WSJ/THE US College Rankings 2019: Harvard holds on to top spot

MIT and Yale follow close behind in 2019 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education league table 

September 6, 2018
Harvard University
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Harvard University has topped a student-focused ranking of US universities and colleges for the second year in a row.

The Ivy League institution holds on to the number one spot in the third annual edition of the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. It achieved the joint highest score in the outcomes pillar (tying with Yale University and Duke University), which includes metrics on the graduation rate and the value added by the teaching at a college to graduate salary and to graduates’ ability to repay student debt.

Harvard also performed well on the resources pillar, which measures finance per student, faculty per student and research papers per faculty.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology climbs one place to second, after improving its scores in all four areas of the table, while Yale is now third, up from sixth.

As well as achieving a high score for outcomes, Yale improved its performance in the areas of engagement (which measures how well students engaged with learning and interacted with their teachers and peers) and environment (which looks at the diversity of the student body and faculty).

Unlike the THE World University Rankings, which focus on universities’ research performance, the US table, which is fuelled by data from THE, measures institutions’ student engagement, student outcomes and learning environments.

Brown University is the only newcomer to the top 10, joining in joint seventh place, up from joint 11th last year, while California Institute of Technology has risen two places to fifth. Both universities received a higher outcomes score, while Brown also improved in terms of resources and Caltech had a better engagement score.

As a result of these rises, most other universities in the top 10 have slipped; Columbia University is now at fourth, down from second; Stanford University is at sixth, down from joint third; Duke University is at joint seventh, down from fifth; and the University of Pennsylvania is at 10th, down from eighth.

Meanwhile, Cornell University slips out of this elite group, dropping one place to 11th.

The University of California, Los Angeles is still the top public university, holding on to 25th place.

The US ranking is partly based on the results of the THE US Student Survey, which gathered the views of about 200,000 current university students in 2017 and 2018 to find out about their engagement with their studies, their interaction with their teachers and their satisfaction with their experience.  

It also draws on the THE Academic Reputation Survey, in order to determine which institutions have the best reputation for excellence in teaching.

An open access version of the full WSJ/THE US College Rankings table and an analysis of the results will be published on THE on 20 September.

WSJ/THE College Rankings 2019: top 10

2019 rank 2018 rank Institution City State
1 1 Harvard University Cambridge MA
2 =3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge MA
3 6 Yale University New Haven CT
4 2 Columbia University New York NY
5 7 California Institute of Technology Pasadena CA
6 =3 Stanford University Stanford CA
=7 =11 Brown University Providence RI
=7 5 Duke University Durham NC
9 9 Princeton University Princeton NJ
10 8 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia PA

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com

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