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What is Ranking?

University rankings are rankings of institutions in higher education which have been ranked on the basis of various combinations of various factors.

What are World University Rankings?

World university rankings provide annually updated listings of the top universities in the world, compiled using data from trusted sources. There are a number of different world university rankings available, of which the best-known and most-used include the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) – commonly known as the Shanghai Ranking. There are also specialized world university rankings, including some dedicated to specific subjects, and others dedicated to a particular area of performance, such as the Webometrics ranking, which assesses universities’ online presence and impact.

How to Measure Ranking?

Various rankings consider combinations of measures of funding and endowment, research excellence and/or influence, specialization expertise, admissions, student options, award numbers, internationalization, graduate employment, industrial linkage, historical reputation and other criteria. Various rankings mostly evaluating on institutional output by research. Some rankings evaluate institutions within a single country, while others assess institutions worldwide

Types of Ranking
  1. The QS World University Rankings are a ranking of the world’s top universities produced by Quacquarelli Symonds published annually since 2004. According to Alexa data, they are the world’s most-viewed global university rankings
  2. Times Higher Education World University Rankings: the THE World University Rankings, is the definitive list of the top universities globally, including more than 1,250 institutions across 86 countries in 2019. It is the only global university league table to judge research-intensive universities across each one of their core missions: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation), international outlook (staff, students and research); citations (research influence); industry income (knowledge transfer). It uses 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, and all data is independently audited by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), making the THE World University Rankings the only global university rankings to be subjected to full, independent scrutiny of this nature.
  3. News Best Global Universities rankings were produced to provide insight into how universities compare globally. The Best Global Universities rankings – which focus specifically on schools’ academic research and reputation overall. U.S. News using the 13 indicators and weights that chose to measure global research performance.
  4. The UI Green Metric World University Ranking – an international ranking system of universities from around the world based on their environmental performance. UI Green Metric World University Ranking measure the university’s effort to keep the environment green and sustainable, and ranking purpose and intended groups.
  5. RUR World University Rankings evaluate performance of higher education institutions by 20 indicators grouped into 4 key areas of university activity: Teaching, Research, International Diversity, Financial Sustainability.
When are the World University Rankings Released?

The QS World University Rankings are released annually in June, and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings are released annually in September. Both QS and THE also release additional rankings, dedicated to particular subjects and regions, throughout the year. The Shanghai Ranking (ARWU) is released slightly earlier.

How Many Universities are Ranked?

The 2020 edition of the QS World University Rankings features 1,000 universities around the world. Times Higher Education ranks 1,250 institutions, while the Shanghai Ranking, or ARWU, ranks the top 500. Each of the ranking organizations collects data on a much greater number of universities – for instance, QS currently assesses around 4,700 institutions, and ARWU over 1,200 – but only publishes the ranking positions of those at the top of the range.

How are Universities Assessed?

This varies depending on the ranking – and it’s advisable to always consult the methodology when considering the results. The QS World University Rankings assesses universities using six performance indicators, which each carry a different weighting when calculating overall scores. These indicators are: academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), student-to-faculty ratio (20%), research citations per faculty member (20%), proportion of international faculty (5%) and proportion of international students (5%). The Times Higher Education ranking uses a total of 13 performance indicators, including some, but not all of the same indicators used by QS, and applies slightly different weightings when calculating the final scores. The ARWU ranking has a stronger focus on research performance, and also considers factors such as the number of staff and alumni who have received Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals.

What Makes a University Eligible to be Considered?

To be eligible for inclusion in the QS World University Rankings, a university must teach at multiple study levels (i.e. both undergraduate and postgraduate), and conduct work in at least two of five possible faculty areas (arts and humanities; engineering and technology; social sciences and management; natural sciences; life sciences and medicine).

Similar criteria apply for the Times Higher Education ranking: institutions are excluded if they do not teach at undergraduate level, or if their research output falls below a certain threshold. ARWU considers all universities with Nobel laureates, Fields Medal recipients, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature or Science, or a significant number of papers indexed in the Science Citation Index or Social Science Citation Index.