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University’s Ranking Climbs

U.S. News & World Report: BU has guidance counselors’ eyes


BU’s position as a global university was boosted this week by new rankings in U.S. News & World Report and QS World University Rankings, both of which place BU among their top 65 colleges.

U.S. News ranked BU 51st in the country, up from 53rd last year. The QS World University Rankings named BU 64th, up 6 spots from last year.

Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, says the administration is pleased with the news.

“We are delighted with the improved performance we’ve seen in this metric over the last year, and with the progress we’ve made,” says Morrison. “I believe, however, that the strengths of our University are not fully reflected by this ranking. So there remains work for us to do to fully communicate those strengths and to further Boston University’s development as an excellent research university.”

This year, U.S. News’ Best Colleges 2013 list ranked BU 51st—in a three-way tie with George Washington University and Tulane University—out of nearly 1,400 colleges included in the report. Harvard and Princeton Universities were tied for the top spot, and MIT (6), Tufts University (28), Boston College (31), and Northeastern University (56) appeared in the top 100.

U.S. News ranks national universities based on many factors, including peer assessment, retention and graduation rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, and graduation rate performance, which it explains as the difference between the proportion of students expected to graduate based on the students’ test scores and institutional resources and the proportion who actually do graduate.

BU was awarded an overall score of 61 on a 100-point scale. The University’s undergraduate academic reputation earned a 74 out of 100, and the report cited statistics such as the school’s high average freshman retention rate (91 percent) and its 8 percent average alumni giving rate.

U.S. News makes special note of BU’s “highly ranked graduate schools,” including the School of Law, School of Management, School of Medicine, College of Engineering, and School of Education. It also cited BU as having one of the best undergraduate business programs and best undergraduate engineering programs, and noted that public high school guidance counselors consider BU one of the schools that provided “the best undergraduate education” to prospective students.

In a separate list released Monday by QS, a global career and education network, BU was ranked 64th out of 700 universities worldwide, and 23rd in the United States. MIT ranked first on the list, with the United Kingdom’s University of Cambridge and Harvard University rounding out the top three.

This year’s listings saw an “unstoppable rise” in the numbers of students choosing to travel abroad to study at leading universities, according to a commentary posted on the QS World Universities Rankings’ website. American and British universities occupied the top 10 spots on the QS rankings.

The QS rankings are determined by academic peer review, global employer review, how often faculty members’ publications are cited in academic journals, the proportion of international students and faculty on campus, and a school’s faculty-student ratio. BU scored highest (77 out of 100) in employer review, with a 73.2 rating in faculty-student ratio, 63.2 in international student ratio, 72.5 in peer review, 74.8 in faculty publications, and 29.4 in international faculty. The University’s overall score of 71.1 bumped its ranking up 6 notches from last year’s rank of 70.

New York University, often compared with BU, was ranked 43rd globally, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was 57th. Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school, was ranked 113th, and Boston College 329th.

QS also ranked Boston as the third best city in the world for students, behind Paris and London.

Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

4 Comments on University’s Ranking Climbs

  • teresa on 09.14.2012 at 6:01 am

    Ha mejorado

  • BU Alum on 09.14.2012 at 8:11 am

    After all those years of declaring the USNews rankings irrelevant and being the only “National University” that refused to provide data to USNews, BU has finally realized that these rankings are an important factor in students’ selection of a university. Be careful though. Northeastern is catching up at 56th place!

  • Karen on 12.16.2012 at 11:29 am

    Hi Amy,
    I just read your great article and it does not surprise me that Boston University’s reputation is improving every year. My daughter was just accepted and will be going to BU in the fall. She attended the High School Honors program there this past summer and loved everything about it.
    I was very impressed with that program! The kids had rules and they were strictly enforced in a good way. It was mandatory to go on all the school sponsored field trips and there was an 11:00 curfew. The kids had a wonderful experience in a safe nurturing environment. She loved her two professors and her creative writing professor told her to keep in touch and she would always be happy to read any of her work. Boston University is a large school with a very small school touch. Whenever we called to ask a question during the application process- like what would be the best major given her strengths and her desire to be a writer. There was always someone answering the call very willing to answer all questions or transfer the call to the actual department. As a parent I was impressed and of course my daughter loved her experience and made the decision to apply early.

  • CarlitoG on 08.07.2013 at 9:43 pm

    I got accepted to BU!! Yayyyy!!

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