The Best US Universities for Excellence, Equity and Employability
QS Quacquarelli Symonds, global higher education research company and publisher of the QS World University Rankings, released their inaugural ranking of America’s top universities with diversity, employability and internationalization driving the results.
The first annual QS World University Rankings: USA is designed to assess how well universities are responding to the social, intellectual, and economic challenges of our time. Universities are ranked according their research performance and career outcomes as well as a range of indicators assessing each institution’s social impact and attempts to foster equitability. Such indicators include gender pay gap, faculty gender diversity, ratio of undergraduate students receiving Pell Grants, and retention rate. The methodology also evaluates universities based on the efforts they are making to support the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals.
QS CEO Nunzio Quacquarelli said, “QS has been surveying prospective university students since the start of the global pandemic, with more than 33,000 students sharing the impact of the emergency on their plans. Though COVID-19's effects on higher education will resonate for years to come, our ongoing research reveals that students are not deterred from pursuing their education and career goals. It is our hope that this inaugural ranking will provide prospective students with an insightful comparative tool and point of view, as they prepare for the next steps in their educational journey.”
The inaugural QS World University Rankings: USA sees Harvard University named America’s top university, placing ahead of Stanford University (2nd) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (3rd). Harvard’s leadership in this table is founded on perfect scores for QS’s Research and Employability indicators which suggests that on average, Harvard produces America’s most impactful research and most employable graduates. Five American colleges achieve perfect scores for QS’s Learning Experience indicator: Yale University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, and Brown University.
In total, QS has named 300 institutions as the best four-year universities in the United States.
Ben Sowter, Research Director at QS, said, “For thirty years, QS has served the global higher education student community with the independent insights they need to make informed decisions. Our unique Employer Reputation indicator, a dataset based on the sentiments of over 44,000 hiring managers worldwide, allows potential applicants to assess US universities based on their ability to enhance their future careers, according to the most robust dataset available.”
Sowter continued, “As the global graduate jobs market becomes even more competitive, our research suggests that students are placing a greater emphasis on this information. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic further disrupting the graduate employment market, we predict that concern about the relationship between education and employability will intensify.”
What makes this ranking different?
The QS World University Rankings: USA is unique in that it focuses on diversity & internationalization inputs (the percentage of undergraduates receiving Pell Grant, gender diversity, the percentage of international students) and outputs (e.g. alumni outcomes, graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients, and Fulbright students studying abroad). It is also unique in in that particular attention is paid to employability outcomes through a combination of QS proprietary datasets, including alumni outcomes and the QS Employer Reputation survey.
In seeking to provide both domestic and international students with a highly relevant set of criteria for comparison, QS evaluates universities according to four key metric groups, each answering a question of central importance to these audiences:
(1) Research: Which universities produce the most impactful and high-quality research in the country?
(2) Learning Experience: Which universities do the most to offer a high-quality learning experience to their students?
(3) Diversity and internationalization: Which universities are most global in their outlook – and which are most diverse, both with reference to the gender breakdown and the socio-economic status of their student and faculty cohorts?
(4) Employability: Which universities most nurture graduates and are highly-regarded by employers worldwide, and ensure that their students receive an economic return on their educational investment?
Full methodological details, including a detailed breakdown of each of this metric groups, can be found in the Notes for Editors section below this release.
The full rankings will be live at www.TopUniversities.com from Wednesday 20th May, 10:00 BST.