Engineering Europe

Caltech Knocks MIT Off The Top Spot In The Times League Table

Written by David-Anthony Gordon | Engineering Europe | Friday 15th October 2010 17:58:00 GMT

We examine The Time Higher Education World Rankings For Engineering Schools

Caltech in all of its glory

Caltech in all of its glory

For the first time ever The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has knocked off MIT from the top spot in the engineering category, of The Times Higher Education World League Tables. This came as something of a shock when the table of results was released a few days ago.

Most league tables are notorious for their inconsistency from year to year; however, The Times Higher Education World Rankings has generally remained quite consistent since it started almost a decade ago, especially its technology section.

This makes the news of Caltech beating MIT this year  quite special. Naturally a shift like this after so many years of regularity makes us ask the question, why? Why this year? Why not the year before, or next year? Does it mean anything? So we examinded who was where in the table this year. 

For the last five years MIT has held the spot whilst University California Berkley has firmly followed in second place, even holding the top spot itself in 2004. Stanford has consistently come in just below these two holding third place from 2007-2009.

When looking at Caltech in the rankings you can see that it has steadily risen through the ranks. In 2006 it was ranked number nine, then in both 2007 and 2008 it firmly held the fourth place, then falling to fifth in 2009.

The other schools that made the world top ten this year are Imperial College London, ETH Zurich, UCLA, Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Berkley and Princeton and MIT with Caltech on top of course.

When looking at engineering schools from the UK that made the top fifty Cambridge took the top spot. The other universities that made the cut were Oxford, Imperial, The University of Manchester and UCL. This gives the UK five in the top fifty.

When it comes to schools in Europe that aren't in the UK, ETH Zurich did very well making it into the top ten at number nine. Other schools that made the top fifty were K. U. Leuven, École Polytechnique, Delft University and The Technical University of Munich.

The Asian Universities that made the top fifty were The National University of Singapore, The University of Tokyo, Hong Kong University of Technology, Tsinghua, POSTECH, KAIST, The University of Hong Kong, Peking University,
Kyoto University and Nanyang University. This gives Asia an impressive ten universities in the top fifty.

Overall the world rankings show that engineering schools are quite reasonably geographically spread with Asia performing very well in this sector. This years table has been shaken up nicely compared to the last few years. One other fact that shouldn’t be overlooked is that Caltech not only came on top the engineering league table but astonishingly managed to knock Harvard off the top of the general tables making it the number one school in the world overall and not just in engineering, no easy feat!

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