Harvard Wins in Global Brand Rankings

Harvard has the best university reputation in the world, according to the Times Higher Education’s seventh annual 2011 World University Reputation Rankings.

The British publication, affiliated with Thomson Reuters, scored Harvard a perfect 100, matching a similar top placement in the Times’ general rankings released last year.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed in second, with Ivies Princeton and Yale receiving ranks of seven and nine respectively.

Calculated based upon 13 key indicators, the World University Reputation Rankings assesses survey responses on learning environment, prevalence of research, and student-staff diversity, according to the report.

Information was gathered from more than 13,000 surveys distributed to university faculties from 131 different countries.


The other top five contenders included, in order, Cambridge University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University.

Harvard was the only university to receive a 100 in the reputation rating, and the five schools directly below ranged from 68.7 to 85.0 points.

Below these rankings, the reputation ratings drop significantly. Princeton received a 36.6 point rating and Osaka University in Japan—the 50th ranked school—received a 5.9 rating.

“Our survey suggests that there are only a handful of globally recognized brands in higher education,” the report states.

According to the report, a well-known brand or international reputation can serve as one of the most important features of a university in attracting the top students.

Indeed, the Times reported a wide range between reputation rankings and rank and academic scores for some universities.

The University of Massachusetts, for instance, was ranked 19 in the rankings based on reputation, while it received a 56 in the Times’ general rankings.

Students at Harvard said a strong reputation has its advantages, including in the job search.

“People take your ideas more seriously if you have something like Harvard to back them up,” Aticus A. Peterson ’14. “It makes people listen.”

But others maintained that reputation is not everything.

“School rankings did not play a big role in my decision to come here,” said Melissa J. Sieffert ’14. “It was not the numbers it was the community.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction.


The Mar. 11 article "Harvard Wins in Global Brand Rankings" incorrectly stated Yale's ranking in the survey. It ranked ninth, not tenth.


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