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.