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London Raters: BU among the World’s Best

Survey cites medical and science education


BU is the toast of the Thames. And apparently, quite a few other spots around the world.

Times Higher Education magazine, formerly part of The Times of London, puts the University 54th in its latest rankings of what the raters call the planet’s 400 top universities. The Times’ World University Rankings rely heavily on international research citations and the opinions of global scholars. BU held the same spot in last year’s survey and is up five notches from two years ago.

In the current survey, the University is the 32nd highest ranked American school. In clinical medical education, BU ranked 29th among the world’s top 50 such schools, 40th among life science schools, and 48th for physical sciences.

In the magazine’s World Reputation Rankings, a separate compilation computed by a different methodology, BU placed among schools in the numbers 81-to-90 bracket. (Only the top 50 schools get individual rankings for reputation; the rest are grouped together in brackets because their scores on the survey are close together.) The University’s standing is up from the previous year’s 91-to-100 bracket.

On the World University Rankings, BU ran ahead of such local peers at Tufts (87th), Boston College (150th), and Northeastern (listed in the 201-to-225 bracket).

President Robert A. Brown says the ratings underscore the high esteem in which BU is held among global observers. Karen Antman, provost of the Medical Campus and dean of the School of Medicine, says the high medical education ranking is well earned. “Our faculty collaborate with faculty at international schools of medicine,” she says, “and a high fraction of our medical students do international electives. Our medical and health sciences education and research clearly have global impact.”

The magazine says the World University Rankings are based on 13 criteria, the “flagship” of which is the number of times a faculty’s research is cited by international scholars. Among the other yardsticks: the amount of research funding received, including from industry, the number of scholarly papers published, the numbers of students and faculty from abroad, the amount of international research collaboration and a university’s research reputation among peers, and its teaching reputation as measured by a global poll of scholars. Institutions provide some of the data to the raters.

The World Reputation Rankings, meanwhile, are derived from a global questionnaire of more than 16,000 “experienced, published scholars, who offer their views on excellence in research and teaching within their disciplines and at institutions with which they are familiar,” the magazine says. The survey was done in March and April last year.

The United States is home to 7 of the top 10 schools in the World University Rankings, among them the number-one-ranked California Institute of Technology.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

8 Comments on London Raters: BU among the World’s Best

  • BU Alumnus on 03.27.2013 at 3:20 am

    Until a couple of years ago the BU administration felt these rankings to be irrelevant. BU was the only research university that did not provide data to the USNWR. I guess BU has finally decided to play the game.

  • Overlord of the Freshmen on 03.27.2013 at 8:33 am

    How incredibly dismal….

  • Jasper on 03.27.2013 at 11:01 am

    Honestly, how are we above Tufts and below OSU? I don’t understand how these were ranked

    • Student on 03.27.2013 at 11:17 am

      As it should be. Tufts is a joke of a school that thinks they are world class because they have a good IR program. Since when does IR do anything other than create McDonalds Managers?

    • BU Alum on 03.27.2013 at 3:01 pm

      The worldwide rankings are heavily weighted by total research dollars. Hence humungous OSU is higher, much smaller Tufts is lower. Size matters!

    • SMG Student on 03.27.2013 at 9:27 pm

      BU has excellent specialty schools. Sargent, Engineering, SMG, Dental and our Medical schools tend to be top 20 globally. This leads to a lot of research citation.

      The funding created by these schools also helps specialty programs within CAS like Geo spacial. Since not many schools do research in those areas it further pumps up our citations.

      We also have a good reputation outside of Mass.

  • BU ALUM on 03.27.2013 at 4:28 pm

    how are we lower than UCSB? I dont understand

    • BU UG on 06.12.2014 at 11:15 am

      I so agree..

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