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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA space sciences program ranks No. 7 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities list

Courtesy Jonathan Davis

Galaxy M42 seen by Jonathan Davis’ homemade telescope. Davis is a lead project engineer in the Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory, which is developing a novel way to cast and polish mirrors to be used in astrological telescopes.

The UA recently ranked No. 73 out of 1,000 higher-education institutions in the U.S. News & World Report 2017 Best Global Universities.

The ranking, which considered institutions across 65 countries, measured a university’s global and regional research reputation and academic research performance using indicators such as publications, citations and international collaboration.

The UA’s highest-ranked program on the list was the space science program, ranked at No. 7. The UA’s program trailed only the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Princeton University and the University of Cambridge.

The space science program has been home to a number of significant projects, including professors with leadership roles in the OSIRIS-REx mission.

Chris Impey, associate dean of the UA College of Science and distinguished professor of astronomy, said he is impressed with the space science program’s high ranking.

“Just to be in the top 10 is an achievement given that we’re a state university and given that we’re underfunded by the state, so we’re pretty happy with that,” Impey said.

Impey cited Arizona’s cut in funding for education back in 2008 as a move that has made it harder on institutions like the UA to achieve at its highest potential.

RELATED: UA research finds evidence supporting the existence of a ninth planet beyond Neptune

Arizona ranks No. 48 out of 50 states in education, so to be so highly ranked among private universities is an accomplishment, Impey said.

He emphasized how well the UA competes among other public institutions, since they operate on a more level playing field in terms of money and funding.

Within Arizona, the UA was the highest overall ranked university on the list out of the three public higher institutions in the state. ASU ranked at No. 121 and NAU ranked at No. 652.

The UA also placed in the top 100 for its programs in plant and animal sciences at No. 25, arts and humanities at No. 33, geosciences at No. 34, environment and ecology at No. 40, social sciences and public health at No. 71, psychiatry/psychology at No. 72, economics and business at No. 91 and neuroscience and behavior at No. 100.

The highest rankings, which include five science programs, can be attributed to the UA’s strong reputation as a research institution.

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“If you have a good program, more people want to go there,” Impey said. “If you have good faculty, grad students will come here. Strength builds strength, and once you’ve got a reputation, it builds on itself.”

Follow Leah Merrall on Twitter.

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