This article is more than 7 years old

A ranking that’s out of this world

Time for a new university #ranking - this one is out of this world.
This article is more than 7 years old

Paul Greatrix is Registrar at The University of Nottingham, author and creator of Registrarism and a Contributing Editor of Wonkhe.

A new spaced out league table

U.S. News & World Report has produced a ranking of the colleges with the most astronaut alumni:

The women and men in space all got their start in Earth-bound colleges and universities—many by pursuing degrees in aerospace engineering. This month marked 47 years since the first moon landing. To celebrate, U.S. News & World Report looked at which colleges and universities have produced the most astronauts, in terms of bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

The top 12 are:astronaut-1082335_960_720

  • United States Naval Academy: 52 astronaut alumni
  • United States Air Force Academy: 36 astronaut alumni
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 34 astronaut alumni
  • Naval Postgraduate School: 32 astronaut alumni
  • Stanford University: 21 astronaut alumni
  • Purdue University-West Lafayette: 20 astronaut alumni
  • United States Military Academy: 18 astronaut alumni
  • University of Colorado-Boulder: 14 astronaut alumni
  • Georgia Institute of Technology: 14 astronaut alumni
  • University of Texas at Austin: 12 astronaut alumni
  • University of Washington: 12 astronaut alumni
  • Air Force Institute of Technology: 12 astronaut alumni


Britons in space

It seemed only sensible to do the equivalent for the UK. Wikipedia advises that seven astronauts have UK origins or dual nationality and five of these studied at UK higher education institutions.

Official NASA portrait of British astronaut Timothy Peake. Photo Date: August 28, 2013. Location: Building 8, Room 183 - Photo Studio. Photographer: Robert Markowitz
One of Portsmouth’s most famous alumni

If we award a point for each UK university degree held by those five astronauts then we get this UK league table:

1 Cambridge (3)
2= Birkbeck (1)
2= Edinburgh (1)
2= Leeds (1)
2= Portsmouth (1)
2= Sandhurst (1)
2= Sheffield (1)

Cambridge first again then.

2 responses to “A ranking that’s out of this world

    1. I think the US News list is all astronauts who studied at US universities. The UK list is only Brits who studied at UK universities (hence small numbers!)

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