New 2014/15 QS World University Rankings

The latest QS world league table is out

Full details of the rankings can be found at the QS website. A summary of the world top 10 follows where we find MIT retaining the top spot for a third consecutive year but really not a lot to grab the headlines here:

Global top ten

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Last year: 1)

2= University of Cambridge (3)

2= Imperial College London (5)

4 Harvard University (2)

5= University of Oxford (6)

5 = University College London (4)

7 Stanford University (7)

8 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (10=)

9 Princeton University (10=)

10  Yale University (8)

Not a huge change then with Chicago the only mover out of the top 10. However, four out of the top six universities are from the UK which must be something of a surprise.

 

Top UK universities

Again, little movement for the UK universities within the top 100 although there is one new entry with QMUL becoming the 19th UK university to make it into the top 100.

2= University of Cambridge (3)

2= Imperial College London (5)

5= University of Oxford (6)

5= UCL (4)

16  King’s College London (19=)

17= University of Edinburgh (17=)

29 University of Bristol (30)

30 The University of Manchester (33)

55 University of Glasgow (51)

61 The University of Warwick (64)

64 University of Birmingham (62)

69 The University of Sheffield (71=)

71 LSE (68)

77 The University of Nottingham (75=)

88 University of St Andrews (83)

92 Durham University (90)

94 University of Southampton (86=)

97 University of Leeds (97=)

98 Queen Mary University of London (115)

So, interesting but perhaps helpfully unexciting in terms of radical change.

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Top new university ranking: 50 under 50 degrees north

An exciting new league table!

Both QS and THE have, rather unimaginatively, produced rankings of universities under 50 years old. More exciting alternative rankings here have offered the highly creative 20 over 500 and 30 under six but this new not at all arbitrary league table draws not on age but on the inescapable facts of geography to sort the best from the rest. It’s 50 under 50 degrees north!

The new latitude-led league table has been slammed as outrageous by northern Europeans in particular and described by UK universities as a stitch up by the US and central and southern Europeans. Those south of the equator have been similarly appalled.

“We’re all used to US dominance but this is ridiculous” said an Australian Vice-Chancellor who, remarkably, did not wish to be named.

There are some extraordinary results and ETH is the only non North American university in Top 20. There is also a reasonable showing from Eastern institutions which are not too far north. In a desperate attempt to appear in the table several UK universities claimed to have campuses on Jersey but these turned out on investigation by our researchers to be the offices of tax advisors.

Details of the scoring methodology are restricted to prevent manipulation so there are no grounds to complain of unfairness:

1 Harvard University
2 California Institute of Technology
3 Stanford University
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5 Princeton University
6 Yale University
7 University of California, Berkeley
8 University of Chicago
9 ETH Zürich
10 Columbia University
11 University of Pennsylvania
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Johns Hopkins University
14 Cornell University
15 University of Michigan
16 Northwestern University
17 University of Toronto
18 Carnegie Mellon University
19 Duke University
20 Georgia Institute of Technology

Robinson_projection_SW
21 University of Tokyo
22 University of Washington
23 University of British Columbia
24 University of Wisconsin-Madison
25 University of Texas at Austin
26 University of Hong Kong
27 National University of Singapore
28 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
29 McGill University
30 University of California, Santa Barbara
31 University of Minnesota
32 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
33 University of California, San Diego
34 New York University
35 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
36 University of California, Davis
37 Peking University
38 Washington University in St Louis
39 Tsinghua University
40 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
41 Brown University
42 Ohio State University
43 Kyoto University
44 Boston University
45 Seoul National University
46 École Normale Supérieure
47 Pennsylvania State University
48 École Polytechnique
49 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
50 University of Geneva

All pretty clear then.

[picture: Wikimedia Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Robinson_projection_SW.jpg#file ]

New 2013/14 QS World University Rankings

Latest QS world league table is out

Full details of the rankings can be found at the QS website. A summary of the world top 10 follows where we find MIT retaining the top spot for a second year and four UK universities remain in the top 10:

Global top ten

2013

2012

Institution Country

  1

  1

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT)  USA

  2

  3

HARVARD UNIVERSITY  USA

  3

  2

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE  UK

  4

  4

UCL (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON)  UK

  5

  6

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON  UK

  6

  5

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD  UK

  7

  15

STANFORD UNIVERSITY  USA

  8

  7

YALE UNIVERSITY  USA

  9

  8

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO  USA

  10=

  10

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CALTECH)  USA

  10=

  9

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY  USA

 

The UK also has 18 universities in the top 100:

