Physical and Life Sciences Earn High Marks in Times Higher Ed Ranking


The University of Arizona is recognized as a world leader in physical sciences and life sciences research and education in the newest subject rankings from Times Higher Education.

The university ranked No. 62 out of 1,054 colleges and universities worldwide in physical sciences in Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2020 By Subject, released Nov. 19. It is a five-spot jump over the university's appearance on the list last year and it puts the university in the top 6% among physical sciences programs worldwide.

"University of Arizona scientists and educators are recognized throughout the world as leading experts in the physical and life sciences," said UArizona President Robert C. Robbins. "Our cutting-edge research not only addresses the issues of today, but also provides hands-on learning experiences and training for the next generation of scientists who will help solve the problems of tomorrow."

The University of Arizona finished No. 30 in the U.S. and No. 13 among all U.S. public institutions in this ranking, which covers mathematics and statistics, physics and astronomy, chemistry, geology, and environmental, earth and marine sciences.

"The College of Science takes great pride in the world-class research and educational opportunities provided in the physical sciences at the University of Arizona," said Elliott Cheu, interim dean of the College of Science. "Our students and faculty are leaders in developing new knowledge in the fields of astronomy, physics, chemistry and planetary sciences."

The university also scored a top 100 finish in life sciences, placing tied for No. 98 out of 821 universities worldwide – its highest placement in the nine-year history of these subject rankings. It was No. 33 in the U.S. and No. 15 among public colleges and universities. Times Higher Education's life sciences category covers agriculture and forestry, biological sciences, veterinary science and sports science.

"We are thrilled to see the University of Arizona make its highest-ever appearance in the life sciences category," said Shane Burgess, vice president of agriculture, life and veterinary sciences, and Cooperative Extension. "As a fully comprehensive life sciences college, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to lead the region, the state and the world in how we approach preparing our students for professional careers and conducting world-class research."

The subject rankings are based on the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2020, but the physical sciences and life sciences methodology is recalibrated for each subject to suit the individual fields. The performance indicators are grouped into five areas:

  • Teaching (the learning environment): 27.5%
  • Research (volume, income and reputation): 27.5%
  • Citations (research influence): 35%
  • International outlook (staff, students and research) 7.5%
  • Industry income (knowledge transfer): 2.5%

The university's best scores came in citations, research and teaching.

The university also placed in the clinical, preclinical and health (126-150) subject ranking. Schools ranked at 100 and lower are assigned to ranges and do not receive individual rankings.

In subject rankings released in recent weeks, the university placed No. 11 among all U.S. public institutions in the arts and humanities category and No. 16 in social sciences.

In the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, released Sept. 11, the university was No. 104 – a 55-spot increase over the university's rank last year. The university ranked No. 42 among all U.S. colleges and universities and No. 20 among public institutions.