Skip to main content

ASU ranked one of the best world universities

August 13, 2010

Arizona State University has been ranked 81st in the top 100 universities in the world by the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU).

In addition to the overall ranking, ASU was highly ranked in several other categories by general scientific field and subject matter:

• 21st in the social sciences (field)
• 22nd in economics/business (subject)
• 52nd in engineering/technology/computer science (field)
• 52nd in computer science (subject)
• 76th in physics (subject)

The university first entered the  “Academic Rankings of World Universities” in 2003 and achieved top 100 status in 2006. Since that time, ASU has moved up steadily each year, seeing its largest numerical improvement this year -- up 13 spots from 94 in 2009.

The Academic Rankings of World Universities is considered one of the two most prominent world university rankings, along with the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

As opposed to more popular rankings like U.S. News & World Report rankings that predominantly measure incomes, like average SAT scores of incoming freshmen, or fact-based information, like average faculty compensation or student to faculty ratio, the ARWU rankings measure outcomes – the achievements of alumni and faculty.

SJTU's Institute of Higher Education ranks research universities in the world by several indicators of research performance. These factors include:

• Quality of Education – Alumni of an institution winning Nobel Prizes or Field Medal
• Quality of Faculty – Staff of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and Field Medals and highly cited researchers in 21 broad subject categories
• Research Output – Papers published in Nature and Science and papers indexed in the Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index
• Per Capita Performance - Per capita academic performance (on the indicators above) of an institution

“This is a tremendous honor for Arizona State University and another reflection of our world class faculty’s commitment to research and discovery,” said R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, Jr., ASU’s senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development. “Our research enterprise continues to experience significant growth which has also been recognized by the National Science Foundation naming ASU as one America’s top 20 institutions for research activity without a medical school. This commitment to discovery goes beyond geographical borders. ASU faculty are actively participating and collaborating with other researchers around the world to solve global challenges.”

ARWU considers every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, universities with significant amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included. In total, more than 1,000 universities are actually ranked and the best 500 are published on the website

According to the university, its purpose of compiling the ranking is to “find out the gap between Chinese universities and world-class universities,” particularly in terms of academic and research performance.

By region, the Americas dominated the top 100 with 58 universities, followed by Europe with 33 and Asia/Pacific with nine.

By country, the United States had 54 universities in the top 100, followed by the United Kingdom with 11; Japan and Germany with five; Canada with four; France, Australia, Switzerland and Sweden with three, the Netherlands and Denmark with two; and Belgium, Israel, Norway, Finland and Russia with one.

The top four are American universities including Harvard University, the University of California, Berkely, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rounding out the top five is the University of Cambridge in England.