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University and College Rankings

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Rankings are based on 18 indicators that gauge performance in the following areas, many of which are scaled for institution size and subject weighted to account for differences across academic disciplines:

  • Teaching - academic reputation survey, student-to-faculty ratio, doctorate-to-bachelor's ratio, doctorate-to-academic staff ratio, and institutional income
  • Research environment - academic reputation survey, research income, and research volume
  • Research quality - the number of times published works coming out of an institution are cited globally, which publications cite an institution's published works
  • International outlook - international-to-domestic student ratio, international-to-domestic faculty ratio, and international collaboration on research
  • Industry - patents, knowledge transfer compared to faculty size

Caltech ranking
2024: 7
2023: 6
2022: 2 (tie)
2021: 4
2020: 2
2019: 5
2018: 3 (tie)
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 Clarivate
  • 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 full-time equivalent academic staff

Caltech ranking
2023: 9 (National, 7)
2022: 9 (National, 7)
2021: 9 (National, 7)
2020: 8 (National, 7)
2019: 9 (National, 7)
2018: 9 (National, 7)
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 18 indicators in the following areas:

  • Graduation and retention – based on a school's six-year graduation rates (overall, Pell Grant students, first-generation students) and its first-year retention rate (overall)
  • Assessment of excellence – based on a reputation survey of presidents, provosts, and deans of admission at peer institutions
  • Faculty resources – based on faculty compensation, student-to-faculty ratio, and proportion of full-time faculty
  • Faculty research – based on citations per publication, field weighed citation impact, publications cited in the top 5% and top 25% of journals
  • Financial resources – per-student spending on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures
  • Graduation rate performance – to calculate, US News estimates a "predicted" graduation rate, controlling for per-student spending, admission selectivity, proportion of students receiving Pell Grants, first-generation students, and the proportion of undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. The predicted rate is then compared to the actual rate. US News creates a predicted rate for all students at an institution, as well as for Pell Grant students and first-generation students.
  • Alumni debt and earnings – based on the average federal loan debt among borrowers, as well as the proportion of federal loan recipients from the institution who were earning more than a typical high school graduate

Caltech ranking
2024: 7 (tie)
2023: 9
2022: 9 (tie)
2021: 9 (tie)
2020: 12 (tie)
2019: 12 (tie)
2018: 10
2017: 12 (tie)
2016: 10 (tie)
2015: 10
2014: 10 (tie)
2013: 10 (tie)
2012: 5 (tie)

QS World University Rankings: Top Universities

Rankings are based on indicators in the following areas:

  • Academic reputation – based on a proprietary opinion survey of higher education academics from around the globe
  • Employer reputation – based on responses to a worldwide employer survey asking which institutions are the best for producing relevant graduates
  • 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 Research Network – based on internationally co-authored publications and the number of countries represented in the co-authored publications
  • Employment Outcomes – based on the graduate employment rate and the number of alumni who appear on various lists (e.g., Forbes 30 Under 30; World's Billionaires; Nobel Peace Prize)
  • Sustainability – based on measures that provide evidence for an institution's social and environmental impact
  • Faculty/student ratio
  • International faculty ratio
  • International student ratio

Caltech ranking
2024: 15
2023: 6 (tie)
2022: 6
2021: 4
2020: 5
2019: 4
2018: 4
2017: 5
2016: 5
2015: 8
2014: 10 (tie)
2013: 10
2012: 12 (tie)

Forbes America's Top Colleges

Rankings are based on indicators in the following areas:

  • Postgraduate outcomes – 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 repayment rates, and debt load (the percentage of students who take out federal loans and the average loan debt per borrower)
  • Return on Investment – a calculation that is based on the total net price and the post-enrollment earnings boost students receive for attending that institution
  • Retention and Graduation rates – based on the first-year retention rate, and on the six-year graduation rate, with adjustments made for Pell Grant recipients
  • Academic success – based on the number of students who go on to obtain doctorate degrees, or who receive prestigious academic awards including Fulbright and Goldwater

Caltech ranking
2023: 47
2022: 45
2021: 40
2020: not reported
2019: 8
2018: 6
2017: 6
2016: 39
2015: 33
2014: 21
2013: 18
2012: 18

Wall Street Journal: Best Colleges in the U.S.

The WSJ/THE College Rankings were last published in September 2021. Starting in 2023, the Wall Street Journal developed its own set of college rankings in concert with College Pulse (a firm that surveys college students) and Statista (a business intelligence platform). The WSJ debuted its new set of rankings in early September 2023, including its list of Best Colleges in the U.S.

The Best Colleges ranking are based on the following measures:

  • Salary impact – a calculation that compares an institution's average alumni salary with an expected alumni salary given the institution's student population
  • Years to pay off net price – a calculation that compares an institution's average net price with the value added to the alumni average salary
  • Graduation rate performance – a calculation that compares an institution's graduation rate with an expected graduation rate given the institution's student population
  • Student satisfaction – based on a survey of students and recent graduates that asks whether respondents would recommend their alma mater and about an institution's learning opportunities, career preparation, learning facilities, and diversity
  • Institutional diversity – based on institutional data that includes measures such as the proportion of Pell Grant recipients and the inclusion of students with disabilities

Caltech ranking
2024: 18
2023: N/A
2022: 7
2021: 7 (tie)
2020: 5 (tie)
2019: 5
2018: 7
2017: 12