Michigan is the best university in the B1G & #24 globally per survey

Submitted by UMProud on August 26th, 2015 at 7:16 AM

"The University of Michigan is one of the world’s 25 best universities and the best school in the Big Ten, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The survey ranked UM No. 24 and 17th in the U.S.

The survey ranked schools by “several indicators of academic or research performance, including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices and the per capita academic performance of an institution"".

Source:  The Detroit News, 8/25/2015




August 26th, 2015 at 7:23 AM ^

Until I actually see a big time recruit commit to Michigan with academics being a major reason, I won't believe it. So many times, they've committed to better academic universities like FSU, OSU, USC and Penn St.



East German Judge

August 26th, 2015 at 10:55 AM ^

To further the point, I believe he choose them because they would allow him into their Engineering program as the Engineering Dean was a "real football guy", while we wouldn't let him into Engineering and steered him into another program (don't recall which one).  Simple matter of fact is that our Engineering program is world class, while Alabama's is not, and thus he probably did not qualify for it based on HS grades/curriculum/test scores.


August 26th, 2015 at 10:53 AM ^

Citing USNWR is not a good strategy, considering that it is about the only ranking in the world that has USC ranked higher than U of M. Do not get me wrong, USC is a great school but, speaking strictly academic wise, Michigan is much better. Just look at the rankings of individual graduate programs. In law, medicine, dentistry, IT, engineering, social work, business, public affairs, etc. etc., Michigan outranks SC. Something like 90% of Michigan's graduate programs rank in the top 15 nationally. Michigan is one of the leading research universities in the world, etc. USNWR factors in stuff like alumni donations, and we all know that schools can totally game USNWR by submitting bogus or, at the least, inflated graduation and/or employment figures. Again, not implying that USC is not a great school, just that you have to take USNWR with a grain of salt. For whatever reason, perhaps because of heavy marketing, it somehow became THE ranking in the US. Most of the reputable global rankings of universities (which tend to be based, typically, purely on academics) i.e. The Times, ARWU, CWUR, QS World University Rankings, have U of M in the top 25 globally. You want to look at national ranking systems, UNWR is the only one that has USC ahead of Michigan. Look at Forbes, Washington Monthly, etc. Michigan is way ahead of SC.


August 26th, 2015 at 12:13 PM ^

Seems like people conflate this with undergraduate ranking.  In terms of graduate school, Cal usually gets in the top 10 in these global university rankings (like Times version of this), and their research production indeed is top notch at Stanford level.

Heck even USNWR's world university ranking based on graduate program and research merits ranks most of those school highly (link).  Graduate ranking and undergraduate ranking have completely different factors and weighting into their system.  In terms of research production, not unusual to see public schools like the one you listed very high.  

Cali Wolverine

August 26th, 2015 at 10:06 AM ^

university than Michigan in most national rankings?

It used to be a joke to get into in the '90's...then they started dumping millions of dollars into poaching Ivy League professors, coupled with a decline in the public universities in California, USC is now extremely difficult to get into.


August 26th, 2015 at 7:46 AM ^

I agree on the breadth and volume but just from an undergraduate admissions standpoint, Northwestern is the tougher school. I still think Michigan is the better mixture of both academics and athletics, and from an alumni base standpoint I think the size & academics from Michigan trumps Northwestern to create a much stronger alumni network as well.

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August 26th, 2015 at 11:09 AM ^

This is a common mistake that high schoolers make when applying to college. Is USC a better academic school than Michigan? No. Everyone (except USNWR and their ridiculous bias against public schools) pretty much agrees on that, but USC has a lower acceptance rate.


August 26th, 2015 at 3:07 PM ^

That metric also has specific problems when used as a proxy for quality: it's easy to game (a middling school could simply lower its acceptance rate), it greatly favors small schools, and it disfavors good schools that for whatever reason sometimes choose less highly-ranked students (e.g., Texas, which is required by state law to accept top students from every public high school, or Juilliard, which accepts students with a very high degree of subject matter expertise/talent but which may not have top grades or performance on standardized tests).

