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UC San Diego Named Nation’s 6th Best Public University by U.S. News and World Report

Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications and Creative Services


  • Amanda Rubalcava

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  • Amanda Rubalcava

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The University of California San Diego has once again been recognized as the nation’s sixth best public university, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 Best Global Universities. The publication evaluates universities on 13 indicators, including global and regional research reputation, international collaboration, as well as the number of publications that are among the 10% most cited. Overall, UC San Diego was ranked the 21st best university in the world.

“UC San Diego consistently receives high marks in national and global rankings for the exceptional work of our faculty and researchers and the wide impact of their teaching and research,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our $1.45-billion research enterprise is a result of our continued success with cross-disciplinary collaborations in science, art and technology and our growing partnerships with education, community and industry leaders across the globe.”

Now in its seventh year, the U.S. News and World Report rankings are comprised of nearly 1,500 top institutions across 86 countries.

The publication also showcased the university’s strengths across disciplines in its subject category rankings. UC San Diego placed among the top 10 universities in the world in seven subject areas and among the top 20 in 11 subject areas. The following areas ranked highly:

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology (1)
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology (3)
  • Microbiology (5)
  • Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology (6)
  • Cell Biology (6)
  • Biology and Biochemistry (8)
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics (9)
  • Neuroscience and Behavior (12)
  • Geosciences (18)
  • Immunology (19)
  • Clinical Medicine (19)

Driving research and innovation locally and worldwide

As a powerhouse in research, education and health care, UC San Diego is at the forefront of transforming the globe through the achievements and expertise of its campus community. Recently, UC San Diego Vice Chancellor for Research Sandra A. Brown received two prestigious awards from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the American Psychological Association for her pioneering research in the field of psychology. Further, Professor Susan Ackerman, a trailblazer in the study of homeostasis in developing and aging neurons, was elected to membership the National Academy of Medicine – one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

The university also drives research that investigates social, cultural and governmental topics across borders, such as the recently launched Mexico Violence Resource Project. This new initiative from UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies is designed to provide policymakers and journalists analysis and information to better understand the complicated escalation of violence in Mexico. Additionally, the UC San Diego School of Medicine also recently released a cross-cultural study conducted alongside researchers from the University of Rome La Sapienza. The collaborative study examined middle-aged and older adults in San Diego and Cilento, Italy, with findings suggesting that wisdom may be a protective factor against loneliness.

A leader in national and global rankings

In addition to this most recent accolade from U.S. News and World Report, UC San Diego has consistently been recognized as a leading university in both national and global lists. In September, the university was ranked the nation’s 8th best public university in the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges Guidebook. In August, UC San Diego also ranked as the top public university in the nation in Washington Monthly’s 2020 College Guide and Rankings and was included as the fourth best U.S. public university in the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

To read the complete U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 Best Global Universities list, visit the publication’s website. For a complete listing of UC San Diego rankings and accolades, visit the Campus Profile.

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