The Global Ranking of Academic Subjects — a widely used first world university ranking scale — included three MSU academic programs in the top ten and a total of six programs ranking in the top 25.
The data is compiled by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, a fully independent organization that works to research higher education intelligence and consultation. It has been the official publisher of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) since 2009, according to its website.
Programs appearing in the top ten include Education ranked second, Communications ranked fourth and Environmental Science and Engineering, a program partnered up by natural science and engineering college ranked sixth.
"It's a recognition of the high quality of the research that our faculty and doctoral students do and the impact that has on thinking about how to solve major problems in education around the world," dean of the MSU College of Education Robert Floden said.
ARWU uses six indicators to rank the universities worldwide, as mentioned on its website. The number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, number of highly cited researchers selected by Clarivate Analytics, number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science, number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index - Expanded (SCIE) and Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and per capita performance of a university.
"It shows that we are doing cutting-edge work in communication research," MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences Dean Prabhu David said. "This ranking gives us solid external validation about the quality of our research ... people really focus on these kinds of metrics and a high-ranking (which) in turn helps the students get better placements.”
David said the college is introducing four new undergraduate majors starting this fall. Much of this is driven by the insights the staff has gained through their research. The new courses introduced are Public Relations, Game Design, Information Sciences and Communication Leadership and Strategy.
When asked for a comment, Dean Ron Hendrick of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources replied via email.
"Our sustained presence on this list of the world's top agricultural science programs speaks to the quality of our faculty, staff and students, and the strong support we have from stakeholders and legislators," College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Ron Hendrick said in a statement. "We are able to leverage and aggregate that support in ways that keep us at the forefront of food, agricultural and environmental sciences, and grow our global impact in addressing pressing issues like food security, food safety and sustainability."
Other programs were highlighted in the top 50, including:
Sociology: No. 29
Hospitality and Tourism: No. 30
Ecology: No. 41
Political Science: No. 43
Biotechnology: No. 47