Universities in the U.S. dominated the overall ranking of the top 1,000 schools, followed by China and the U.K.
Earning a degree abroad can be a smart move for students who want to boost their career prospects. Studying in another country enables students to learn about other languages and cultures, which can, in turn, improve their employability in certain fields, according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
International students made up 5 percent of bachelor's students, 12 percent of master's students and 27 percent of doctoral students within the OECD's 35 member countries in 2014, the report found. Member countries include popular student destinations, such as Australia, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.
For prospective students interested in pursuing a degree outside their home country, U.S. News released the third edition of its annual Best Global Universities rankings today to allow comparisons of universities around the world.
The 2017 overall ranking features the top 1,000 universities, an increase from the 750 included in the previous edition. These universities are located in 65 countries, up from 57 last year.
The Best Global Universities rankings – based on data and metrics provided by Clarivate Analytics InCites – were calculated using factors that focus on a university's academic research performance and reputation. This is a different methodology than those used for the U.S. News Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools rankings.
Harvard University, the reigning No. 1 school, held on to the top spot. The Ivy League institution was followed by another Cambridge, Massachusetts, school, the No. 2-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University, which moved up a spot to take No. 3.
There was the additional movement among the top 20 schools. Princeton University jumped up five spots to take the No. 8 position and the University of California—San Diego moved from No. 19 to No. 15 in the 2017 edition. Meanwhile, the University of Toronto dropped five spots to No. 21.
One new school broke into the top 20. The University of California—San Francisco – a health science-focused university that only offers graduate degrees – took No. 16, jumping seven spots from the last edition of the rankings. There are now a total of six California-based schools among the top 20 institutions.
The U.S. boasted the greatest number of schools in the 2017 overall ranking. More than a fifth of the top 1,000 schools in the world - 210 - are located in the U.S. China and the U.K. have the next highest numbers of schools in the overall ranking, with 87 and 68, respectively.
In addition to the overall ranking, U.S News has again produced regional and country-specific rankings, as well as subject-focused rankings.
The regional rankings were determined by schools' performance in the overall ranking. The top-ranked schools in the five regions identified by U.S. News are the University of Cape Town in Africa, the University of Tokyo in Asia, the University of Melbourne in Australia/New Zealand, the University of Oxford in Europe and the Universidad de São Paulo in Latin America. These are the same universities that topped each of the regional rankings in the last edition.
U.S. News expanded the number of country-specific rankings this year from 32 to 38, with new lists for the Best Global Universities in Chile, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Poland, Russia, and Thailand.
The subject rankings, which use a separate methodology from the overall ranking, show how schools stack up against each other in key academic subject areas, such as engineering, computer science, and economics and business. These rankings are not of academic majors, departments or schools within universities like a business or medical school. The subject ranking methodology takes into account subject-specific research and reputation measures.
International bachelor's and master's students tend to pursue degrees in the social sciences and humanities, while international doctoral students are more concentrated in science, engineering or agriculture fields in OECD countries, according to a 2016 OECD report on the internationalization of graduate-level studies.
In the 2017 edition of the U.S. News subject rankings, between 200 to 400 schools are featured in each field. There are 52 universities from various countries ranked in 20 or more of the 22 Best Global Universities subject rankings, meaning they have research strengths in a broad array of fields.
U.S. schools came out on top in 19 of the 22 subject areas. The universities that ranked highest in the remaining fields were Tsinghua University in China, for engineering; Wageningen University and Research Center in the Netherlands, for agricultural sciences; and Oxford in the U.K., for arts and humanities.