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Top 10 Biological Sciences Disciplines Move Up in Latest U.S. News and World Report Global Rankings

Microbiology rises to third, several other disciplines rise in 2022 rankings

November 17, 2021

By Amanda Rubalcava and Mario Aguilera

The University of California San Diego has been ranked sixth among the nation's top public colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2022 Best Global Universities. The publication ranked UC San Diego as the No. 21 best university in the world.

A graphic with the words Best Global Universities U.S. News and World Report

Many subject areas related to biological sciences—already ranked in the top 10—moved higher in the global rankings. These include microbiology (fifth to third); biotechnology and applied microbiology (sixth to fourth); cell biology (sixth to fifth); biology and biochemistry (eighth to seventh) and molecular biology and genetics (ninth to eighth).

"Biological and biomedical sciences are booming, with many new tools and technologies to understand living systems, and to improve human health and the environment, so I'm excited to see so many UC San Diego disciplines tied to biological sciences rising in these global rankings," said Division of Biological Sciences Dean Kit Pogliano. "With the stellar faculty, students, staff and postdoctoral scholars across the campus, along with new initiatives such as our Co-Op and BioCAP programs, the Division of Biological Sciences is prepared to train the next generation of biologists and make new discoveries that are key for our future."

Now in its eighth year, the annual U.S. News rankings are designed to showcase how universities compare globally, focusing specifically on schools' academic research and reputation overall. The Best Global Universities ranking evaluate universities on 13 indicators, such as global and regional research reputation, international collaboration, publications and total citations.

In total, the 2022 edition of the Best Global Universities rankings assessed 1,750 top institutions – up from nearly 1,500 last year – across 90 countries. Alongside overall ranking scores, the publication also spotlights 42 subject rankings across various academic areas.

"UC San Diego is consistently recognized in global and national rankings for the impact of our scholarship across many subjects, from microbiology to geosciences," said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "As one of the world's leading research-focused public universities, our scholars leverage international collaboration to produce high-quality research that solves critical problems, increases economic output and benefits society."

UC San Diego placed among the top 10 universities in the world in eight subject areas and among the top 20 in 11 subject areas. The following areas ranked highly:

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology (1)
  • Microbiology (3)
  • Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology (4)
  • Cell Biology (5)
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology (7)
  • Biology and Biochemistry (7)
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics (8)
  • Neuroscience and Behavior (10)
  • Immunology (15)
  • Geosciences (18)
  • Clinical Medicine (18)

UC San Diego is home to leading-edge research and innovation, empowered by a scholarly community who is at the forefront of driving positive change around the globe. This October, two university professors were elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Leaders in cell biology and anti-malarial drug development respectively, JoAnn Trejo and Elizabeth Winzeler were recognized by their peers with one of the highest honors in health and medicine. Further, UC San Diego neurobiologist Matthew Lovett-Barron was recently announced as a member of the 2021 class of Packard Fellows for Science and Engineering.

UC San Diego has also solidified its reputation as a research powerhouse throughout the pandemic, participating in the global conversation surrounding COVID-19 and delivering solutions to help address the virus. A team of physicians and public health experts at UC San Diego measured the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among health workers. They found that with time, combined with the contagious delta variant, COVID-19 vaccines wane in protection.

In September, dozens of UC San Diego students, faculty and staff gathered to assemble 250 do-it-yourself air filters to support the campus's Return to Learn program. This effort to fight the spread of COVID-19 was spearheaded by atmospheric chemist Kimberly Prather, who has become a national expert on aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Alongside this latest accolade from U.S. News & World Report, UC San Diego recently ranked third among the nation's top public colleges according to Forbes. Last month, the university was named the nation's eighth best public university in the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best Colleges rankings. The publication also ranked the school as No. 13 in the list of best colleges for veterans.

For more information about UC San Diego rankings, visit the Campus Profile. The full methodology and further information on the 2022 Global Universities ranking can be accessed on the U.S. News & World Report website.