Which college Model UN teams are the best on the circuit? There are many definitions of success in Model UN, and awards are not the purpose of Model UN. Nevertheless, awards have existed in Model UN for many years and serve to recognize individual students for their accomplishments in leadership, research, public speaking, resolution-building, negotiation, and diplomacy. The college rankings are meant to recognize entire teams for their efforts in preparing more students to succeed at more conferences, thereby improving and expanding the Model UN activity.
The North America college Model United Nations community is informally divided into two circuits, named on this website the National Division and the World Division. The National Division teams tend to be led by faculty advisors, focus on the academic and educational aspects of the conference, and attend about 2-3 organization-hosted conferences per year that give out many school awards but de-emphasize competition by usually not formally giving out individual awards. The World Division teams tend to be led by college head delegates, focus on the competitive and social skill aspects of the conference, and attend about 5-6 college-hosted conferences per year (many of them crisis simulations) that give out many individual awards but only a few school awards. More details about both divisions can be found here.
Fall 2014 North America College Recognition (National Division)
Notable fall conferences in the National Division include NMUN DC, AMUN, and SRMUN, and NWMUN Seattle. There is little overlap among teams at these conferences until they get to NMUN NY, so it does not make sense to rank them. There is also only a slight overlap among the teams at these conferences with the teams attending World Division conferences, so it does not make sense to combine these two circuits, especially since their values differ significantly.
That said, two of the awards lists are publicly available and those teams should be recognized.
We took the liberty to re-sort the awards list by giving three points for an Outstanding Delegation, two points for a Distinguished Delegation, and 1 point for an Honorable Mention, and then summed up the total received by each school. This weighting method provides some differentiation among 30+ schools that received delegation awards. The top 15 schools including all Outstanding Delegation award winners are:
- 1st place: Irvine Valley College (3 Outstanding Delegations)
- 2nd place: Collin College (1 Outstanding Delegations)
- 2nd place: West Virginia University (1 Outstanding, 1 Distinguished, 1 Honorable)
- 2nd place: University of Colorado, Boulder (3 Distinguished)
- 5th place: University of Texas at Dallas (2 Distinguished)
- 6th place: California National Team (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: California State University, Northridge (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: California State University, San Marcos (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: Kedge Business School (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: Rock Valley College (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: Syracuse University – Maxwell School (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: University of California, Riverside (1 Outstanding)
- 6th place: Samford University (1 Distinguished, 1 Honorable)
- 6th place: Princeton University (1 Distinguished, 1 Honorable)
- 1st place: University of Chicago (3 Best Overall Delegations)
- 2nd place: Eastern Michigan University (1 Best Overall Delegation)
- 2nd place: Luther College (1 Best Overall Delegation)
- 2nd place: Baylor University (1 Best Overall Delegation)
- 1st place: California State University, San Bernardino (Outstanding Delegation)
- 2nd place: Northern Arizona University (Distinguished Delegation)
- 2nd place: California State University, Chico (Distinguished Delegation)
- 2nd place: University of Texas at Dallas (Distinguished Delegation)
We can add SRMUN results here if they become available.
Feedback on how to best recognize teams in this division — perhaps simply posting their awards list as is from every conference without attempting to combine them, tier them, or rank them for national recognition’s sake — would be appreciated.
Fall 2014 North America College Rankings (World Division)
The Weighted Score Methodology is the same as in previous years with minor modifications in weightings to reflect attendance this year. The article above also provides insight into the purpose and philosophy behind the rankings. Fall conferences were weighted in this order:
CMUNNY and SCSY are usually weighted about the same, but CMUNNY received a slightly higher weight this year as more ranked teams participated in the conference. BarMUN continues to steadily increase in terms of conference weighting as it has gotten more competitive every year. The fast rise of TrojanMUN split the West Coast circuit with SBIMUN, with TrojanMUN getting a slightly higher weighting as most of the ranked teams attended that conference instead of SBIMUN.
Best Delegate’s USG of North America East, Katherine Bonner, and Media Chair of North America University, Ashley Rhoades, led this project and collected the awards data. Thank you also to the Secretaries-General of each of the conferences for their support of this project.
