USC ranks No. 17 nationally in Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey

USC is again one of only three California institutions, along with Caltech and Stanford, to make the top 20 in the third annual Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey. (USC Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

USC ranks No. 17 nationally in the newly released Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities.

Among all California institutions — public and private — only USC, Caltech and Stanford University ranked within the top 20. Of 145 universities surveyed in the western U.S., USC ranks No. 3.

The annual ranking uses a set of comprehensive metrics to determine whether a college offers students sufficient resources to succeed, whether students feel challenged and engaged, whether the student body is diverse and international, and whether graduates succeed by paying off their loans and are able to find satisfying, high-paying jobs.

“The Trojan Family takes great pride in USC’s placement among the very best colleges in the country,” said USC interim President Wanda M. Austin. “It is especially heartening to see the university perform so well in the engagement category, which asks students to evaluate how well they are able to engage with various parts of the institution they attend, including faculty interaction and course selection.

“This is a success we not only celebrate today, but work to build upon tomorrow.”

USC national ranking: again in the top 20

USC has placed in the top 20 since the inception of The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey, now in its third year.

Engagement: In the study’s engagement metric, which relies on results from a Times Higher Education survey of students, USC ranked No. 6 in the nation. The survey measured, among other factors, whether what students learned in class was readily applicable in the real world and whether students had regular access to and interaction with USC’s world-class faculty, as well as the breadth of courses offered on campus.

Among the top 20 national universities, only Brown University scored as high as USC did in the engagement category.

Environment: Among the top 20 institutions, USC ranked third in the environment metric, which looks at whether colleges are providing an optimum learning environment for all students and measures a university’s effort to attract a diverse student body and faculty.

Outcomes: USC also showed strength in the area of graduate salaries, where results put Trojans in the 99th percentile nationally in this key metric.

USC has the largest undergraduate enrollment among the top 20-ranking institutions.

Data from this survey was collected from a variety of public data sources as well as from a comprehensive student survey carried out by Times Higher Education in London.

BY Eric Abelev AND David Medzerian