11 UCSF Research Specialties Rank in Top 10 in US News Global Universities Rankings for 2021

By Nina Bai

Student looks at a slide in a lab

Graduate student Victoria Cheung looks at a slide with samples of coronal mouse brain in the neuroscience lab of Evan Feinberg, PhD. Photo by Susan Merrell

UC San Francisco has 11 specialties ranked in the top 10 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities 2021 rankings.

Now in their seventh year, the Best Global Universities rankings focus on schools’ academic research and reputation overall instead of specific undergraduate and graduate programs. These global rankings help the increasing number of students exploring international higher education options to more accurately compare institutions around the world.

This year’s rankings, released Oct. 20, highlight UCSF’s continuing strength in health sciences research. UCSF ranked second in Immunology and Neuroscience; third in Cell Biology, Clinical Medicine and Microbiology; fourth in Molecular Biology and Genetics; fifth in Infectious Diseases and Surgery; sixth in Biology and Biochemistry, and Oncology; and 10th in Public, Environmental and Occupational Health.

“UCSF’s strong performance in these global rankings is well-deserved recognition of the innovative and persistent work of our faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students,” said Dan Lowenstein, MD, executive vice chancellor and provost. “It is their scientific excellence that brings us such visibility on the world stage, and will bring UCSF to even greater heights in the years to come.”

This is the sixth straight year that UCSF has maintained its second-place spot in Immunology. UCSF rose in several specialties, including to No. 2 in Neuroscience, up from fourth place last year; and to No. 5 in Surgery, up from sixth place last year. UCSF also placed high in several new specialties introduced in the 2021 rankings, including No. 3 in Cell Biology, No. 5 in Infectious Diseases, and No. 10 in Public, Environmental and Occupational Health.

In the overall ranking, UCSF maintained its No. 15 place among the world’s top universities. This placement is more extraordinary for the fact that UCSF is focused exclusively on graduate health sciences and must compete against other institutions with a broader range of undergraduate and graduate academic fields. The 2021 rankings are the most comprehensive and competitive to date, encompassing nearly 1,500 top institutions across 86 countries, up from 81 countries last year.

UCSF joins other University of California schools with high overall rankings, including UC San Diego (21st), UCLA (13th) 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 of the 38 subject rankings has its own methodology based on academic research performance and reputation in that specific area.