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Rankings – how good is your university?

The 2008 Shanghai Jiao Tong university rankings were released last month. Although there was little change in the position of most universities, these are a reliable measure of the research excellence at universities around the world.

But what do they really mean for you, when you’re deciding on the right university for your international studies?

When you are weighing up your choices and the way they are ranked, find out how those rankings are determined. The Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings look mainly at the research output – and with a 30% weighting on alumni and staff who win a Nobel Prize or Field Medal, this research could be quite old.

However, it remains a prestigious ranking system because it does truly measure global performance. It also reflects a nation’s economic health and competitiveness. And this year, one of the biggest changes was the increase in the number of Chinese universities in the top 500. This reflects the growing investment in research and development in Asia.

The Times Higher Education Supplement’s ‘World University Ranking’ is based largely on peer review. The positions of the universities tend to fluctuate yearly, as the criteria changes to reflect the current issues in higher education around the world. By combining a survey of academics and employers with quantitative data, such as number of citations and research excellence, it aims to give a more rounded view of the university’s excellence.

And the winners are…

According to the Shanghai Jiao Tong 2008 rankings, the top ten universities in the world are:

  • Harvard
  • Stanford
  • Berkeley
  • Cambridge
  • MIT
  • Caltech
  • Columbia
  • Princeton
  • Chicago
  • Oxford

Once again it is dominated by American universities, with Oxford and Cambridge the only non-US institutions.

And according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the top ten for 2007 (announced last November) were:

  • 1 Harvard
  • 2= Cambridge
  • 2= Oxford
  • 2= Yale (up from 4)
  • 5 Imperial College London (up from 9)
  • 6 Princeton (up from 10)
  • 7= Caltech
  • 7= Chicago
  • 9 University College London (up from 25)
  • 10 MIT (down from 4)

The most important thing is to work out what matters most to you. Is it research? Is it the amount of money and resources the university has? Or is it the quality of teaching, the location, your future career options and the student support services? You can also look at rankings by subject area for a clearer picture.

Whatever you decide, make sure you discuss your plans with a StudyLink Student Counsellor. They can help you weigh up all your options and make the best choice for your future.

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Dear sir/madam
how can apply for harvard university?

Dear Sir/Madam,

My friends tell me that Studylink is good in helping students.
I am interested in studying at Oxford. Can you please help me how to apply there?


i want to know whether harvard or cambridge universities offer bachelos course in pure science?
thank you

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