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The 100 Best Universities in the World Today

The 100 Best Universities in the World Today 2018-2019

Some university rankings focus on factors unrelated to academic merit. Thus, some rankings of colleges and universities may give weight to attractiveness of campus, satisfaction of students and alumni, extracurricular benefits (such as top athletics programs), affordability of tuition, and expected income of graduates.

This is not such a ranking.

In contrast, if you are looking for a ranking with a focus on academic prestige, scholarly excellence, and sheer intellectual horsepower, then this is the ranking you want.

At the universities in this ranking, you will be mixing with the brightest faculty and students in the world, and developing your knowledge and skills so that you yourself will be in a position to join the world’s elite academics, scientists, and thinkers.

Ranking Methodology
To counteract the apparent gaming of university rankings, TheBestSchools.org contracted with InfluenceRankings.com to form a ranking based on statistical document analysis across the Web. For the present ranking, this meant selecting a representative sample of disciplines at universities (not just natural and social sciences, as with Shanghai, but also humanities and professional schools), finding the influencers in each discipline, and then pooling these influencers to see where they are on faculty and where they got their degrees. Details about the underlying methodology can be found here.

The result is a ranking immune to gaming because it is based entirely on the “footprint” of key researchers and scholars on the Web — -not just in terms of some broad popularity measure (such as number of Google search results), but by measuring their strength of association on the Web with the topics in which they are supposed to be expert.

Accordingly, the result is a ranking that focuses on the preeminent factor that ought to be used to gauge academic merit in the first place — namely, the combined influence of a school’s faculty across fields of study. Yes, this ranking is entirely Web-based. But in this day and age, if you’re alive and currently active but not influential on the Web, then you’re not influential, period!

A cursory examination of our new ranking shows that we are on to something. All the schools in the ranking clearly deserve a place here, as evidenced by their national reputations, as well as by their appearance in other existing rankings (note that are not dismissing other rankings, but merely note their acknowledged vulnerability to gaming). So our new ranking, minimally, passes a sanity check.

But our ranking also offers some genuinely new insights. All the usual suspects are there, to be sure, but their order may seem counter-intuitive. Harvard, as always, is at the top. But the University of Chicago sits at number 3 (often it is ranked around number 10). However, the University of Chicago is not just a great school for the natural sciences, which tend to get pride of place with Shanghai, it is particularly strong in economics (with a slew of Nobel laureates in that field), as well as in professional schools (such as law and medicine), and in the humanities. By contrast, Caltech, which is extremely strong in the natural sciences, is weaker in other disciplines, and thus drops from its usual perch among the top 15 down to number 38.

A lot of interesting patterns emerge as one examines this ranking. Fifty-five of the schools listed are in the United States (52 were in the US in the previous version of this ranking). Of those outside the US, 15 are in the UK, eight in Germany, three in Canada, three in Australia, three in the Netherlands, and one each in 13 additional countries.

1. Harvard University26. Hebrew University of Jerusalem51. University of Birmingham76. Imperial College London
2. University of California - Berkeley27. University of Washington52. Boston University77. University of Göttingen
3. University of Chicago28. The University of Texas at Austin53. University of Tübingen78. University of California–Davis
4. University of Michigan29. University of British Columbia54. University of Sussex79. Dartmouth College
5. Columbia University30. King's College London55. University of Warwick80. University of Sydney
6. Yale University31. University of Bristol56. University of Sheffield81. National Autonomous University of Mexico
7. Princeton University32. Rutgers University57. University of Arizona82. University of Buenos Aires 
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)33. London School of Economics58. University of Virginia83. Goethe University Frankfurt
9. University of Cambridge34. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign59. University of Leeds84. Ohio State University
10. Stanford University35. University of Southern California60. University of Rochester85. University of Copenhagen
11. Oxford University36. University of Edinburgh61. University of Amsterdam86. Arizona State University 
12. Cornell University37. Brown University62. Heidelberg University87. University of Southampton
13. University of California–Los Angeles38. California Institute of Technology63. Syracuse University88. Florida State University
14. University of Wisconsin–Madison39. University of Munich64. University of Massachusetts–Amherst89. University of Calcutta
15. University of Toronto40. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill65. University of Utah90. University of Georgia
16. University of Manchester41. Moscow State University66. Washington University in St Louis91. The University of Tokyo
17. Duke University42. University College London67. Leiden University92. University of Melbourne
18. New York University43. University of Vienna68. Free University of Berlin93. University of Florida
19. Johns Hopkins University44. University of Maryland69. University of Notre Dame94. Brandeis University
20. University of Pennsylvania45. University of Pittsburgh70. Rice University95. Stockholm University
21. University of Minnesota Twin Cities46. Pennsylvania State University71. University of Oslo96. Vanderbilt University
22. University of California - San Diego47. University of California–Irvine72. Birkbeck, University of London97. Case Western Reserve University
23. University of Paris (Sorbonne)48. Australian National University73. Utrecht University98. University of Warsaw
24. Northwestern University49. Swarthmore College74. Wesleyan University99. University of Cologne
25. McGill University50. University of Bonn75. City University of New York100. Michigan State University

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