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University and College Rankings

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Rankings are based on 13 indicators that gauge performance in the following areas:

  • Teaching - academic reputation survey, student-to-faculty ratio, doctorate-to-bachelor's ratio, percentage of faculty with doctorates, and institutional income
  • Research - academic reputation survey, research income, and research volume
  • Citations - the number of times published works coming out of an institution are cited globally
  • International outlook - international-to-domestic student ratio, international-to-domestic faculty ratio, and international collaboration on research
  • Industry income - knowledge transfer compared to faculty size

Caltech ranking
2022: 2 (tie)
2021: 4
2020: 2
2019: 5
2018: 3 (tie)
2017: 2
2016: 1
2015: 1
2014: 1
2013: 1
2012: 1

Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities

Rankings are based on six indicators in the following areas:

  • Quality of education - number of alumni who have won a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal
  • Quality of faculty – number of faculty who have won a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal, and number of "highly cited" researchers, as determined by Thomson Reuters
  • Research output - number of papers published in the journals Nature or Science, and papers indexed in Science Citation Index-expanded and Social Science Citation Index
  • Per capita performance – the weighted scores of the above indicators, divided by the number of fulltime faculty

Caltech ranking
2021: 9 (National, 7)
2020: 8 (National, 7)
2019: 9 (National, 7)
2018: 9 (National, 7)
2017: 9 (National, 7)
2016: 8 (National, 6)
2015: 7 (National, 6)
2014: 7 (National, 6)
2013: 6 (National, 5)
2012: 6 (National, 5)

US News Best Colleges

Rankings are based on 15 indicators in the following areas:

  • Graduation and retention – based on a school's six-year graduation rate and its first-year retention rate
  • Assessment of excellence – based on two reputation surveys, one of 2,200 counselors from the country's top high schools, and one of presidents, provosts, and deans of admission at peer institutions
  • Faculty resources – based on class size, faculty compensation, the proportion of faculty who hold the highest degree in their field, student-to-faculty ratio, and proportion of fulltime faculty
  • Student selectivity – based on SAT and ACT scores, the percentage of students who graduated in the top 10 percent and top 25 percent of their high school class, and acceptance rate
  • Financial resources – per-student spending on instruction, research, and student services (not including sports, dorms, or hospitals)
  • Graduation rate performance – to calculate, U.S. News estimates a "predicted" graduation rate, controlling for per-student spending, admission selectivity, proportion of students receiving Pell grants, and the proportion of undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. The predicted rate is then compared to the actual rate.
  • Alumni giving rate – the percentage of alumni who contribute financially

Caltech ranking
2022: 9 (tie)
2021: 9 (tie)
2020: 12 (tie)
2019: 12 (tie)
2018: 10
2017: 12 (tie)
2016: 10 (tie)
2015: 10
2014: 10 (tie)
2013: 10 (tie)
2012: 5 (tie)

QS World University Rankings: Top Universities

Rankings are based on indicators in the following areas:

  • Academic reputation – based on a proprietary opinion survey of more than 70,000 higher education leaders
  • Employer reputation – based on 30,000 responses to an employer survey asking which institutions prepare the most innovative and effective graduates
  • Faculty/student ratio
  • Citations per faculty – based on the total number of citations received by all papers produced by an institution over a five-year period, divided by the number of faculty. (Scores are weighted to account for different publishing cultures across academic fields)
  • International faculty ratio
  • International student ratio

Caltech ranking
2022: 6
2021: 4
2020: 5
2019: 4
2018: 4
2017: 5
2016: 5
2015: 8
2014: 10 (tie)
2013: 10
2012: 12 (tie)

Forbes America's Top Colleges

Unlike other systems, rankings are based on output measures that attempt to gauge return on investment:

  • Postgraduate success – based on salary data from PayScale and the Department of Education, and alumni presence on the Forbes American Leaders List
  • Debt – based on student loan default rates, and debt load (the percentage of students who take out federal loans and the average loan debt per borrower)
  • Student experience – based on first-year retention rate, and a third-party survey of current students and recent graduates
  • Graduation rate – based mainly on four-year and six-year graduation rates, with adjustments made for Pell grant recipients
  • Academic success – based on the percentage of students who go on to obtain doctorate degrees, or who receive prestigious academic awards including Fulbright and Goldwater

Caltech ranking
2021: 40
2020: not reported
2019: 8
2018: 6
2017: 6
2016: 39
2015: 33
2014: 21
2013: 18
2012: 18

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings

Rankings are based on 15 indicators that measure performance in the following areas:

  • Resources – Finances per student, faculty per student, and research papers per faculty. Resources accounts for 30 percent of a university's overall rank.
  • Engagement – Data are gathered from the proprietary Times Higher Education US Student Survey, which examines engagement with learning (To what extent does a university challenge assumptions, and cultivate critical thinking, reflection, and real-world learning?), student recommendation (If a friend or family member were considering this university, how likely or unlikely would you be to recommend it?), Interaction with teachers and students (opportunities to receive personalized feedback and engage in group assignments), and subjects offered (based on federal IPEDS data). Engagement accounts for 20 percent of a university's overall score.
  • Outcomes – Graduation rate, value added to graduate salary, value added to loan default, and academic reputation. Outcomes account for 40 percent of a university's overall rank.
  • Environment – Proportion of international students, student diversity, student inclusion (low-income and first-generation students), and staff diversity. Environment accounts for 10 percent of a university's overall rank.

Caltech ranking
2022: 7
2021: 7 (tie)
2020: 5 (tie)
2019: 5
2018: 7
2017: 12
(The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings began in 2017.)