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August 26th, 2015 at 10:51 AM ^

I use an aggregrate ranking system which uses the following respectable polls: ARWU, QS, and Times Higher Education. I do not use US World News and Report due to the well-known slew of problems and biases in that poll. Michigan finished #14 in the US and #19 in the world using my method. Here are the 2015 results for the Big Ten (dashed lines split up tiers):


1. Michigan

2. Northwestern

3. Wisconsin

4. Illinois


5. Minnesota

6. Penn State

7. Ohio State

8. Purdue

9. Maryland


10. Michigan State

11. Rutgers

12. Indiana

13. Iowa


14. Nebraska


August 26th, 2015 at 9:59 AM ^

Seriously?  Michigan is better than Northwestern in numerous academic metrics and has a number of academic programs higher ranked and/or more highly regarded than Northwestern's.  While both schools are excellent, your suggestion that Michigan somehow takes an academic back seat to Northwestern is simply wrong.  


August 26th, 2015 at 11:26 AM ^

You're singling out individual programs and metrics though. This is a ranking of the university as a whole. You sound like an MSU liberal arts or polisci major bragging about what a great nuclear medicine program the school has. Don't fall to that level. As I said, Michigan is a great academic institution, but Northwestern is objectively better.


August 26th, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

Well for business school yeah Northwestern has Kellogg, but Michigan is regarded just as highly (or even better) in other professional schools in med, law, and engineering.  I'd say those make a huge part of a university, not like your MSU analogy.


August 26th, 2015 at 2:58 PM ^

I didn't single out any individual program or metric; rather, my point was the opposite: Michigan beats Northwestern in numerous metrics and with numerous programs. It is silly to say Northwestern is "objectively better" when it arguably is worse in several aspects. As to objectivity, that is almost impossible to come by in a broad-based comparison such as this. If you change the criteria or weigh the criteria differently, the results may change as well. That said, this study at least compares the schools in several respects and ranks Michigan higher. Thus, this comes closer to objectivity than you or me debating the point.

Finally, I don't sound like "an MSU liberal arts or polisci major bragging about what a great nuclear medicine program the school has." I didn't single out programs. And in my major, Michigan was much better than Northwestern. Moreover, I never said Michigan is better in every respect. There are plenty of reasons why a student might validly choose Northwestern and there are plenty of reasons why, for some students and some situations, Northwestern might be the better choice. While I happen to agree with this study that Michigan is better overall, that wasn't my argument.

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August 26th, 2015 at 8:00 AM ^

Very interesting. During my freshman year I remember Time magazine had a similar article and Michigan was #14. Not sure if was the same survey. I just remember searching for it and seeing that we were ranked #14.


August 26th, 2015 at 8:26 AM ^

particular list did this, but there's a million different ways to make the criteria bend to fit what you want them to.

There's been a radio commercial for ASU (yes-Arizona State) that's been getting a ton of air time the past month in the GR area. They make claims of being in the top ten of something or other and the top 5 of other things. The wording is humorous if you know what they're trying to do. To the casual listener you'd think ASU just barely missed the cut for the Ivy League.

Swayze Howell Sheen

August 26th, 2015 at 8:50 AM ^

some people did another ranking, and it kind of agrees with what I think! therefore, it is a good ranking.

if it doesn't agree with what i think, well, their methods must be flawed.

all this ranking crap is silly.


August 26th, 2015 at 8:52 AM ^

Interesting fact not mentioned in the article is Shanghai Jiao Tong is a sister school with Michigan. It is one of the main schools the company I work for recruits from here in Shanghai. The students love that I graduated from Michigan.

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August 26th, 2015 at 12:11 PM ^

UCSF is only a medical center.  Think about that for a second--they made this list as only a medical center.  

Nearly every physician/scientist would rank them in the top 5 in regard to medical centers, and I am of the opinion that they're probably the top medical center at the moment (in part because of the incubator that SF is for start ups and public-private partnerships).  

UM is a great medical school and medical center, but it doesn't have the depth of UCSF.