Top UK universities

2 University of Cambridge GB
4 UCL (University College London) GB
6 Imperial College London GB
5 University of Oxford GB
17=  21 University of Edinburgh GB
19=  26 King’s College London (KCL) GB
30  28 University of Bristol GB
33  32 The University of Manchester GB
51  54 University of Glasgow GB
62  77 University of Birmingham GB
64  58 The University of Warwick GB
68  69 London School of Economics and Political Science GB
71=  66 The University of Sheffield GB
75=  72 The University of Nottingham GB
83 93 University of St Andrews GB
86=  73 University of Southampton GB
90  92 Durham University GB
97=   94 University of Leeds GB

So no huge movements here but some slight upward shifts for a few UK universities within the top 100.

20 over 500

Youth isn’t everything

Last year it was Times Higher Education but this year it is the turn of QS to produce a ranking of newer universities, presumably on the basis that somehow they suffer in the rankings for not having done enough stuff over their limited histories. Unfortunately, this rather discriminates against older institutions which are also often disadvantaged in the rankings for being, well, old.

So, it’s time to right this wrong by producing the all new top 20 of universities over 500 years old. Let’s hear it for the ancients!

And the good news is that European universities once again dominate and Italy in particular does extremely well. It is also another good year for the University of Bologna, the grandaddy of them all, which is top of the heap for a record-breaking 925th year. Let’s look at the full top 20:

  1. University of Bologna
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of Salamanca
  5. University of Padua
  6. University of Naples
  7. University of Valladolid
  8. University of Murcia
  9. University of Montpelier
  10. University of Macerata
  11. University of Coimbra
  12. University of Alacala
  13. La Sapienza, University of Rome
  14. University of Perugia
  15. University of Florence
  16. University of Camerino
  17. University of Pisa
  18. Charles University of Prague
  19. University of Pavia
  20. Jagiellonian University

Not a huge amount to report here with the top 20 remaining entirely static (as it has done indeed since Poland’s Jagiellonian University opened back in 1364).

Sadly there’s still no place in the top 20 for the august institutions of Heidelberg, Vienna and Turin. And Scotland’s ancients, St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen, also miss out yet again.

More on Latin American rankings

More details on Latin America from the QS rankings

A post from some time ago noted the new found enthusiasm in Latin America for rankings. This has been borne out by the publication in 2011 and now 2012 of a specific Latin american league table by QS.

latin-america
The introduction to the table notes that

QS University Rankings: Latin America was published for the first time in 2011, this generated a huge amount of interest, both within the region and further afield.

This is perhaps unsurprising: Latin America is a hugely dynamic, fast-growing continent, that has recently identified higher education as key to its development, yet in global rankings it has mostly been conspicuous by its absence.

As in 2011, the rankings adopt the principles of the QS World University Rankings, augmented with measures of particular regional application.

Academic and employer reputation surveys remain the backbone of our approach, in combination with data on research productivity and citations, student/faculty ratio, the proportion of staff with a PhD, and web presence.

It is an exciting period for Latin American universities, with the growth in scientific research, increased for higher education, increased student mobility and the rise of private universities all accelerating the pace of change.

This year’s rankings help further our understanding of the comparative performance of universities throughout the region.

They also shine a light on pockets of development that have previously been beyond the scope of international rankings.

So the top 20 from QS is as set out below (full details can be found here). And whilst the top institution here, the Universidade de São Paulo, is ranked at 139 in the world in the latest QS table the general trend seems to be an upward one.

QSlogo

1 Universidade de São Paulo – Brazil

2 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile – Chile

3 Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) – Brazil

4 Universidad de Chile – Chile

5 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) – Mexico

6 Universidad de los Andes – Colombia

7 Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) – Mexico

8 Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

9 Universidad de Concepción – Chile

10 Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) – Chile

11 Universidad de Buenos Aires – Argentina

12 Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Colombia

13 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – Brazil

14 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS) – Brazil

15 Universidade Federal de São Paulo – Brazil

16 Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) – Mexico

17 Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP) – Brazil

18 Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

19 Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) – Mexico

20 Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires – UCA – Argentina

Giving league tables a bad name

This kind of thing really shouldn’t be given any airtime

Yes, sad to say it is the ‘University Drinking League’. Fortunately it does not deserve to be taken at all seriously given that it is simply self-reported consumption by students.

Being the responsible folks that we are we would never stoop to making lazy generalisations, so you can decide whether or not you’re surprised to find Queen’s University Belfast sitting top of the pile – with each student drinking a headache-inducing 27.3 units per week.

