University of Michigan ranked as #4 in list of Best Universities in the World

Submitted by Blue in Paradise on June 23rd, 2018 at 4:13 PM

This seems a bit high of a ranking for even the most loyal alums like me but I love the sentiment here...  Let's see what the douchebag mafia can do to throw shade on this.


Some university rankings focus on factors unrelated to academic merit. Thus, some rankings of colleges and universities may give weight to attractiveness of campus, satisfaction of students and alumni, extracurricular benefits (such as top athletics programs), affordability of tuition, and expected income of graduates.

This is not such a ranking.

In contrast, if you are looking for a ranking with a focus on academic prestige, scholarly excellence, and sheer intellectual horsepower, then this is the ranking you want.

At the universities in this ranking, you will be mixing with the brightest faculty and students in the world, and developing your knowledge and skills so that you yourself will be in a position to join the world’s elite academics, scientists, and thinkers.

Ranking Methodology

To counteract the apparent gaming of university rankings, contracted with to form a ranking based on statistical document analysis across the Web. For the present ranking, this meant selecting a representative sample of disciplines at universities (not just natural and social sciences, as with Shanghai, but also humanities and professional schools), finding the influencers in each discipline, and then pooling these influencers to see where they are on faculty and where they got their degrees. Details about the underlying methodology can be found here.

The result is a ranking immune to gaming because it is based entirely on the “footprint” of key researchers and scholars on the Web — -not just in terms of some broad popularity measure (such as number of Google search results), but by measuring their strength of association on the Web with the topics in which they are supposed to be expert.

Accordingly, the result is a ranking that focuses on the preeminent factor that ought to be used to gauge academic merit in the first place — namely, the combined influence of a school’s faculty across fields of study. Yes, this ranking is entirely Web-based. But in this day and age, if you’re alive and currently active but not influential on the Web, then you’re not influential, period!

4. University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan, US

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MichiganUniversity of Michigan at Ann Arbor ranked #4 on The 100 Best Universities in the World Today!

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With 50,000 students and 5,500 faculty spread over three campuses, the University of Michigan is an extremely large research university with the expansive alumni networks that such numbers grant. Students have 17 distinct schools and colleges, roughly 600 majors, over 600 student organizations, and a staggering 350 concerts and recitals annually to choose from. The pleasant college town of Ann Arbor was listed as the number one college town in 2010 by Forbes Magazine. The University faculty include Pulitzer, Guggenheim, MacArthur, and Emmy recipients. The school’s alumni have produced 14 Nobel Prize winners and one Fields Medalist. Michigan also runs one of the world’s largest healthcare facilities, gives its students first-class computer access, and utilizes a library with over 13 million volumes. It is little wonder why the school attracts students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Almost half of the student body graduated in the top five percent of their class, and two thirds graduated in the top 10. Michigan puts more students into medical school than any other school in America


100 Best Universities in the World Today — 2018

1. Harvard University26. Hebrew University of Jerusalem51. University of Birmingham 76. Imperial College London

2. University of California - Berkeley27. University of Washington52. Boston University 77. University of Göttingen

3. University of Chicago28. The University of Texas at Austin53. University of Tübingen 78. University of California–Davis

4. University of Michigan29. University of British Columbia54. University of Sussex 79. Dartmouth College

5. Columbia University30. King's College London55. University of Warwick 80. University of Sydney

6. Yale University31. University of Bristol56. University of Sheffield 81. National Autonomous University of Mexico

7. Princeton University32. Rutgers University57. University of Arizona 82. University of Buenos Aires

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)33. London School of Economics58. University of Virginia 83. Goethe University Frankfurt

9. University of Cambridge34. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign59. University of Leeds 84. Ohio State University

10. Stanford University35. University of Southern California60. University of Rochester 85. University of Copenhagen

11. Oxford University36. University of Edinburgh61. University of Amsterdam 86. Arizona State University

12. Cornell University37. Brown University62. Heidelberg University 87. University of Southampton

13. University of California–Los Angeles38. California Institute of Technology63. Syracuse University 88. Florida State University

14. University of Wisconsin–Madison39. University of Munich64. University of Massachusetts–Amherst 89. University of Calcutta

15. University of Toronto40. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill65. University of Utah 90. University of Georgia

16. University of Manchester41. Moscow State University66. Washington University in St Louis 91. The University of Tokyo

17. Duke University42. University College London
67. Leiden University 92. University of Melbourne

18. New York University43. University of Vienna68. Free University of Berlin 93. University of Florida

19. Johns Hopkins University44. University of Maryland 69. University of Notre Dame 94. Brandeis University

20. University of Pennsylvania45. University of Pittsburgh 70. Rice University 95. Stockholm University

21. University of Minnesota Twin Cities46. Pennsylvania State University 71. University of Oslo 96. Vanderbilt University

22. University of California - San Diego47. University of California–Irvine 72. Birkbeck, University of London 97. Case Western Reserve University

23. University of Paris (Sorbonne)48. Australian National University 73. Utrecht University98. University of Warsaw

24. Northwestern University49. Swarthmore College 74. Wesleyan University 99. University of Cologne

25. McGill University50. University of Bonn 75. City University of New York 100. Michigan State University



June 23rd, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

Nice to see others agree with the sense that we alumni all share that we graduated from a very special university, in more ways than one. I am encouraging my grandson to apply. Hope he makes the grade.

