"In the two areas that concern us, economics and social sciences, it is extraordinary to be ranked this high in the world."
George Mason University’s social sciences and economics programs received high marks in the 2012 installment of the Academic Ranking of World Universities, conducted by researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.
The researchers behind this prestigious rating system, otherwise known as the Shanghai Ranking, evaluated more than 1,200 universities worldwide, posting the merits of the top 500 in several research-focused categories.
Mason is listed as 39th in the world in social sciences.
This ranking is based upon several indicators, including, as stated by the ranking's website:
- The number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals,
- The number of highly cited researchers, selected by Thomson Scientific,
- The number of articles published in journals of nature and science,
- The number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index - Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and
- Per capita performance with respect to the size of an institution.
Mason ranked in the 51-75 grouping in 2007 and the 51-76 grouping in 2008. The university ranked 42nd, 45th and 41st overall in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively.
Moreover, Mason ranks 46th in the “economics/business” subject field, continuing its consistency in the category. Mason ranked 38th, 39th and 47th in this subject field in 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Another notable distinction for the school includes its placement of 30th in the “Staff of Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists” category (up from a ranking of 151-200 in 2011) and 27th in the “Staff of Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists per Staff” category (also up from a 151-200 ranking in 2011).
Jack Censer, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was thrilled with the rankings, calling them “amazing.”
“In the two areas that concern us, economics and social sciences, it is extraordinary to be ranked this high in the world,” he said. “A ranking of 39 for social sciences is unbelievable. These areas are competitive, and the university has invested in them for a long time. The results of that investment are what shows in these rankings.”
The Shanghai Ranking is one of the most important and prestigious rankings in the world, explained Censer, and it is used to assess a university’s research prowess.
“The ranking uses quantitative, objective indicators,” Censer said. “It is not at all influenced by reputational scores.”