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September 30, 2010

Pitt higher in 2nd global ranking

Pitt fared much better in new 2010-11 World University Rankings issued Sept. 16 compared to its position in a separate 2010 global rankings list issued earlier this month, both by Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. (See Sept. 16 University Times for a story on the earlier rankings, which were published online Sept. 8.)

The University ranked 64th overall in the world on the latter list (compared to 119th in the previous 2010 rankings) according to Times Higher Education, a London-based independent magazine that reports specifically on higher education issues.

According to the publication, “Although 2010-11 is the seventh year that Times Higher Education has published its annual rankings, these tables represent a new level of sophistication. In light of this, the top 200 list and the six subject tables we are publishing should be considered the first of a new annual series, for we have completely overhauled the methodology to deliver our most rigorous, transparent and reliable rankings tables ever.”

Previous THE world university rankings, including the one issued earlier this month, were compiled in collaboration with Quacquarelli Symonds, a global company that provides educational/career information and networking.

Now, the magazine editors stated, “The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-11 were developed in concert with our new rankings data provider, Thomson Reuters, with input from more than 50 leading figures in the sector from 15 countries across every continent, and through 10 months of extensive consultation.”

In addition to the data provided by Thomson Reuters, according to THE editor Phil Baty, the rankings tables use “for the first time, an invitation-only survey of over 13,000 verified academics.” The survey was conducted by Ipsos Mori, a market research company in the U.K. and Ireland. “This ensures that we have very high-quality data, both qualitative and quantitative,” Baty said.

In its Sept. 16 news release, THE said the latest list represented “year zero” for the rankings because of the new methodology, which “places less importance on reputation and heritage than in previous years and gives more weight to hard measures of excellence in all three core elements of a university’s mission: research, teaching and knowledge transfer.”

The two rankings lists vary greatly. For example, the top five institutions on the Sept. 16 list were Harvard, California Institute of Technology, MIT, Stanford and Princeton. The previously published list’s top five were University of Cambridge, U.K., Harvard, Yale, University College London and MIT.

In addition to Pitt, other Pennsylvania institutions that made both lists were Penn at No. 19 (No. 12 in the earlier list); Carnegie Mellon at No. 20 (No. 34 in the earlier list), and Penn State at No. 109 (No. 98 in the earlier list).

Among the 72 U.S. institutions that appear on the Sept. 16 list of the top 200 institutions worldwide, Pitt ranked 38th, similar to its 39th ranking overall among 53 U.S. institutions ranked on the earlier list.

The magazine also has begun publishing new rankings of top universities by subject. The first rankings in the subject area engineering and technology were published Sept. 23. Pitt was not among the top 50 listed.

The magazine expects to publish five other subject area top rankings in succeeding weeks: life sciences (to be published Sept. 30); clinical, pre-clinical and health (Oct. 7); physical sciences (Oct. 14); social sciences (Oct. 21), and arts and humanities (Oct. 28).

Information on the Sept. 16 2010-11 World University Rankings is available at

Information on the Sept. 8 rankings is available at

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 43 Issue 3

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