Two of the best universities in the world are in the Bay Area and only 40 miles apart, according to a new set of rankings.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University put Stanford University at No. 2 and UC Berkeley at No. 3, bumping the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to a close fourth.

Harvard, as usual, was at the top.

Cal was the top-ranked public university on the list -- a second reason for students to tout their Golden Bear affiliation.

"There is a high standard and expectation that folks from all over the world have for Cal, and it's definitely something to be proud of," said Donna-Jo Pepito, president of UC Berkeley's student government. "Students have been really excited."

Vistors enter through Sather Gate on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at Cal Day, an annual open house event on the UC Berkeley campus. (Lane Hartwell/Staff)
Vistors enter through Sather Gate on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at Cal Day, an annual open house event on the UC Berkeley campus. (Lane Hartwell/Staff) (LANE HARTWELL)

Stanford, however, appears to be containing its excitement. The news was not posted on its website, and a university spokesman said the campus has a practice of not commenting on rankings.

Stanford instead encourages prospective students "to research for themselves what campuses might be the best fit for their educational objectives," said the spokesman, Brad Hayward.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has produced the worldwide ratings each year since 2003, weighing the quality and prestige of faculty and alumni, as well as the number of articles and citations in high-profile journals.

It includes, for example, the number of professors -- and alumni -- who become Fields medalists and Nobel laureates.

Harvard was far ahead of the rest, with a perfect score of 100. Stanford, Berkeley and MIT all had scores between 71.1 and 72.6. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena was ranked sixth, behind the University of Cambridge in England.

Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.

FILE--Students at UC Berkeley make their way to classes through Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus in Berkeley Calif., on Thursday April 5, 2007.
FILE--Students at UC Berkeley make their way to classes through Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus in Berkeley Calif., on Thursday April 5, 2007. (Herman Bustamante Jr./Contra Costa Times)
NEW RANKING OF Top 10 colleges worldwide
1. Harvard University
2. Stanford University
3. UC Berkeley
4. MIT
5. University of Cambridge
6. Cal Tech
7. Princeton University
8. Columbia University
9. University of Chicago
10. University of Oxford

Source: Shanghai Jiao Tong University