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Is ranking universities by scientific journals accurate?

  1. Aug 6, 2015 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2015 #2
    No ranking method is perfect, so I would recommend seeing where the schools you are considering are ranked by several independent sources.

    For seniors in the US with strong academic records, I tend to recommend applying to schools in the top 100. For students with ACT scores above 32 or so, I recommend applying to at least 1 or 2 schools in the top 30.
  4. Aug 6, 2015 #3


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    Leaving off the question of whether the estimate of research excellence is accurate, what you have there is an estimate of research excellence, as opposed to overall how good the university is, or how good they are at teaching.

    Picking your university is more heavily influenced by what you want to do after your BSc. If you have decided you are interested in academia, or a big-name lab some place, then those schools that are excellent in research are good targets. Academics, who are strongly interested in research, are going to be more likely to want a grad student who studied at a "big research" school. And universities are likely to want to hire somebody who did a PhD at one of those "big research" schools.

    If you want to go to industry after university, then you have other things to consider.

    Get yourself some mags like Physics Today and similar. These are the "happy gossip" mags telling who got hired, what department expanded, etc. Find the issue that tells where grads from each school got hired. Also, Google for this information. If grads from a given school got jobs that make you smile, consider applying to those schools. If their jobs bore you or worse, drive on by.
  5. Aug 6, 2015 #4
    Thanks, I am still not sure if I want to continue education or go to industry after university. I am hoping that I will figure that out after i finish my bachelors degree.
  6. Aug 6, 2015 #5


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    Just to be clear, "scientific journals" do not rank universities. Scientific journals publish scientific papers. There are no university rankings to be regularly found in Nature, Science, PRL, etc.

    Secondly, there is an over-emphasis (at least in this forum) of seeking "brand-name" schools at the undergraduate level. If you do very well even in a smaller, less well-known school, it will not hinder you into going to top-notch schools for your graduate studies, if that is your aim.

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