The biggest storyline from the fall semester as far as rankings are concerned is that the usage of ratios for delegation awards was heavily in play. There was not a single conference where the top four teams in terms of weighted score (summation of 3 points for Best, 2 points for Outstanding, 1 point for Honorable, 0.5 points for Verbal Commendation) received the four delegation awards of Best Large, Outstanding Large, Best Small, and Outstanding Small in that order. Therefore, teams that value winning delegation awards should carefully optimize their team size. That said, the rankings uses aggregate score meaning it rewards teams for winning more awards at more conferences regardless of delegation size or winning percentage. It’s important to keep that differentiation in mind if a narrative does not make sense as a team that beat another team for a delegation award could have in reality received fewer individual awards than the team that it beat.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid controversy is to just win. And that’s what the #1 team did this fall semester. Without further ado, the top 25, top 50, and top 75 rankings for the fall semester are below.
Top 25: Best Delegations
1. University of Chicago
It’s pretty clear which is the best college Model UN team on the circuit so far: the undefeated University of Chicago. UChicago won its first Best Large Delegation award at CMUNNY where it also had the most gavel winners. The team won its second Best Large Delegation award at NCSC after a tight challenge from Harvard. And the team won its third and highest weighted Best Large Delegation award at UPMUNC by a wide margin in terms of weighted score. UChicago even crossed over to the other division and dominated by taking home three Best Delegation awards out of six available at in-city American MUN (AMUN). If UChicago can successfully defend its Best Large Delegation at HNMUN — no easy feat in any year — then it could lock up the top rank for the entire school year. UChicago will also host ChoMUN, which has grown to become the largest crisis-based college conference in the world, near the end of the spring semester.
2. Harvard University
This may sound strange in academic circles, but Harvard’s travel team is a rising superpower. The team has improved in the past few years to win a few delegation awards but not consistently. For example, Harvard did not win a delegation award last fall. The results are markedly different this fall — the team won three delegation awards and was beat out by ratio for a fourth. Harvard’s delegation awards include a Best Small Delegation at BarMUN, an Outstanding Large Delegation at CMUNNY behind only UChicago, an Outstanding Large Delegation at NCSC behind only UChicago again, and a third place finish at UPMUNC where they had the most gavels but were behind UChicago and Georgetown in terms of weighted score. Harvard will not get a real shot at chasing UChicago again this year as both teams play host to two of the most competitive conferences in the spring — HNMUN for Harvard — but the circuit has probably taken note that Harvard will be a serious contender for large delegation awards for the rest of this year.
3. Georgetown University
Georgetown had a good fall semester despite not having many trophies or plaques to show for it. The team started off strong with a Best Large Delegation award at BarMUN. It then placed fourth at CMUNNY behind the two large delegation award winners UChicago and Harvard as well as NYU. And finally, although Georgetown lost out on the Outstanding Large Delegation award at UPMUNC to Yale by ratio, it can take solace that it was second in terms of weighted score and that it edged out Harvard by a few extra verbal commendations. Therefore, Georgetown is actually 2-1 against Harvard, but Harvard has the higher rank because it won awards at more conferences since Georgetown hosted NCSC in the fall. Georgetown will get a chance to jump over Harvard when it attempts to continue its dominating run at McMUN.
4. New York University
Make way for a new top-five team: NYU. NYU is not only one of the best small delegations on the circuit but their weighted scores consistently put them near the large delegation award winners. NYU won the Outstanding Small Delegation award at SCSY, the Best Small Delegation award at NCSC, and barely missed out on another delegation award at cross-town CMUNNY where it finished behind only UChicago and ahead of larger delegations such as Harvard, Georgetown, and FIU. Lastly, it came in sixth overall at UPMUNC which put it ahead of the two small delegation winners and behind only the large delegations of UChicago, Harvard, Georgetown, FIU, and Yale. It is these type of performances going up against the established powerhouses that enabled NYU to vault into the top five. NYU will host NYUMUNC in the spring.
(Note: Narrative has been edited to add the delegation awards in lieu of their place rank at each conference)
5. Florida International University
FIU is proving its status as a “P5” type delegation with another strong showing in the fall semester. The team started off by winning the Best Small Delegation at CMUNNY. It then contended for a delegation award at NCSC where it finished tied for third with West Point behind the two large delegation award winners, UChicago and Harvard. Finally, it finished fourth at UPMUNC in terms of weighted score behind UChicago, Georgetown, and Harvard but ahead of Outstanding Large Delegation award winner Yale which won with a better ratio. Overall, the only teams FIU has not topped this year are UChicago, Harvard, and Georgetown, but that is elite company to be around. The team is 2-1 against higher ranked NYU, but NYU is ranked higher primarily by winning at more conferences. Regardless, FIU has a bigger challenge ahead — they will be defending their first-ever large delegation award at HNMUN in February.
