UC Santa Cruz ranked 7th worldwide among younger universities

Analysis aims to identify the rising stars of the global academy

(Illustration by Paul Bateman, Times Higher Education)

UC Santa Cruz is ranked seventh in the world among the 100 best universities less than 50 years old, according to an analysis by Times Higher Education (THE).

UCSC ranked first in the world in the key citation index (30 percent of the final score) that measures the influence of an institution's research.

"I am delighted that UCSC's world-class research and teaching have been recognized by the Times Higher Education's authoritative analysis," said Chancellor George Blumenthal. "It proves what I've often said, UC Santa Cruz continues on an upward trajectory."

Bruce Margon, UCSC vice chancellor for research, said, "The international prominence of our faculty's research, as evidenced by the remarkable first place score in the citations category, presents amazing opportunities for our students, who can learn not just from textbooks, but in person from the researchers who are actually making the discoveries that are recognized worldwide."

UCSC and UC Irvine, both founded in 1965,  were the only American universities to rank in the top 10. Irvine was fourth. Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea was ranked first.

In an opinion piece published Friday in the San Francisco Chronicle, Blumenthal notes that while other governments are investing in higher education the U.S. is slashing spending on public education. " We cannot afford to let our public universities languish as China, India and European countries invest lavishly in theirs," Blumenthal wrote.

The "100 Under 50" aims to show which nations are challenging the U.S. and the United Kingdom as higher education powerhouses – and offers insights into which institutions may be future world leaders. Six East Asian universities were in the top 20.

THE used the same range of 13 performance indicators to rank institutions for the "100 under 50" as it used for its World University Rankings published in the fall, a list on which UCSC ranked 110. There, UCSC ranked third in the world for research influence.

THE said it reduced the weight on subjective indicators for academic prestige for the younger universities, reasoning that older universities have more time to build up a reputation with deeper, wider, and more established alumni networks.

"It was agreed that an analysis of younger institutions, designed to examine future potential as much as current excellence and to move away from heritage or legacy, should be based more on hard, objective performance indicators," THE wrote in its analysis.

The weighting given to reputation has been reduced from a third in the World University Rankings to just over a fifth in the "100 Under 50" list.

The principal criteria THE used are:

  • Research: volume, income and reputation (30 percent);
  • Citations: research influence; (30 percent);
  • Teaching: the learning environment (30 percent)
  • International outlook: people and research (7.5 percent);
  • Industry income: innovation (2.5 percent)

Times Higher Education, formerly known as Times Higher Education Supplement, is a weekly British magazine based in London reporting specifically on news and other issues related to higher education. Its World University Rankings first appeared in 2004.