UCSF Tops US News Global University Rankings in 9 Research Areas

By Nina Bai

researcher's hands
A researcher works to study prostate cancer in the laboratory of Felix Fang, MD, who is in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Photo by Noah Berger

UC San Francisco’s research has been ranked among the top 10 in the world in nine subject areas, according to the newest U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings.

The 2020 rankings, released Oct. 22, particularly showcase UCSF’s strength across nine health sciences research areas, in all of which the University placed in the top 10. UCSF ranked second in Immunology; third in Clinical Medicine and in Microbiology; fourth in Molecular Biology and Genetics and in Neuroscience and Behavior; fifth in Biology and Biochemistry and in Oncology; sixth in Surgery; and seventh in Pharmacology and Toxicology.

“We’re proud of UCSF’s very high rankings in this year’s U.S. News Global Universities report, which once again show that the life sciences research done by our faculty and students is among the very best in the world,” said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Dan Lowenstein, MD. “Our stated mission is ‘Advancing Health Worldwide,’ which makes these global rankings particularly relevant. Bettering the human condition across the globe, whether it be through our research, education or patient care, is the continuing inspiration for everything we do at UCSF.”

This year’s rankings were the most inclusive to date, with more universities in more countries around the world ranked, and more subject areas included in the rankings. Oncology and Surgery were among six new subject areas, and overall the rankings encompassed the top 1,500 universities across 81 countries, up from 1,250 universities across 75 countries last year.

This is the fifth straight year that UCSF has maintained its second-place spot in Immunology, despite more universities in contention in the rankings. This year’s Immunology rankings considered 299 institutions, 50 more than last year. In Molecular Biology and Genetics, UCSF rose to fourth place worldwide from last year’s No. 5 ranking.

Now in its sixth year, the Best Global Universities rankings focus on schools’ academic research and reputation instead of undergraduate and graduate programs, which helps students exploring international higher education options to more accurately compare institutions around the world.

In the 2020 rankings, UCSF placed 15th overall out of the world’s top 1,500 universities. For the overall rankings, UCSF, which is focused exclusively on health sciences, must compete against other institutions that represent a broader scope of academic fields.

UCSF joins other University of California school in the top 20 for the overall rankings, including UC San Diego (19th), UCLA (14th) and UC Berkeley (4th).

The overall ranking scores were calculated based on 13 weighted indicators that included each institution’s global and regional research reputation, publication record, extent of international collaborations and impact of its citations. Each subject ranking has its own methodology based on academic research performance and reputation in that specific area.