6. United States Military Academy at West Point
West Point seems did better at the smaller conferences than at the larger conferences this fall semester. Their best result was at SCSY, where it won the Best Large Delegation award. West Point contended for a delegation award at NCSC, where it finished tied for third with FIU behind the two large delegation award winners, UChicago and Harvard. Finally, it put in a solid performance at UPMUNC. West Point will get many more chances to put on better performances at larger conferences in the spring semester starting with McMUN and HNMUN.
7. Columbia University
Columbia started the fall semester by hosting CMUNNY. Afterward, the team received its signature win when it took home the Outstanding Large Delegation award at SCSY behind West Point. It is the second year in a row where Columbia has fared very well at SCSY. The team did not do as well at NCSC but nevertheless got on the scoreboard before rebounding to put in a top ten performance at UPMUNC where it finished behind only the top five ranked teams plus Yale in terms of weighted score. Overall, the team continues to steadily rise up in the rankings.
8. Yale University
Yale’s performance at UPMUNC was similar to their performance last year, but Yale was much smarter at playing the ratio game this year and that enabled it to win the Outstanding Large Delegation award ahead of large delegations that had a higher weighted score such as Georgetown, Harvard, and FIU. Yale traditionally only attends the most prestigious conference of each semester, but it has started sending a smaller team to a second conference in the fall in recent years and this year that team received a few awards at CMUNNY. Yale also hosted SCSY in the fall semester. It will seek to recapture a large delegation award at HNMUN in the spring after missing out on one last year.
9. McGill University
This is by far the best team that McGill has ever fielded as it enters into the top ten for the first time. McGill won the Best Small Delegation award at SCSY where it received the most gavels and its weighted score was only behind large delegation award winners West Point and Columbia. The team also had a pair of top ten finishes at NCSC and CMUNNY to boost its resume and showed that it will consistently compete with the top teams this year. McGill will open the spring semester by hosting McMUN.
10. University of California, Berkeley
UC Berkeley is in the top ten for the first time as well by putting in a well-rounded fall semester performance. This included an Outstanding Small Delegation award at CMUNNY, a second place finish at TrojanMUN, a solid showing at UPMUNC, and awards at NCSC. Although Berkeley lost the head-to-head match-ups with West Coast rival Claremont McKenna at UPMUNC and TrojanMUN, the team was never far behind CMC each time in terms of weighted score and won more individual awards at more conferences to give it a higher aggregate score than CMC. Berkeley will host UCBMUN in the spring semester.
11. Claremont McKenna College
Claremont McKenna may not like being ranked lower than UC Berkeley despite two convincing head-to-head victories, but they are definitely a better and more efficient team on a per-conference basis; CMC only attended two conferences whereas Berkeley attend four conferences in order to achieve similar aggregate scores. That said, CMC made the most out of its two conferences. First, it cemented its reputation on the East Coast by winning the Best Small Delegation award at UPMUNC. Second, it continued its dominance on the West Coast by taking home half the gavels en route to the Best Delegation award at TrojanMUN.
12. University of Miami
Miami has an experienced team riding on the momentum of winning at HNMUN last year, and the team is once again one of the best small delegations on the circuit this year after winning the Outstanding Small Delegation award at UPMUNC behind Claremont McKenna. Miami also put in a top ten performance at SCSY. Now, the challenge will be defending their Best Small Delegation award at HNMUN in February.
13. Emory University
Emory started the fall semester strong, maintained solid performances throughout, and then ended the fall semester with some hardware. The team was among the top ten delegation at SCSY, won awards at NCSC and UPMUNC, and finally captured the Best Delegation award at DISCon in a southern matchup against UNC Chapel Hill and Tulane.
14. The George Washington University
GWU has a large delegation and that enabled it to field teams at the four largest conferences of the fall semester. The team finished in the top ten at both UPMUNC and CMUNNY. In addition, it got on the scoreboard at SCSY and at NCSC, the latter being a conference that they have used more for training their freshmen since it is close by.
15. Princeton University
Princeton knows how to make a grand entrance into the Top 25 rankings for the first time. Princeton owns a pair of top-ten finishes at CMUNNY and SCSY as well as a solid performance at UPMUNC. And in case anyone from either circuit doubted them, Princeton also won a Distinguished Delegation award and Honorable Mention Delegation award at NMUN DC. Princeton is the sixth Ivy League team to ever be ranked in the Top 25, but at least for this fall semester they can claim that they are in the top half of the Ivy League. Princeton will host PICSim in the spring.
