UCLA beats UC Berkeley as No. 1 public university in US, ranking reports

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UC Berkeley was ranked below UCLA in Times Higher Education’s 2018 “World University Rankings,” making it the No. 2 public university in the United States, according to the list.

The World University Rankings, which ranks more than 1,000 universities from 77 countries, ranked UC Berkeley at No. 18 and UCLA at No. 15. In the 2017 rankings, UC Berkeley was ranked No. 10 while UCLA was ranked No. 14. While both UC campuses dropped in ranking this year, UC Berkeley fell further.

According to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof, the drop was primarily related to finances as opposed to the campus’s academic qualities.

“(T)he primary reason for this year’s change in Berkeley’s position in this particular ranking was a decrease in the level of federal research funding that flowed into campus,” Mogulof said in an email. “That funding fluctuates on an annual basis, and is determined by many factors beyond the University’s control or influence.”

An in-depth look at Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings methodology shows that institutions are assessed on five main criteria: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. Within these five areas, there are also 13 “carefully calibrated” performance indicators, according to the Times Higher Education website.

In a press release responding to the 2018 rankings, UCLA spokesperson Rebecca Kendall said UCLA consistently performs well in rankings, “regardless of methodology.”

“The ranking is based on many factors,” said UC Berkeley junior Thang Hoang. “I feel happy for (UCLA). I don’t feel hurt about it.”

In a different ranking by Times Higher Education — the 2017 “World Reputation Rankings” — UC Berkeley was placed at No. 6 and UCLA at No. 13.

“Every ranking uses different data sets and then (weighs) individual data categories differently,” Mogulof said in his email. “(W)e think it’s a good idea not to get too excited, or worked up, every time a new list is published.”

Contact Christine Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @christinejlee17.

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  • Calven

    UCLA has been a better school than Berkeley for the past 30 years, I don’t know why it’s only now getting it’s due reputation.

  • Damn, this is crazy. Berkeley is a joke these days so it isn’t surprising

  • Lindy K

    This headline is wrong. It’s world, not U.S.

  • Shattered Bubble

    Don’t worry! UC Berkeley is still number one in the world for…student radicalism. I am very happy for UCLA- they have always deserved to be ahead of the regressive UC Berkeley. Go on Berkeley, fund more protests against proposition 209 and conservative speakers and presence of white males within a 5 mile radius of the campus. I’m very, very surprised that it has fallen by only 8 places.

    In all seriousness UC Berkeley can still recover from this travesty. It just has to fire Janet Napolitano and hire someone competent, stop funding ridiculous protests against prop 209 and instead spend on improving academic resouces.

  • thompson_richard

    While University of California at Berkeley made it into the top 100, so did the University of South Hampton.
    In another ranking– # 3 through #18– in reverse order, are as follows:
    University of California, San Francisco(18)
    The Johns Hopkins University(17)
    University of Washington(16
    University of Pennsylvania(15)
    University of California, San Diego(14)
    Cornell University(13)
    University of California, Los Angeles(12)
    Yale University(11)
    University of Oxford (10)
    University of Chicago(9)
    Columbia University(8)
    Princeton University(7)
    California Institute of Technology(6)
    University of Cambridge(5)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4)
    University of California, Berkeley(3)…………………
    The statistics of the Times Higher — which reflect a profound British bias — include having a list of 200 colleges in the first place.
    Such a list as found in the Times Higher today certainly doesn’t explain why the University of Manchester in a recent year appeared at #29 on both national and international lists.
    So much disparity in the ranking!
    Edinburgh University ranked at one point in the past as the 17th best in the world but 19th in the UK while St Andrews University was 4th in the UK but 83rd in the world.
    At least the periodic table arranges the elements according to their atomic numbers, so that Berkelium (#97) and Californium (#98) would still beat Einsteinium (#99) although the University of South Hampton was ranked in a tie for 99th place. Next year the Times might want to rename Imperial College “Carbon,” King’s College “Titanium,” and the University of Manchester “Copper,” to celebrate their new found places in the scheme of things.