Football Capitalist

June 23rd, 2018 at 4:53 PM ^

I had no idea Minnesota(Twin Cities) was that big...or well respected. "With just under 70,000 people studying under its instruction, 25,000 faculty administering that instruction, and an alumni network of over 400,000, Minnesota’s web of influence has encircled the globe." Yowza.


June 23rd, 2018 at 5:15 PM ^

Top SEC #90; eight B1G schools in top 46. Kind of odd that Purdue doesn't even make the list--maybe not great for more than engineering? It's apparently pretty not great to be a Hoosier or a Hawkeye either. And apparently asking for Nebraska's rank is the logistical equivalent of calling for a moment of silence.

Good stuff!

scanner blue

June 23rd, 2018 at 6:31 PM ^

My sister received her PHD from University of Manchester and I always thought it was some next tier U in a manufacturing center. Cambridge, Oxford, then what? Marygrove >Michigan >Manchester —-M all three degrees. 

Arb lover

June 23rd, 2018 at 8:12 PM ^

It's an interesting methodology. I don't disagree that things are gamed, but I would also add that looking at student salaries post graduation without putting that in context is also an incorrect (and easily gamed) stat point. I often wonder when the university asks me for what I'm currently making, and secondly, why they aren't also asking the big questions about quality of life (am I working 80 hours or 45, what benefits do I have- 6 months paid separation leave if I need a change of pace?, do I have vesting or other non-annual benefits?), and location (do I live in a large city where my cost of living is double what it would be in Ann Arbor/most of Michigan?). 

I can tell you that simply using a salary figure specifically lowers Ross's rankings compared to say Booth and many other big city schools that admit only so many students where most of those students stay in Chicago or go to a different large city after graduation. They may be making 20k more than those of us who decided not to work in a large city, but they cough that up and more every year in food and housing.

It's sad that rankings for the most thought intensive institutions in the world would fail to responsibly measure quality metrics to begin with, so this new approach is welcome to me. It may not be perfect and Michigan may not always be 4th, but I really appreciate the dialogue and attempt at getting to a more accurate ranking of global impact. Thanks for sharing.


June 23rd, 2018 at 9:51 PM ^

Now that’s a detailed post.  A USC grad buddy and I have in the past agreed to disagree whether UM or SC is the better school all around.  Anyone who hasn’t spent time in Ann Arbor just don’t get it.


June 24th, 2018 at 2:02 AM ^

As much as I love to see my alma mater held in suchhigh esteem, these rankings are flawed to the point of being laughable. There is no way we outrank the likes of Columbia, Yale, Princeton, and MIT; there is no way Stanford ranks as low as 10, and there is no way Berkeley ranks as high as 2. 

Arb lover

June 24th, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

Flawed to the point of being laughable because there is no way we outrank schools [(even gamed rankings) have us in the ballpark of]?

In fact, these rankings look at global footprint across a broad spectrum of disciplines, not simply certain fields that say MIT excels in. Did you read the methodology? Are you really saying that MIT is a top university in all major fields of study? 

Secondly, prestige is closely related to brand, but that gets stripped away fairly quickly in individual disciplines where faculty are engaged in actual research and peer review. Your gut reaction that Michigan's "brand" is nowhere near as prestigious as several Ivy's may be an accurate statement in its own right, but it has nothing to do with this study or the intent of this ranking system. Saying "no way" only works when we have polar opposites or the findings are so out of left field that we would have to remove all or most of our assumptions in order to proceed. It's not the case here. Have you considered that the very way many Ivy's operate handicaps them in future global footprint? Large reliance on alumni donor money with reciprocal admittance of their children (who may lack motivation to excel in a discipline and are more internally focused on their family and peer circle?). Michigan on the other hand does its best to assess motivation and desire to learn in admitting students. 


June 24th, 2018 at 4:33 PM ^

List seems reasonable.  Figuratively speaking, it is the same list I have seen all my life.  

Obviously not a list put together by someone of Ivy League influence.

For me, I remind all my MSU and OSU associated that the Michigan engineering programs was rated #2 when I graduated and the MBA program was rated #1 so their barbs rarely hit anything but teflon.  This is usually after I remind them that they never suited up for their team.