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    After long climb in US News rankings, Northeastern drops

    Northeastern University fell five spots in US News and World Report’s latest college rankings.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File
    Northeastern University fell five spots in US News and World Report’s latest college rankings.

    Northeastern University, which in recent years has rocketed through the college rankings compiled by US News & World Report, saw its fortunes turn a bit as it fell five spots in the latest edition of the widely read list.

    Northeastern, which came in at No. 47 this year among national universities, was the only Massachusetts university in the top 50 to see its ranking decline since last year. The school ranked at No. 98 in 2007, according to its website, and had not declined in a ranking since. It was No. 42 last year.

    Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun said it is focused on setting itself apart through programs like the school’s cooperative-education program, which combines classroom study with real-world work experience. “We never work for any ranking,” he said. “Rankings are the by-product of the strategy, and we’re very happy.”


    Princeton secured the top spot among national universities. Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the only two local ones in the top 10, maintained No. 2 and No. 7 rankings from 2015. Tufts University, Boston College, and Brandeis University followed at No. 27, No. 30, and No. 34.

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    Boston University, which tied with Northeastern at No. 42 in 2015, rose to No. 41.

    Eleven in Massachusetts are in the 203 top universities. Two University of Massachusetts campuses made it, Amherst at 75 and Lowell at 156.

    The state was also well represented in the rankings of top liberal arts institutions: Williams College was No. 1, followed by Amherst College. Wellesley was tied for fourth.

    Among top US public universities, UMass Amherst moved up a spot to No. 29.


    In other sub-lists, Babson College remained No. 1 in entrepreneurship and 29th among best business programs in the country.

    The annual rankings are based on several measures, including assessment of excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance, and alumni giving.

    The rankings of national universities and national liberal arts colleges include input from academic peers and high school guidance counselors.

    How Massachusetts colleges and universities ranked
    National universities
    School 2016 ranking 2015 ranking
    Harvard University 2 2
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology 7 7
    Tufts University 27 27
    Boston College 30 31
    Brandeis University 34 35
    Boston University 41 42
    Northeastern University 47 42
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute 57 68
    Clark University 75 76
    University of Massachusetts Amherst 75 76
    University of Massachusetts Lowell 156 156

    National Liberal Arts Colleges
    School 2016 ranking 2015 ranking
    Williams College 1 1
    Amherst College 2 2
    Wellesley College 4 4
    Smith College 14 19
    College of the Holy Cross 32 34
    Mount Holyoke College 35 41
    Wheaton College 67 69
    Stonehill College 116 105
    Gordon College 158 139
    Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Not listed 165
    SOURCE: US News and World Report

    Laura Krantz of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Felicia Gans can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.
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