Tohoku University Ranking: Why is it important?

One of Japan’s national universities, Tohoku University is considered one of the best universities in the nation. It ranked 1st among all universities in Japan according to the Times Higher Education, Japan University Rankings 2020, which further attests to the university’s prestige.

This makes us wonder: How important is Tohoku University’s rankings?

Does Tohoku University ranking well on these websites guarantee the university’s actual value? What do these rankings take into account anyways?

The answer is simple: While the ranking itself is not as important, the reasons why the website ranked the university how it did is important. In other words, the significance is not so much in the numerical ranking but the thought process and analysis that went behind it. Instead of checking the overall national or global ranking, perhaps checking the university’s score in certain criteria is key in finding its true strengths and weaknesses.

What are these “criteria” that we refer to? This can vary, so checking each website’s scoring system is very important!

However, there is one possible pitfall of these ranking websites: since most are headquartered in the US or UK, universities with fluent English-speaking professors and students tend to be ranked higher than those that do not. For instance, one criterion of the Times Higher Education Rankings is “published works”, which must be translated or written in English.

With this in mind, we will cover Tohoku University Rankings from The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. Let’s see how Tohoku University is ranked as compared to other universities in Japan!

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR): Tohoku University Ranking 2020-2021

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)
Tohoku University Ranking

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education without relying on surveys and university data submissions. This is to ensure that there are no biased results towards universities with greater academic influence when analyzing the genuine quality of each university!

CWUR uses seven objectives and indicators to rank the world’s universities. Let’s see how it judges Tohoku University Ranking!

1) Tohoku University Ranking in Quality of Education

Measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have won major academic distinctions relative to the university’s size (25%)CWUR

Out of the 2000 universities ranked worldwide by CWUR in 2020-2021, Tohoku University ranked 196th in Quality of Education. Since “major academic distinctions” most likely refers to English-based awards and recognitions, this may take into account the exquisite international support system incorporated into Tohoku University’s curriculum. There are many English-based courses that you can take, as well as Japanese language classes that are designed to help foreign exchange students.

2) Tohoku University Ranking in Alumni Employment

Measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have held top executive positions at the world’s largest companies relative to the university’s size (25%)CWUR

Tohoku University ranked 154th in Alumni Employment. We must note, however, that “the world’s largest companies” is not specifically defined. What kind of company does the CMUR consider “large”? Does it consider an entrepreneur of a small start-up company a successful alum or alumna? These are some cautions to keep in mind when observing these rankings. If your dream is to work in a small NPO or run a start-up company, then this category may not be so important for you!

3) Tohoku University Ranking in Quality of Faculty

Measured by the number of faculty members who have won major academic distinctions (10%)CWUR

Tohoku University ranked 137th in Quality of Faculty. This category is perhaps one of the most important since these faculty members include professors who will be teaching your classes! However, it is once again worth noting that “major academic distinctions” most likely refers to English-based awards. Thus, the English proficiency of the professors may also contribute to the overall number of “academic distinctions”. If you are planning to take classes in Japanese, the professors’ native tongue, then this category may not be too important for you. Perhaps contacting current students currently enrolled in your department of interest would be another option to check the quality of faculty members!

4) Tohoku University Ranking in Research Performance

i) Research Output, measured by the total number of research papers (10%)
ii) High-Quality Publications, measured by the number of research papers appearing in top-tier journals (10%)
iii) Influence, measured by the number of research papers appearing in highly influential journals (10%)
iv) Citations, measured by the number of highly-cited research papers (10%)

Tohoku University ranked 146th in Research Performance. The CWUR takes the above-mentioned four criteria into consideration when ranking universities for this category. This section is especially important if you are planning to attend Tohoku University for graduate and post-graduate studies. Again, the terms “highly influential journals” and ” top-tier journals” are not defined. The language barrier of English-focused academic papers may come into play when ranking universities in Japan and other non-English speaking countries.

Researching which academic field the university excels in is also important. Tohoku University ranks highly in the subject of physics and astrology. In this field, it ranked 46th globally in QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021!

Tohoku University Ranking: Overview

Tohoku University
Tohoku University photo by Anubrata Nath

We hope this analysis of the Tohoku University Rankings by CWUR helped deepen your understanding of this university. The various cautions that we pointed out when analyzing these rankings are something that you can use when looking at other rankings in the future!

Interested to see how other Japanese universities rank in the world? Check out the articles below for more insights and analysis of each university!

For more information on Tohoku University, you can check out this article: Tohoku University: Tuition, Living Expenses, and Scholarships!

Best of luck with your research! And see you in another article at SchooLynk Media!