subjects: biotechnology and applied microbiology; cell biology; chemical engineering; endocrinology and metabolism; energy and fuels; gastroenterology and hepatology; infectious diseases; nanoscience and nanotechnology; public, environmental and occupational health; and radiology, nuclear medicine and medical imaging.
The Best Global Universities subject ranking methodology is different from the overall ranking methodology, since the former focuses on a school’s research strength within a particular field. The subject rankings do not evaluate academic majors, departments or a specific school at a university, such as a business or medical school.
There are 179 schools that are represented in a subject ranking but did not qualify for placement in the overall Best Global Universities ranking.
Among all subject rankings, the U.S. continues to have the highest proportion of ranked schools, with 23.3% of schools ranked in a subject, followed by China, with 11.7%.
But China surpasses the U.S. in certain fields, claiming the largest percentage of schools ranked for chemical engineering; chemistry; civil engineering; electrical and electronic engineering; energy and fuels; materials science; mechanical engineering; and nanoscience and nanotechnology. China is also tied with the U.S. for the largest percentage of schools ranked for biotechnology and applied microbiology.
A few universities have the unique distinction of placing highest in multiple Best Global Universities subject rankings, demonstrating the breadth of their research excellence. These institutions include Harvard, which is the highest-rated school in 20 of the 38 subject rankings, and the following three schools, each of which is rated No. 1 for multiple subjects: Tsinghua University in China, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the California Institute of Technology in the U.S.
Only six universities earned spots in all 38 subject rankings: McGill University and the University of Toronto in Canada; the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium; and the University of New South Wales, Monash University and University of Sydney in Australia.
See the complete rankings of the Best Global Universities.
More from U.S. News
Harvard Tops 2021 U.S. News Best Global Universities Rankings originally appeared on usnews.com