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UNC-Chapel Hill Ranks 30th in 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities

September 1, 2020
UNC Global Affairs
UNC bell tower visible through branches of purple flowers

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ranked 30th in the world and is tied for 20th in the United States among global universities, according to the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy on August 15, 2020. Carolina ties at 20th with Northwestern University. The University also ranks 7th among U.S. public universities.

“Measures like Academic Ranking of World Universities highlight the high caliber and superb work of our faculty, students and staff,” said Barbara Stephenson, vice provost for global affairs and chief global officer. “I am proud to see Carolina recognized as a leader among world universities.”

Carolina tied for 33rd in 2019 and ranked 30th in 2018. Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Cambridge continue to hold the top three spots respectively.

ARWU evaluates universities based on objective indicators, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in ‘Nature and Science,’ papers indexed in major citation indices and the per capita academic performance of an institution. ARWU first published university rankings in 2003, and now ranks more than 2,000 universities each year. The top 1,000 universities are published annually.

The scores are determined by the weighted indicators listed above, with the highest scoring university earning a score of 100. The other institutions are calculated as a percentage of the top score.

Global academic subject rankings were also released. This year UNC-Chapel Hill ranked in the top 20 for 11 academic subject areas. UNC-Chapel Hill continues to rank highly in the medical sciences field and gained significant recognition in several social sciences.

The rankings and subjects are: 

  • 2nd in dentistry and oral sciences 
  • 4th in pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences 
  • 5th in public health 
  • 9th in statistics 
  • 10th in education 
  • 10th in nursing
  • 14th in biological sciences 
  • 15th in biomedical engineering 
  • 16th in sociology 
  • 17th in computer science and engineering 
  • 19th in business administration 

For a full list of rankings, visit 

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