Johns Hopkins jumps to No. 12 in WSJ/THE Best U.S. College rankings

JHU makes the biggest move among top 25 schools in rankings published by 'The Wall Street Journal' and 'Times Higher Education'

Gilman Hall as seen across Keyser Quad

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University moved up nine spots to No. 12 on the annual list of the top U.S. colleges and universities published by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education, having improved in each of the four pillar categories used to determine the rankings.

Hopkins made the biggest jump among top 25 schools and now shares the No. 12 spot with Dartmouth. Harvard sits atop the rankings for the third year in a row, followed by MIT, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and CalTech.

The 2020 rankings, which include 801 schools, were posted Wednesday night to The Journal's website.

According to the published methodology, "the ranking includes clear performance indicators designed to answer the questions that matter most to students and their families" when deciding which college to attend.

The WSJ/THE assessment is based on 15 performances metrics grouped into four pillar categories:

  • Resources, which includes metrics such as faculty-to-student ratio and per capita research papers published by faculty
  • Engagement, based on responses to THE's U.S. Student Survey of more than 170,000 current U.S. college students and reflecting information such as how likely a respondent is to recommend a school to a friend or family member
  • Outcomes, which factors in graduation rate, value added to salary for graduates, debt after graduation, and academic reputation
  • Environment, which includes four different measures of student and faculty diversity and inclusion

In the 2020 rankings, relative to its peers, Johns Hopkins moved up in each of these four pillar categories. The most significant movement came in the Outcomes pillar, an improvement driven in part by a change in how student debt performance is measured, according to Ratna Sarkar, the university's vice provost for institutional research.

This is the fourth year that The Journal and THE have published U.S. university rankings; Johns Hopkins ranked No. 13 in 2017, No. 17 in 2018, and No. 21 in 2019.

Times Higher Education, based in London, also releases its World University Rankings each fall. That list is compiled using a different methodology that compares global research-intensive institutions on teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook. Hopkins was No. 12 in THE's World University Rankings a year ago.