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UC San Diego Named 4th Best Public Research University in Prestigious Global Rankings

Shanghai rankings celebrate campus as a world-renowned research powerhouse


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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The University of California San Diego has been named the fourth best public university in the United States for the second consecutive year by the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

The overall rankings list the campus as the country’s 14th best university, up one spot from last year, and 18th in the world.

UC San Diego has consistently been included among the top 20 higher education institutions in the annual Academic Ranking of World Universities list since it was established in 2003.  Each year, the rankings are released by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a public research university considered one of the most prestigious universities in China.

The annual Academic Ranking of World Universities list is based on six objective indicators including the number of alumni and faculty winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; the number of highly cited researchers; the number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science; the number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index - Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index; and per capita performance.

“UC San Diego’s multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to teaching, research and patient care makes it one of the most innovative and influential universities in the world,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “This year especially, our faculty and scholars have demonstrated strength, grace and ingenuity as they rise to new challenges to ensure the safety of our campus and surrounding community while continuing breakthrough research to address the global health crisis.”

UC San Diego’s world-renowned research has been critical during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The university currently is involved in three national trials evaluating the effectiveness of a vaccine to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Other potentially life-saving research from the campus’ Jacobs School of Engineering includes the development of a low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients that is built around a ventilator bag most often found in ambulances. Additionally, an economic study from the university revealed how South Korea’s efficacy in containing COVID-19 is largely due to the country’s ability to notify people with detailed text messages whenever someone in their neighborhood is newly diagnosed with information on the businesses that person recently visited.

The campus’ cutting-edge research around the COVID-19 pandemic is at the foundation of its Return to Learn program, which is guided by scientific evidence and expertise from the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Wertheim School of Public Health and Longevity Science, as well as healthcare experts from UC San Diego Health. The continually evolving university-wide strategy enables a safe return to campus based on results from regular COVID-19 testing, wastewater monitoring and contact tracing, in addition to comprehensive facial covering requirements, and isolation housing for on-campus residents, among other measures.

For more information about the UC San Diego Return to Learn program, go to the program’s website

For more information on the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities, go to the Shanghai rankings website. More information on UC San Diego’s rankings can be found at the Campus Profile.

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