This plant materials class is part of the University of Arizona’s Master of Landscape Architecture curriculum. The UA's plant and animal sciences were ranked No. 22 globally by U.S. News and World Report.

The University of Arizona’s ranking among global universities slipped four spots from No. 77 to No. 81 in the 2019 Best Global Universities ranking by U.S. News and World Report.

The UA was evaluated along with 1,250 other universities in 75 countries.

This is the fifth year the magazine has published these global rankings. It also publishes separate rankings by country based on the same criteria. Domestically, the UA ranked 43rd.

Arizona State University was ranked 145th in the world and 59th in the country. Northern Arizona University ranked No. 583 in the world and No. 144 at home.

Harvard University holds the top spot in the world and in the U.S., followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. The highest-ranked foreign school was the University of Oxford in England.

The magazine compiled the list by first creating a pool of 1,372 schools that published 1,500 papers or more from 2012-16. Stand-alone graduate schools were included in this criteria.

Then, rankings were calculated using variables that roughly broke down to the universities’ research reputation, productivity, number of publications and citations and the amount of international collaboration.

“We’re trying to become more global,” said the UA’s Jeffrey Goldberg, interim senior VP for academic affairs and provost. “This ranking system hits right in the faculty wheelhouse. This is exactly how we pick award-winning faculty members.”

These metrics can help students easily and accurately compare schools that might vary greatly in undergraduate programs, according to U.S. News.

These rankings differ from the recently published U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings in that they are global in their ranking metrics. There is more of a focus on the quantity and quality of academic research, rather than student success and outcomes.

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In the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges Rankings, the UA placed 106th out of the nearly 1,400 public and private institutions ranked across the country.

The school is working on increasing investment, retention and recruitment, Goldberg said.

On campus, “Everyone’s job is retention,” he said. “We’re starting to coordinate across campus so it’s not just one or two people’s jobs.” He expects this to be addressed further during the unveiling of President Robert Robbins’ strategic plan during the November meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Goldberg also emphasized the commitment to offering students research experience while working toward their undergraduate degree.

The magazine also published global rankings by subject.

The UA was ranked No. 10 in the world for space sciences. Other top 100 rankings by subject are No. 22 in plant and animal sciences, 29th in geosciences, 39th in environment/ecology and 43rd in arts and humanities, 73rd in social sciences and public health and 92nd in psychiatry/psychology.

Contact Mikayla Mace at mmace@tucson.com or 573-4158. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.