Published: July 17, 2018
Man flies drone over mountain lake

CU Boulder's earth science and atmospheric science disciplines both ranked No. 1 overall among world universities in the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy's 2018 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS), which was published today. The university also scored highly in a dozen other academic categories, highlighting the breadth of impactful CU Boulder research. 

2018 Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects

Top-50 programs 

Earth Science: No. 1
Atmospheric Science: No. 1
Ecology: No. 9
Physics: No. 12
Geography: No. 12
Chemical Engineering: No. 12 
Water Resources: No. 14
Remote Sensing: No. 19
Education: No. 24
Aerospace Engineering: No. 27 
Oceanography: No. 28
Environmental Science & Engineering: No. 29 
Business Administration: No. 39
Mechanical Engineering: No. 48 

The annual ranking, which has been published since 2009, includes over 1,600 universities from 83 countries scored across 54 academic subject categories. This year marks the first time that CU Boulder has ranked first overall in any category, with its earth science program rising from No. 3 overall in 2017 and its atmospheric science program debuting at No. 1 overall in a brand new stand-alone category.

“These rankings are strong indicators of the truly world-class talent of CU Boulder’s faculty, whose research in the disciplines cited—and across dozens of others—is transforming the landscape of human knowledge, and impacting lives from Colorado to communities across the globe,” CU Provost Russell L. Moore said. 

In other highlights from the report, 12 more CU Boulder academic disciplines ranked in the top 50 in their respective categories, including physics (No. 12 overall); education (No. 24 overall); and business administration (No. 39 overall). Ecology (No. 9 overall) posted the largest year-over-year gain, rising from No. 33 overall in 2017.

CU Boulder's College of Engineering and Applied Science placed well across multiple categories, including Water Resources (No. 14 overall) and Environmental Science & Engineering, both of which largely incorporate academics and research from the school's Environmental Engineering Program. The college's Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences department also earned high marks in the Aerospace (No. 27 overall) and Remote Sensing (No. 19 overall) categories.

The ShanghaiRanking Consultancy is an independent organization dedicating to research on higher education intelligence and consultation. The group also publishes a yearly Academic Ranking of World Universities, which ranked CU Boulder No. 43 overall among universities in 2017. The 2018 ARWU rankings will be released later this year.

The detailed methodology and full results of the 2018 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects may be viewed at