College Model UN Rankings 2011-2012: Purpose, Philosophy, and Methodology

by KFC on December 9, 2011

Which college Model UN teams are the best in the world? We saw many benefits to creating a College Model UN Rankings system. Here’s what you need to know about our purpose, our philosophy, and changes made to the methodology before diving into the rankings.


We want top teams to be recognized for their accomplishments in a centralized location and we want other teams to aspire to become a top team. We believe sharing this information will be interesting and valuable to the community and that it will foster discussion among college Model UN leaders on bigger issues that affect the activity such as the lack of a standardized awards criteria and transparency, creating a competitive versus an educational experience, and the sharing of best training methods.

We do not believe that awards are the purpose of Model UN — rather, awards are a way to recognize Model UN teams for their hard work and leadership in committee. Awards should support the greater purpose of Model UN, which is to be an educational experience that helps today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders, discover their passions, and change the world.


It is important to understand that rankings inherently reflect the publisher’s philosophy and values. Best Delegate’s mission is to grow the Model UN activity in terms of both quality and size. Therefore, we value both the ability to win and the ability to win at more conferences – we believe the best teams are those that can perform consistently well across many conferences and especially so at the most competitive conferences.

Our rankings aim to reward success for winning at more conferences and does not penalize teams for losing so-called “head-to-head matchups” at a single conference. It will reward teams for bringing larger delegations to conferences as it uses only total weighted score of awards won instead of an awards-to-delegate ratio. It will also rank teams that may not have won a delegation award but won more consistently over teams that just gained publicity from winning a small delegation award at a small conference. Finally, our improved methodology will also reward teams that dominated at a certain conference by winning a higher proportion of the total weighted points available.


The college circuit is divided into two divisions because we noticed two different circuits of conferences with very little overlap in participating colleges and with very different philosophies in running a conference. The two divisions are named the World Division and the National Division.

World Division: These are colleges based in the United States and Canada that primarily compete at college-hosted conferences such as Harvard National HNMUN, U. Penn UPMUNC, McGill McMUN, U.Chicago ChoMUN, Georgetown NCSC, etc. The teams tend to be student-run and see Model UN as an academic competition. The rankings apply to this circuit.

National Division: These are colleges that participate primarily in organization-hosted conferences and may treat the National MUN conference in New York (NMUN-NY) as the premier conference on their circuit. The teams tend to be led by a faculty advisor and see Model UN as more of an educational simulation. Rankings may not be appropriate for this circuit.

It is important to note which Division we are referring to when we release the rankings. We want to make it clear that the rankings capture the results of a specific division rather than the entire collegiate Model UN landscape.

Methodology (World Division only)

The rankings for this division are determined by the sum of Weighted Scores won at each World Division conference in North America. Greater weighting is given to awards won at the more competitive conferences and to higher tiers of individual awards won. Awards won at each conference are then converted into points and added up for the final score. Teams did not earn points for conferences they hosted, and we did not cap the number of conferences a team could include for their results. Conferences that did not submit awards data are excluded.

Weighted Score: The formula for Weighted Score for each conference is (((Weighted Awards Points / Total Weighted Points) + Delegation Award Points) x Conference Weighting). The Weighted Scores are then added to achieve the total score that is used for the rankings.

  • Weighted Awards Points: the number of Best Delegate, Outstanding, and Honorable Mention awards won by a team. Those numbers are multiplied by 3 points for Best Delegate, 2 for Outstanding, and 1 for Honorable Mention. For example, a team that won two of each award would receive (2×3)+(2×2)+(2×1) = 12 weighted awards points.
  • Total Weighted Points: the number of all points available at a conference when all Best Delegate awards are multiplied by 3, all Outstandings are multiplied by 2, and all Honorable Mentions are multiplied by 1. For example, if a conference hosted 10 committees and gave out one of each award per committee, there would be (10×3) + (10×2) + (10×1) = 60 weighted points available.
  • Delegation Award Points: additional points earned by teams for winning a delegation award. We valued delegation awards in this order: Best Large, Outstanding Large, Best Small, and Outstanding Small. The points are derived as a standardized percentage of the Conference Weighting.
  • Conference Weighting: every conference is assigned a multiplier based on our internal algorithm that takes into account total size of the conference, the delegate-to-committee ratio, number of top 50 teams present, and the distribution of awards among award-winning teams. This is meant to primarily capture competitiveness but also the conference’s influence on the circuit.

We deemed conferences to be part of the World Division based on the type of teams that attended, the type of committees that were simulated, and the awards philosophy and general culture of that conference. The following conferences are included in the World Division rankings and thus are assigned a conference weighting approximately in the order below (in alphabetical order of the conference acronym):


  • Harvard HNMUN
  • U.Penn UPMUNC
  • McGill McMUN


  • U. Chicago ChoMUN
  • Georgetown NCSC
  • Columbia CMUNNY, UCLA LAMUN, UCSB SBIMUN, Yale SCSY, Berkeley UCBMUN, Virginia VICS; Harvard WorldMUN*


  • Boston University BarMUN, Brown BUCS, Cornell CIAC, Duke DISCon, Five College FCMUN, NYU NYUMUNC, Princeton PICSim, Penn State PUNC, North Carolina UNCMUNC, West Point WPSC

*Note on Harvard WorldMUN: After review, we determined that Harvard WorldMUN is mostly “out-of-circuit” because it is unlike all the other conferences on this circuit. Its focus is not competition, it only gives one tier of awards, and the attendance is usually only about 20% North American or less. WorldMUN would disproportionately affect the North American rankings since few teams from there attend. However, we still want to recognize teams that attended and encourage teams to attend, and it is hosted by an in-circuit team. Therefore, our compromise was to make it worth bonus points — we converted its final weighting to be equivalent to a percentage of its original weighting to more closely reflect its influence on the North American circuit.

Teams that participated at these conferences earned points for these conferences and are included in the rankings. It is important to note that some teams participate in World Division conferences as well as other conferences in the National Division or abroad and their ranking may not reflect the actual quality of the program as their achievements from the other conferences are not reflected in the World Division rankings.

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