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
2018: 3
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
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
2018: 10
2017: 12
2016: 10
2015: 10
2014: 10
2013: 10
2012: 5

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
2018: 4
2017: 5
2016: 5
2015: 8
2014: 8
2013: 10
2012: 10

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
2017: 6
2016: 39
2015: 33
2014: 21
2013: 18
2012: 18