Harvard Tops London Ranking

Harvard topped the list of the world’s best universities for the third consecutive year, according to a British ranking published last week.

The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) placed Harvard at number one in its third annual ranking of the top 200 universities around the world. Princeton, which bested Harvard in this year’s U.S. News and World Report, was ranked 10th by THES.

While Princeton fell one spot from the previous year, Yale moved up three, tying MIT for fourth place.

“Universities continue to define themselves internationally, both at subject level and as whole institutions,” THES Editor John O’Leary wrote in an accompanying editorial. “There is broad acceptance that cross-border comparisons are here to stay in higher education.”

But Harvard’s lead in the rankings fell significantly from last year. O’Leary attributed the slip to Harvard’s “turbulent year.”

Harvard, whose overall score of 100 this year was 3.2 percentage points higher than second-place Cambridge University’s score, topped MIT last year by 13 percentage points.

The rankings were determined by a range of criteria, including a peer review, the student-to-faculty ratio, the number of university professors’ citations in academic papers, and the percentage of international students and faculty.

Director of Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis ’70-’73 said the first-place finish was gratifying, but she added that the admissions office does not place much emphasis on statistical rankings like this one.

“We’re always pleased to have our excellence recognized while we do not set great store by numerical rankings,” McGrath Lewis said.

The other U.S. schools in the top 10 were Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, and University of California, Berkeley. Cambridge and Oxford were ranked second and third respectively, each moving up one position from last year’s report.

The 200 schools in the THES ranking were spread among 30 countries around the world. The highest ranked school outside of the U.S. and the United Kingdom was China’s Beijing University, which came in at 14th.