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Edging out MIT, UC Berkeley named top university for engineering

– UC Berkeley is the No. 1 engineering and information technology (IT) university in the world, according to rankings published today (Dec. 10) by the Times Higher Education Supplement. The weekly British newspaper also named Berkeley No. 4 on its list of the top 100 science universities.

This flattering news follows the THES's November announcement that Berkeley finished second in its first-ever list of the top 200 universities in the world, behind only Harvard University. The world rankings were based on an expert peer-review panel of 1,300 international academics that was weighted by subject specialization and location.

On the Top 100 Engineering and IT Universities list, Berkeley was awarded a "normalized" score of 200, closely followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 191.15 points; Stanford University trailed in third place with 150.71 points. On the science rankings, Cambridge dominated with a weighted score of 200, Oxford with 169.8, and Harvard and Berkeley separated by less than a point - weighted scores of 159.8 and 159, respectively.

The newspaper did not explain how or if the criteria for this and the science list differed from that used to select the top 100 world universities. Half of the scores for those rankings was based on a university's reputation as determined by the 1,300 expert peer-review responses; 20 percent depended on the volume of citations per faculty member; 20 percent on faculty-to-student ratios; and the final tenth based on how "international" the university was considered to be. (A Berkeleyan article, "We're No. 2! (Now what?)" from Dec. 2, discusses in more detail the reservations that the academic community has about both ranking methodologies and the subject of university rankings in general.)

UC Berkeley's reputation as a top research university is already well-established. The once-every-decade survey by the prestigious U.S. National Research Council puts Berkeley at No. 1 in the number of graduate programs that are ranked in the top 10 in their fields (97 percent of Berkeley's programs made the group's individual top 10 lists). The NRC will next update its rankings in 2006.