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Harvard University Rankings 2019-2020: Global Rankings, National Rankings, and Subject-Specific Rankings

Vaishnavi Agrawal Vaishnavi Agrawal
Study Abroad Expert

If you’re wondering what makes Harvard University as prestigious as it is; there are various reasons for it being the epitome of ‘gold standard for higher education. Historic legacy, academic resources, generous financial aid, and world-class research opportunities are enough to justify the ranking of Harvard University in the world.

The university occupies top positions in all rankings namely, World University Rankings, Impact Rankings, Reputation Rankings, Excellency, and Best Value Schools.

Harvard University Ranking in the World

Harvard University Rankings have been consistent over the years. Every ranking agency has listed this University among its top ten world’s best universities and has not altered its rankings since. This perpetual consistency can be explained by Harvard University’s longer-standing reputation among other colleges in the US.

Harvard University Global Rankings Over the Years

Ranking AgencyRank in 2017Rank in 2018Rank in 2019
Times Higher Education#6#6#6
U.S. News & World Report#1#1#1
QS Top Universities#3#3#3
Shanghai Rankings#1#1#1
NTU Rankings#1#1#1

Harvard University’s ranking in the 2017 & 2018 edition of Global Universities by the U.S. News, Shanghai Rankings, and NTU Rankings is #1, similar is the case for the 2019 edition. QS Top Universities and Times Higher Education have ranked Harvard #3 & #6 respectively for 2017, 2018, and 2019 edition.

1. Times Higher Education

Harvard University world ranking 2020 is 7th with an overall score of 93. The breakdown of scores given by Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 is as follows:

  • Overall: 93
  • Teaching: 89.2
  • Research: 98.6
  • Citations: 99.1
  • Industry Income: 47.3
  • International Outlook: 76.3

Comparison of Harvard World University Rankings 2020 with few renowned universities by Times Higher Education.

UniversityUniversity of OxfordStanford UniversityMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyPrinceton UniversityHarvard University
World University Rankings 2020#1#4#5#6#7

Harvard University is more recognized than the universities mentioned above even though it is ranked below them. It is probably because Harvard is a century older than many of them and because it has produced more famous graduates with its professional schools, for instance, Business, Medicine, Law, Kennedy School. However, the parameters used in determining World University Rankings by THE rely more on academic grounds and do not take alumni reputation into account. Here is a trend of scores given by Times Higher Education:

Overall Scores by THE (2017-2020)

The University of Oxford has been given higher overall scores than the rest since 2017. Princeton University has successfully improved its scores while the trend for Harvard has been filled with ups & downs over the years.

World Reputation Rankings 2019 lists Harvard University at the #1 position. Score breakdown for its reputational ranking is as follows:

  • Overall- 100
  • Research- 100
  • Teaching- 100

There is no doubt why Harvard’s reputation tops the list.

2. US News & World Report

Institutions from more than 80 countries have been ranked based on 13 indicators that assess the global and regional reputation of the University along with its academic performance. Performance indicators like these help students to explore higher education options beyond their own country’s boundaries. Maintaining its constant position, Harvard University has been ranked #1 in the list of Best Global Universities Rankings for almost a decade now.

Following is a breakdown of Harvard University’s performance on the indicators specified by Global University Rankings U.S News & World Report:

Ranking IndicatorsHarvard UniversityWeight
Global score100.0-
Global research reputation#112.5%
Regional research reputation#112.5%
Normalized citation impact#1510%
Total citations#17.5%
Number of publications that are among the 10 percent most cited#112.5%
Percentage of total publications that are among the 10 percent most cited#810%
International collaboration - relative to the country#925%
International collaboration#5425%
Number of highly cited papers that are among the top 1 percent most cited#15%
Percentage of highly cited papers that are among the top 1 percent most cited#155%

US News focuses specifically on the schools’ academic research and overall reputation while calculating global rankings, unlike other rankings where admission rates and graduation rates are also taken into account.

3. QS- World University Rankings

Harvard University is ranked #3 with an overall score of 97.4 as mentioned in the QS World University Rankings 2020. QS Rankings is believed to have adopted a consistent method in its analysis of world universities. Their framework is compiled of six metrics that effectively outline a university’s performance.

Metric PointsWeightScore
Academic Reputation 40%100
Employer Reputation 10%100
Faculty/Student Ratio20%98.7
Citations Per Faculty20%99.6
International Faculty 5%86.3
International Student 5%62.2

The ranking of Harvard University has not always been 3rd. Harvard University ranking has been reduced to change. Given below is the trend of Harvard University’s ranking since 2012.

