Rutgers sees drop in academic rankings


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Photo by Graphic by Adam Ismail |

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings placed Rutgers at 91 out of 100 ranked colleges. Last year, it was ranked 81.


Rutgers has dropped in an international ranking of university academics.

Times Higher Education released a report on March 5 with the results of a survey of more than 10,000 scholars that asked which universities have the best academic reputation. 

Rutgers was tied with ten other institutions for 91 out of 100 ranked colleges, according to the report. It tied for 81 in 2013 on the same study after increasing from 91 in 2012, and 71 in 2011.

Princeton, the only other New Jersey university on the list, ranked seventh, the same as the previous study.

In an article by The Star-Ledger, Phil Baty, the editor of the rankings, said the drop in public university rankings was worrying. He attributed some of the difference to funding cuts in public education. 

“This is a worry, as it could lead to a downward spiral, with fewer international scholars wanting to join the institutions,” he said in the article. “Missed opportunities for global collaboration would lead to further decline.”

In an email statement, E.J. Miranda, director of University Media Relations, quoted Courtney McAnuff, vice president of Enrollment Management, who said rankings often fluctuate year to year. 

Rutgers is expecting a rise in reputation from several recent moves, including its merger with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and its entry into the academic consortium of the Big Ten. 

“The Strategic Plan [is] a bold and comprehensive blueprint that will propel Rutgers to the ranks of the nation’s premier public universities,” he said. 

Christopher Molloy, senior vice president of the Office of Research and Economic Development, said Rutgers is ranked in the top 30 universities in terms of research funds. 

Last year, the University received $750 million in research funds, he said. About $250 million of the funds came from the integration with UMDNJ.

He was not surprised the top 10 universities in the survey were in the United States, which he considers the leader in research.

“We have academic freedom and peer-reviewed research journals. … It’s somewhat unique, as opposed to management by the government,” he said. 

He attributed the rankings to insufficient marketing of Rutgers and said it keeps a generally local focus.

Harvard University placed first on the list, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. University of Tokyo was the first international university on the list at 11. 

Other prominent international universities included the Imperial College London and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Zurich.

The data were divided into three different sections: reputation in teaching, reputation in research and overall ranking. Times Higher Education withheld Rutgers’ results.

Emily-Kate Mitchell, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said the University was considered fairly prestigious with high-quality academics. 

But she believes Rutgers’ reputation varied depending on who was talking. 

“For people who just hear about it in the news, it’s not as good a reputation,” she said.

She transferred to Rutgers from a small private school to get more social and academic opportunities. Her old college was also twice as expensive. 

“I came here because I knew it had a good reputation,” she said. “My friends talk highly about Rutgers.”

Omer Baldo, School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, came to the University because of its top-rated computer science program. 

He said Rutgers was a generally good school that was having an “off” year. A resident of West Orange, N.J., he was one of the few in his class to attend the University. Many classmates of his were impressed to hear he was accepted here.

He thinks sports at the University have a big impact on Rutgers’ reputation. The more prominent the games, the more people from out-of-state hear about Rutgers.

“I’ve met a lot of out-of-state students who think Rutgers is good,” he said. “With in-state [people], because it’s here, we don’t really realize how good it is.”


By Erin Petenko

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