The uni in second place – Heriot-Watt – also came second in this year’s University Sex League, suggesting that its students have found more than a couple of ways to keep out the cold during the harsh Scottish winter.

The top three is rounded off with Bath Spa (who came in 4th place in the 2011 drinking league), whilst at the other end of the table we find Wolverhampton, Glasgow and Robert Gorden Uni propping things up – with the latter having an average of just 11 units per student per week.

Average units drunk per student per week
1 Queen’s University Belfast 27.3
2 Heriot-Watt University 26.3
3 Bath Spa University 26.3
4 University of Hull 26.1
5 Sheffield Hallam University 24.5
6 University of Strathclyde 24.3
7 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 23.9
8 Nottingham Trent University 23.8
9 University College London 23.1
10 University of Manchester 22.7
11 Swansea University 22.7
12 University of Aberdeen 22.5
13 University of Leeds 22.3
14 University of Edinburgh 22.1
15 Manchester Metropolitan University 21.6
16 Bangor University 21.5
17 University of Liverpool 20.8
18 University of Glamorgan 20.7
19 University of Plymouth 20.6
20 University of York 20.5

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, from the same source we have the ‘University Sex League 2012 where self-reporting is likely to be even less reliable than with alcohol consumption:

After the University of Glamorgan topped the list last year, the Welsh domination of the bedroom continues as Bangor University find themselves in pole position with 8.31 sexual partners per student. Llongyfarchiadau! (That’s Welsh for ‘congrats’, by the way.)

The former table-toppers have slipped to 15th, whilst their neighbours Aberystwyth Uni find themselves in the top five for the second consecutive year.

At the other end of the spectrum it would seem that The Only Way is No-Sex, with The University of Essex propping up the rest of the table with just 1.15 sexual partners per student.

 

 

Rank University Average number of sexual partners since starting uni*
1 Bangor University 8.31
2 Heriot-Watt University 5.8
3 University of Plymouth 5.75
4 Liverpool John Moores University 5.48
5 Aberystwyth University 5.34
6 Manchester Metropolitan University 5.31
7 Brunel University 5.22
8 Aston University 5.19
9 Sheffield Hallam University 4.89
10 Teesside University 4.86
11 University of Wolverhampton 4.86
12 Swansea University 4.75
13 Newcastle University 4.72
14 Edge Hill University 4.7
15 University of Glamorgan 4.67
16 University of Huddersfield 4.66
17 University of Cambridge 4.62
18 University of Exeter 4.59
19 University of Portsmouth 4.53
20 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 4.52

No doubt the Guardian, Times, THE and QS will be reconsidering their criteria with some urgency…

African Universities and the Global Rankings

Should African universities be concerned with the global league tables?

Inside Higher Ed has a really good piece on African universities and the impact of the international rankings. Essentially the challenge for Africa is that the global league tables use metrics which simply don’t favour the continent’s institutions:

Any observer of higher education in Africa would immediately realize that African universities, with the exception of a handful, stand no chance of appearing under the THE Rankings; or for that matter under other global university rankings such that the Shanghai Jiao Tong Ranking or the QS World University Rankings, which equally use criteria with a heavy bias on research, publications in international refereed journals and citations. African universities have to cope with huge student enrolment with limited financial and physical resources. They are short of academic staff, a large proportion of whom do not have a PhD. Not surprisingly, their research output and performance in postgraduate education are poor. It is clear that in the rankings race, they are playing on a non-level field.

But the more pertinent question is: should African universities attempt to be globally ranked? I believe not. It would be not only a waste of resources but also inappropriate. The priority for African universities at the moment should be to provide the skilled manpower required for their country’s development; to undertake research to solve the myriad problems facing Africa and to communicate their findings to the stakeholders in the most appropriate form, not necessarily through publications in international journals; and to engage with their community to meet the Millennium Development Goals and the Education For All targets. These do not fit the criteria for global rankings. They do, however, need assistance to improve the quality of their teaching provision, their research output and their service to the community. Their aim, and that of their government, should be that they be quality assured, not globally ranked.

Notwithstanding the recent success in the THE rankings of the University of Cape Town’s Medical Faculty (as reported in Business Day Live), this advice seems to me to be eminently sensible. Rather than chasing the rankings, where they will always be at a disadvantage, African universities should focus on delivering their regional and national missions in teaching, research and knowledge transfer. Improvements will happen over time and, hopefully, with support from universities in other parts of the world which will ultimately mean that institutions in Africa will be able to compete on the global stage. But chasing the rankings is not the way to go.