QS World University

4. QS Graduate Employability Ranking

QS also ranks the universities on graduate employability. This ranking reveals the top recruiter’s opinion on which university best prepares its graduates for the workplace. Their ranking criteria is very thorough and based on the university’s reputation with the employers.

Ranking CriteriaScores
Overall Score97.8
Employer Reputation 100
Alumni Outcomes100
Partnerships with Employers 98.7
Employer-Student Connections 76.3
Graduate Employment Rate87.5

Harvard University is one of the top ten favorites among employers at the top companies with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University exceeding Harvard’s employability reputation.

QS Graduate Employability RanksUniversity
#1Massachusetts Institute of Technology
#2Stanford University
#3The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
#4University of Sydney
#5Harvard University

Listed are the reasons why Harvard University is a top choice among recruiters.

  • Harvard’s brand value
  • Students are educated by world-class academia.
  • On-campus events which promote learning outside the core curriculum.
  • Notable alumni leading to a strong professional network.

Harvard University Ranking in the US

1. Times Higher Education

Harvard University tops the list of US ranking 2020 by THE.

Ranking Position#2#1#1#1

Harvard University’s U.S. Ranking then calculates the following scores:

  • Overall - 93.9
  • Resources - 29.9
  • Engagement - 17.6
  • Outcomes - 39.8
  • Environment - 6.7
Overall Score Breakdown Via Year

The methodology is based on answering four sets of questions:

  1. Does the college have the resources and capacity to effectively deliver teaching?
  2. Does the college effectively engage with its students?
  3. Does the college generate good and appropriate outputs? Does it add value to the students who attend?
  4. Is the college providing a good learning environment for all students? Does it make efforts to attract a diverse student body and faculty?
Merit Score Breakdown via Year

The Resources area represents 30 percent of the overall ranking. The Engagement area represents 20 percent of the overall ranking. Slight changes (2017-2018) in the scores of these performance indicators are evident, explaining Harvard University’s jump from rank #2 to #1 in the 2018 edition of US Rankings.

2. US News & World Report

Harvard University is ranked #2 in the National Universities list prepared by US News & World Report. The ranking of Princeton University is higher than Harvard’s. The U.S. News 2020 Best Colleges Rankings compare institutions on 12 diverse parameters judging academic quality. The following factors are taken into account by the U.S. News while calculating National University Rankings:

Ranking FactorsWeight
Graduation and Retention22%
Graduation Rate Performance8%
Social Mobility5%
Class Size8%
Faculty Salary 7%
The proportion of full-time faculty with the highest degree in their fields3%
Student-Faculty Ratio1%
The proportion of faculty working full time1%
Expert Opinion 20%
Financial Resources10%
Student Excellence10%
Alumni Giving5%

Other Ranks Given To Harvard University By US News In The 2020 Edition Of Rankings

  1. #34 in Best Undergraduate Teaching
  2. #2 in Best Value Schools
  3. #17 in Most Innovative Schools
  4. #5 in Writing in the Disciplines
  5. #21 in Study Abroad

Subject-wise Rankings

1. Times Higher Education

Below is a list of subjects and streams offered by Harvard University, ranked by the Times Higher Education 2020 Rankings:

Education #2
Life Sciences#2
Clinical, pre-clinical & health #2
Social Sciences #3
Engineering & Technology#3
Physical Sciences#5
Arts & Humanities #5
Computer Science#8
Business & Economics #10

2. US News & World Report

Harvard University consists of degree-granting professional schools namely; Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard College, & Harvard Medical School. Each year US News ranks professional school programs. The Best Graduate Schools are based on expert opinions and statistical indicators measuring the quality of the school’s faculty, research, and students.

  • #3 in Best Law Schools
  • #3 in Best Business Schools
  • #1 in Best Medical Schools: Research
  • #1 in Health Policy and Management
  • #3 in Best Public Affairs Programs
  • #21 in Best Engineering Schools
  • #1 in Best Education Schools
  • #2 in Public Health
  • #16 in Clinical Psychology
  • #2 in Social Policy
  • #4 in Biological Sciences

Career decisions by Harvard University graduates are greatly influenced by academic rigor and a community-based learning environment. Ethnic diversity has also played a vital role in defining the global ranking of Harvard University.

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