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BU Is World’s 32nd-Best University, Says U.S. News

Rankings measured by research quality and reputation


BU jumped five spots in the latest ranking of the best “global universities” by U.S. News & World Report, rising to 32 from last year’s 37.

It is the magazine’s second annual compilation in this category, and it “affirms how competitive we continue to be among the world’s premier research universities,” says Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer. She credits “the outstanding efforts of our faculty, whose research and scholarship are yielding important new knowledge and practical discoveries that positively impact quality of life. We are extremely proud of their work and excited to continue building on this success in the years ahead.”

BU President Robert A. Brown called BU’s move up the rankings “gratifying, as it is always better to go up than down in these evaluations. The methodology for this particular ranking relies significantly on information about faculty research productivity and impact. It’s great that our emergence as a major research university is increasingly evident and recognized. And it is a wonderful confirmation that the extraordinary work of our faculty is being recognized around the world.”

U.S. News says that it launched this ranking, which includes 750 schools from 57 countries (up from last year’s 500 schools in 49 countries), in view of the many students opting to attend college abroad. The magazine considered a dozen factors in measuring the schools’ “academic research performance” and “global and regional reputations.” Among the criteria were publications and books, citations of faculty research, collaboration with international peers, and number of PhDs awarded by the institution.

In compiling the rankings, the publication relied in part on analytics from ThomsonReuters, a multinational firm researching and assessing scholarship and its worldwide influence.

BU ranked just behind the University of Tokyo and immediately ahead of the University of British Columbia, New York University, Ohio State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Germany’s Heidelberg University. The top four universities were all American: Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and Stanford.

Last month, U.S. News ranked BU 41st on its list of the 50 top US universities.

Rich Barlow, Senior Writer, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Rich Barlow

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

11 Comments on BU Is World’s 32nd-Best University, Says U.S. News

  • Brian on 10.20.2015 at 9:33 am

    Good positional ranking for BU and one that I actually agree with.
    I never have understood why BU ranks to horribly in the US News National Ranking report.

    • Evelyn on 02.16.2016 at 7:48 am

      Can’t help but agree with you! BU is definitely underrated!

  • Alex on 10.20.2015 at 2:51 pm

    It is always great when the president and provost of a university attribute all their success to themselves and their fellow faculty members without even mentioning the students once.
    In the end, without great students, no university will move up in the rankings this quickly.

    • Steve on 10.20.2015 at 3:41 pm

      The US News and World Report article provides a link to the methodology used in this ranking. If you review it closely, it is almost entirely based on Faculty activities (research, citations, Conferences, and so on…) Only item even remotely related to student body seems to be the number of PhD’s produced, but even there they look at how many Ph.D’s per faculty. There is also something like reputation factor so this may have something to do with student body, I didn’t look that closely.

      You may not entirely agree with their methodology but it doesn’t seem to place much, if any, emphasis on students.

      • Tom on 10.20.2015 at 5:34 pm

        All of the worldwide rankings are based primarily on research output. The USNWR domestic rankings focus on the undergraduate student experience.

    • sabrina on 10.23.2015 at 1:32 pm

      I find it frustrating that they don’t mention the students as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some amazing, knowledgable professors here- but to be honest, not all of them are that way. For example, this semester I have a professor who outright told us she has tenure, and finds it ok to claim she’s “sick” or “at a conference” at least once every two weeks thus far. I really could go on about the amount of careless or uninformed professors I’ve had here. Last semester I had a psychology professor who continuously told us incorrect information and the TA had to clarify in every discussion. In sum, I feel like professors at BU have this reputation for being so well informed and interesting, yet when you actually sit in class with them, you will find that half the time they are just boring, incorrect, or careless.

    • Dede Lipp on 10.30.2015 at 6:35 pm

      Not to mention the School of general Studies which really needs to be revamped. It seems it hasn’t changed at all to meet critical thinking.

  • Confused on 10.20.2015 at 7:09 pm

    Can someone explain to me how BU can be 32 in the ranking for best global universities but 41 in top US universities? Where did those extra 9 come from? Furthermore, what about non-US universities in the first category?

    In my head, it should be a lot harder to get high ranks when looking at all universities than just those in the US.

    • Evelyn on 02.16.2016 at 7:52 am

      I’m scratching my head too! But one thing I’m sure about is that BU is definitely underrated!

  • Temi murphy Akpieyi on 10.25.2015 at 2:27 pm

    We should be ranked even higher I’d say.

    PROUD to be an Alum!

  • Fred on 03.18.2016 at 3:57 pm

    I think BU should definately be in the top 20 and I have a feeling it will be there n teh next 10 years.

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