This is a ranking of the top 20 public universities in the United States ranked relative to each other by average world rank for the year 2020-2021.
The ranking was created by using metadata sourced from the four prominent rankings of world universities (each ranking released in 2020): Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE), and U.S. News & World Report (USNWR).
Rank was checked on each list for every public university in the United States ranked on all the lists. Then for each university all its rank placements were averaged across lists to create the new list of average ranking for each university. The universities were then ranked according to their average ranking. The university with the highest average is thus ranked 1st, the one with the second highest average 2nd, and so on.
Finally, the results were tabled, and are shown below (Table 1.). The leftmost column shows the final relative placement (relative placement based on average rank, i.e.), the “institution” column shows the institution ranked, the next four rightward columns (ARWU, QS, THE, USNWR) show the rank for each given institution in each of those selected world rankings, and the rightmost column (“Average World Rank”) averages the four ranking lists’ rank placement for each university.
Some observations —
- The original ranking which best predicts the summed average is THE.
- The original ranking which most poorly predicts the summed average is QS.
- The worst prediction is QS’s UC Irvine at 210 — 96.25 places greater than its 113.75 average.
- 30% of the top 20 public universities in the United States are California universities.
- The two states which have the highest percentage of top 20 public universities in the United States (at 2 universities each; i.e., 10% each) after California are Michigan (Michigan, Michigan State) and Pennsylvania (Penn State, Pittsburgh).
- All but 3 universities of the top 20 public universities in the United States average in the top 100 universities — public or private — in the world.
If anything appears to be in error, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ranking of Public Universities in the United States, 2020-21
|Rank||Institution||ARWU||QS||THE||USNWR||Average World Rank|
|4||University of Washington||16||72||29||8||31.25|
|5||UC San Diego||18||54||33||21||31.5|
|6||Wisconsin – Madison||32||65||49||41||46.75|
|7||Texas at Austin||41||71||44||38||48.5|
|8||North Carolina at Chapel Hill||30||95||56||36||54.25|
|9||Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||45||82||48||60||58.75|
|11||UC Santa Barbara||49||152||68||56||81.25|
|15||Maryland, College Park||53||152||90||60||88.75|
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*The cover image used in this article (depicting UC Berkeley) is under the Creative Commons license. All efforts were made to give appropriate credit. If someone determines authorship, this information will be updated accordingly. The image was cropped slightly for this header. Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/