UC Berkeley places third in world university ranking

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Andrew Kuo/Senior Staff

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UC Berkeley placed third in the Academic Ranking of World Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

American universities took the top four spots in the ranking, which considers universities’ research and awards, with Harvard University and Stanford University placing first and second and Massachusetts Institute of Technology coming in at fourth.

The annual ranking, which began in 2003, relies on six factors to determine the scale of university academic accomplishments. These factors include the number of an institution’s alumni who have won Fields Medals and Nobel Prizes, the number of faculty members who have won Fields Medals and Nobel Prizes in physical and social science categories as well as the quantity of published, cited and indexed academic work by the institution’s researchers.

Although the ranking was initially created to determine the standing of top Chinese universities amid institutions of higher education around the world, it now aims to compare the quantity of research produced by institutions in each continent as well as to identify individual nations’ strengths and weaknesses, according to the ranking’s website.

UC Berkeley earned an overall score of 71.3 on a 100-point scale, gaining highest marks in the “award category” — the total number of staff members of an institution winning Fields Medals in mathematics and Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine and economics.

UC Berkeley astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter is the most recent faculty member to have won the Nobel Prize. Perlmutter, who won the award in 2011, led one of two teams that simultaneously discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe.

The university has had 22 faculty and 29 alumni Nobel Prize winners to date.

Three other UC campuses ranked in the top 20 on the rankings list, including UCLA at No. 12, UC San Diego at No. 14 and UCSF at No. 18.

Of the 500 universities in the final ranking, 40 percent of the institutions on the list were European, 36 percent were American, 23 percent were from Asia and Oceania and 1 percent were from Africa.

Megan Messerly is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @meganmesserly.

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