Are these really the top universities for linguistics?
That’s what the QS World University Rankings by Subject says. I’ve been skeptical of lists like this as I watched high-school ratings over two decades from publications like Boston Magazine and U.S. News, paying special attention to the schools I knew best, such as Weston High School and Boston University Academy. The issue is what statisticians call validity: no matter how objective the criteria, are they really measuring what they claim to be measuring? It all, of course, depends on the chosen algorithm. Often the results are so counterintuitive that one doubts its validity. In this case, you can read the algorithm for yourself and make your own decision. For my part, I suggest that if you’re interested in studying linguistics or related subjects at the undergraduate or graduate level, you should take a serious look at the top five in the list: MIT, U Mass Amherst, Maryland, Edinburgh, and Harvard. (Local Massachusetts snobs will be surprised at #2 on the list, but I’m not. And Stanford snobs will be disappointed that Cal is ahead of them, but I’m not. Linguistics at U Mass Amherst and Cal Berkeley has been top-notch for decades.)