16. University of Pennsylvania
UPenn had an uncharacteristic fall semester given its reputation as a perennial “P5” team. The team did have a positive start and has a trophy to show for the semester when it received the Outstanding Small Delegation at BarMUN. But UPenn barely got on the scoreboard at CMUNNY and it “only” put in a top ten finish at NCSC. Unfortunately for UPenn, it did not get a chance to bounce back from NCSC like UChicago did when it had a similarly uncharacteristic performance at NCSC 2012 because UPenn hosted the highest weighted conference of the fall, UPMUNC. UPenn will have to make its comeback at HNMUN.
17. Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt concentrated on attending the mid-sized conferences in the fall and was on the verge of winning a delegation award at two of the three conferences it attended. Its best performance came at SCSY, where it finished fourth in terms of weighted score behind three delegation award winners: West Point, Columbia, and McGill. The team also finished fifth at BarMUN behind all four delegation award winners and put in a top-ten performance at CMUNNY.
18. The College of William & Mary
William & Mary’s ranking is primarily derived from its strong performance at NCSC where it came in behind only top six teams UChicago, Harvard, FIU, West Point, and NYU. The team rounded its resume with awards at CMUNNY. William & Mary will host &MUN, one of the faster growing small conferences, in the spring.
19. Stanford University
Stanford has two accomplishments from the fall semester. First, it did an excellent job optimizing its small delegation for NCSC and was able to capture the Outstanding Small Delegation there based on ratio. Second, Stanford for better or worse missed the rest of the West Coast rivals by attending SBIMUN instead of TrojanMUN, but that gave an opportunity for the team to dominate the conference and come out as the top delegation there.
20. Rutgers University
Rutgers has been consistent throughout the fall semester and put in performances that would place it in or near the top ten at every conference it participated in. Rutgers won awards at UPMUNC, CMUNNY, and SCSY.
21. Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke enters into the Top 25 rankings for the first time after solid performances at several conferences. The team won awards at UPMUNC and CMUNNY, but it was the top-five finish at SCSY that really boosted up their resume and showed the potential of this team. In addition to competing at more conferences in the spring, Mount Holyoke will co-host FCMUN.
22. Florida State University
Florida State maintains a place in the Top 25 rankings thanks to a top-ten finish at NCSC as well as awards at CMUNNY. The team also hosted the RTC training conference and attended the FMUN novice conference in the fall semester.
23. Clark University
Clark put on a well-rounded performance in the fall semester. The team took home awards at UPMUNC, CMUNNY, SCSY, and BarMUN. Their strongest performance was at BarMUN. The team has historically been a top ten performer at HNMUN, so the circuit will learn how good Clark really is in February.
24. Michigan State University
Michigan State seems to do well at BarMUN in recent years, and it returned this year to take home the Outstanding Large Delegation award. That achievement put it ahead of Outstanding Small Delegation UPenn and behind only Best Large winner Georgetown and Best Small winner Harvard. Michigan State also won several awards at UPMUNC.
25. Cornell University
Cornell is back in the top 25 after winning several awards at UPMUNC and SCSY. The team has been hovering in and out of the top 25 these past few years, but they are off to a stronger start compared to last fall semester. Cornell also hosted CIAC in the fall semester.
Top 50: Outstanding Delegations (alphabetical order)
- American University
- Boston College
- Boston University
- Carleton University
- Case Western Reserve University
- Colgate University
- Duke University
- Emmanuel College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Middlebury College
- The Ohio State University
- State University of New York, Geneseo
- Tufts University
- Tulane University
- United States Naval Academy
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of California, San Diego
- University of Delaware
- University of Florida
- University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- University of Maryland
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
- University of Southern California
- University of Virginia
- Washington University in St. Louis
Top 75: Honorable Mention Delegations (alphabetical order)
Note that there are actually 78 teams due to multiple teams tying for 75th place.
- Bard College
- Bentley University
- Brown University
- California Lutheran University
- California State University, Long Beach
- California State University, Northridge
- College of the Canyons
- Diablo Valley College
- Elon University
- Franklin and Marshall College
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Indiana University – Bloomington
- Northern Arizona University
- Old Dominion University
- Orange Coast College
- Pomona College
- Roger Williams University
- Seton Hall University
- Soka University of America
- Swarthmore College
- Temple University
- The College of New Jersey
- University of California, Davis
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Pittsburgh
- Washington College
- Wellesley College
- Wheaton College
Congratulations to all the teams! Good luck with final exams, enjoy your winter break, and see you back on the circuit next semester!