UC Berkeley has been ranked sixth by Times Higher Education based on international academic reputation, a ranking that UC Berkeley has maintained since 2014.
The recently published World Reputation Rankings are developed by surveying more than 10,000 scholars from around the world, who then select 15 colleges that they believe are the best in research and teaching. There are numerous ranking websites that use various different criteria, leaving UC Berkeley with a variety of different rankings.
According to campus spokesperson Michael Dirda, one of the most important sites is Times Higher Education, which also ranked UC Berkeley 18th in the World University Rankings. While the World Reputation Rankings are based solely on the scholar survey, the World University Rankings focus on research influence, industry income, international outlook and other topics, according to the Times Higher Education website.
While students said they valued these criteria, they added other topics that they feel contribute to college life but are not weighted.
“It is equally necessary to consider if resources are accessible to students,” said ASUC External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay in an email. “While influence and teaching are important; students being able to thrive in college without compromising their mental or physical health should always be the first priority.”
Newly elected ASUC Senator Teddy Lake noted that if issues such as basic needs security and student mental health were considered, UC Berkeley might not be ranked as highly. She added that there is a “well-documented” history of the campus not fulfilling the aforementioned student needs.
Outgoing Graduate Assembly President Kena Hazelwood-Carter said reputation and career opportunities are important because students have to think about paying back their debts. She added, however, that many graduate students experience mental health issues on the way to their degrees.
“Typically, international rankings do not focus on the student experience,” Hazelwood-Carter said. “Internationally, the perception is that influence and the amount of research done at an institution are valued more than actual study experiences. … As a student, you need to look at criteria that is important to you.”
Campus officials are “delighted” that UC Berkeley has been ranking so highly, according to Dirda. He added that the campus does not actively focus on ranking high in college ratings.
This is the fifth year that UC Berkeley has placed sixth in the World Reputation Ranking — in 2013, UC Berkeley placed fifth, beating out Stanford, which now holds a third-place reputation ranking.
“It’s incredibly reaffirming to me, as an incoming third-year, to know that the world recognizes the immense labor Berkeley students exert every day to succeed at this university,” Lake said. “At its best, being a Berkeley student is an incredibly inspiring experience, and honors like these embody the essence of that inspirational feeling.”
Contact Jan Schuermann and Ryan Geller at [email protected].