MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXIV No. 1
September / October 2011
Political Climate Change Threatens
Scientific Endeavors
Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle:
MIT Faculty and Nuclear Disarmament
Rise of the Rest, Fall of the Best?
Innovations in Communication Instruction at MIT: Celebrating Ten Years of the Communication Requirement (CR)
HASS Exploration Program:
Entering Phase Two
Faculty Fallout
A Letter to President Hockfield
MIT Ranked 3rd in the World, 5th in the U.S.?
Teaching this fall? You should know . . .
MISTI Expands Faculty Seed Funds and Launches New MIT-Chile Program
College Admissions 101
Request for Preliminary Proposals for
Innovative Curricular Projects
Nominate a Colleague for the
MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program
Commenting on “Departmental Discussions of Diversity and Inclusion”
U.S. News & World Report: Best College Rankings for Nartional Universities, 2003-2012
Printable Version

MIT Ranked 3rd in the World, 5th in the U.S.?


In a salient example of just how confusing college ranking systems can be, MIT was recently ranked third in the QS World Rankings (behind the University of Cambridge [U.K.] and Harvard University). But in the latest U.S. News & World Report undergraduate national universities rankings, announced in the magazine’s “America’s Best Colleges” issue published in late August, the Institute was tied for fifth, behind Harvard and Princeton (tied for first), followed by Yale and Columbia. In an unusual occurrence, there were actually five schools tied for fifth: Caltech, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania all received the same score as MIT.

The Institute maintained its place as the number one undergraduate engineering school in the country, and also remained second to the University of Pennsylvania in the undergraduate business school category.

Whereas the U.S. News & World Report rankings are the most well known and accepted in the United States, in addition to the QS World Rankings there are several other national and international ranking agencies. These include Princeton Review, Kiplinger, the Times Higher Education, among others.

It is important to note that each different ranking system uses both its own metrics, and focuses on different aspects of education. For example, QS World Rankings puts great emphasis on the production by faculty and employment of students (output) whereas U.S. News is far more concerned with input to students.

Categories (and weights) used by QS World Rankings include:
            • Academic Reputation (40%)
            • Employer Reputation (10%)
            • Citations per Faculty (20%)
            • Faculty/Student Ratio (20%)
            • Proportion of International Students (5%)
            • Proportion of International Faculty (5%)

Categories (and weights) used by U.S. News to judge colleges include:
            • Undergraduate academic reputation (22.5%)
            • Graduation and retention rates (20%)
            • Faculty resources (20%)
            • Student selectivity (15%)
            • Financial resources (10%)
            • Alumni giving (5%)
            • Graduation rate performance* (7.5%)
*The difference between actual and predicted graduation rates.

U.S. News also rated individual engineering and business departments. Several of the Institute’s programs in these areas were ranked in the top 10. They are:

            • Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronomical (1st)
            • Biomedical/Biomedical Engineering (4th)
            • Chemical Engineering (1st)
            • Civil Engineering (8th)
            • Computer Engineering (1st)
            • Electrical/Electronic/ Communications (1st)
            • Environmental/Environmental Health (7th) [tied with Michigan]
            • Materials (1st)
            • Mechanical Engineering (1st)

            • Entrepreneurship (5th)
            • Finance (3rd)
            • Management (9th)
            • Management Information Systems (1st)
            • Productions/Operations Management (1st)
            • Quantitative Analysis (1st)
            • Supply Chain (2nd)

Data was taken from the 2012 edition of the U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind, however, is that regardless of the ranking system or metrics, MIT tends to do very well indeed!

See "M.I.T.Numbers" for the top 10 rated schools by U.S. News over the last decade.

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