Global universities ranked by survey

Updated: 2013-08-16 11:58

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)

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Seventeen of the top 20 universities ranked by a Chinese research center are US schools, according to a study released on Thursday.

Harvard tops the list for the 11th time, according to the survey by the research center of Shanghai's Jiaotong University.

"The rankings might help the US lure hefty investment from the increasing number of Chinese parents who want their children to have overseas study experience," said Zhang Meng, a senior manager at CACDIY International, a Beijing-based organization that helps Chinese students arrange study abroad.

"I have asked my staff to study the new rankings, as more business would be likely with the top 20-to-50 high-rated universities," he said.

The survey, called the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities, covers more than 1,200 universities and the top 500 are picked by six indicators, including: number of Nobel Prize and Fields Medal winners on the faculty, the number of "highly cited" researchers and the number of faculty articles published in Nature and Science magazines.

The top five include Stanford, Berkeley, and MIT.

The top 10 also includes CalTech, Princeton, Columbia and the University of Chicago. Only Berkeley and MIT changed places in the ranking since last year.

"I see so many Chinese parents investing EB-5 projects or purchasing real estate in California for one important reason: good education resources for their children," Martin Lawler, a San Francisco-based attorney, told China Daily.

California is benefiting from the economic footprints triggered by the education investment from Chinese, he said.

"Save money and support our son to study in a US university on the global top 20 list," said Emma Gao, a Beijing housewife whose husband is applying for a permanent resident card for Canada. "This goal might change our living quality in the next ten years in some sense, but we feel happy to offer the best for our son."

Though the couple might not need to pay top tuition fees for their son in Canada, a US university with distinguished global ranking is still their first choice for now.

The ranking released Thursday also puts three European schools in the top 20: Britain's Cambridge is fifth; Oxford is 10th, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is 20th.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University are among the top 30.

The rankings also rate the performance of Chinese universities, which compete to be named as world-class research institutions.

However, the transparency and reliability of the ranking have triggered some debate as Jiaotong itself was ranked third in mainland China, and at 167 overall. It also arguable that Shanghai's Fudan University has overtaken prestigious Peking University as the mainland's No 1 school.

Defending the survey, the Center for World Class Universities at Shanghai Jiaotong University said in a news release that "it has been recognized as the precursor of global university rankings and the most trustworthy one".

"All rankings are not accurately calculating a university's academic ability to students," said Mao Dan, a Chinese citizen who studied in a British university. "Chinese students will learn how to make more objective and practical choices, since they find that university rankings and overseas degrees do not guarantee a good job in the domestic employment market."

(China Daily USA 08/16/2013 page10)