The Three World University League Tables of 2012/13

World University League Tables 2012/13

Following the publication of the THE world university rankings, we can put the three world league tables together, and in particular the UK placings, in a handy reference guide. They all offer their own unique take on world university placings.


Here they all are:


The Times Higher World University Rankings, including UK results.

QS World Rankings 2012 also with UK results.

Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings and UK placings too.

…all your world league table needs in one handy location.

One fascinating quirk of the world versus UK tables which demonstrates why caution is needed at all times when dealing with such data is that the University of Edinburgh appears higher in the world rankings in both the QS and Times Higher tables than it does in the recent domestic Sunday Times ranking (where it is 39th). Different indicators being used but it really does raise questions about the Sunday Times methodology.

2012/13 QS World University Rankings

Latest QS world league table is out

A preview of the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings from John O’Leary, makes clear the impact that the league tables have. Not just on institutions but also on governments:

The rankings, which will be published on September 11, are intended primarily to guide international students, their parents and advisors in their choice of university. This year, there will be 700 institutions to compare on six different measures, with additional faculty-specific rankings to illustrate particular strengths.

But QS rankings are also used by governments from Denmark and Germany to Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Japan to evaluate the standing of their own and other countries’ universities. Positions are used in funding allocations, promotional material and even immigration decisions.

The German and Japanese governments have both used QS ranking positions as one of their performance measures in research budgeting. Thailand is one of a growing number of countries to use the rankings to shortlist the universities chosen for additional funding to help them compete internationally.

In the UK, the Browne Report on student fees used QS rankings to illustrate the high standing of the country’s universities. A Government-funded advertising campaign coinciding with the Olympic Games in London to promote the UK as a tourist or business destination also quoted the rankings.

Full details of the rankings can be found at the QS website. A summary of the world top 10 follows where we find a swap at the top as MIT replaces Cambridge at No 1 and four UK universities remain in the top 10:

Global top ten

2012 2011 Institution
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
1 University of Cambridge
2 Harvard University
7 UCL (University College London)
5 University of Oxford
6 Imperial College London
4 Yale University
8 University of Chicago
13 Princeton University
10  12 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

 

The UK also has 18 universities in the top 100:

Top UK universities

1 University of Cambridge GB
7 UCL (University College London) GB
5 University of Oxford GB
6 Imperial College London GB
21  20 University of Edinburgh GB
26  27 King’s College London (KCL) GB
28  30 University of Bristol GB
32  29 The University of Manchester GB
54  59 University of Glasgow GB
58  50 The University of Warwick GB
66  72 The University of Sheffield GB
69  64 London School of Economics and Political Science GB
72  74 The University of Nottingham GB
73  75 University of Southampton GB
77  67 University of Birmingham GB
92  95 Durham University GB
93  97 University of St Andrews GB
94   93 University of Leeds GB

 

QS World subject ranking – UK universities

New QS world rankings by subject

The Guardian has a summary of UK universities’ performance in the latest QS subject rankings and it looks like Oxford comes out top

Institution name
Highest rank
Subject
University of Oxford 1 Geography
History
Philosophy
University of Cambridge 1 English Language and Literature
London Business School 3 Accountancy and Finance
London School of Economics 3 Politics and International Studies
Imperial College London 6 Pharmacy and Pharmacology
University of Edinburgh 7 Linguistics
University of Manchester 11 Geography
Durham University 12 Geography
University College London 12 Psychology
King’s College London 16 Pharmacy and Pharmacology
University of St Andrews 16 Philosophy
Institute of Education 17 Education
University of Nottingham 21= Pharmacy and Pharmacology
University of Warwick 21 English Language and Literature
University of Bristol 22 Geography
Lancaster University 24= Environmental Science
University of York 27 English Language and Literature

On the face of it this looks like a fairly creditable performance in a limited range of subjects. The full subject ranks are available here.

European Union university ranking plan: the sector holds its breath

Latest news on the most eagerly awaited league table

A post just over a year ago noted the development of a new EU ranking method. Now University World News carries a piece about the European Union defying criticism of its university ranking plan. Speaking at a rankings event in April Jordi Curell, director of lifelong learning, higher education and international affairs, did accept that not everyone was wildly enthisastic about the U-Multirank non-league table. But he did attempt to defend the idea:

“Rankings which are carefully thought out are the only transparency tools which can give a comparative picture of higher education institutions at a national, European and global level,” he told the symposium.

In March the UK House of Lords’ European Union committee called the initiative a waste of money. Its report argued that U-Multirank brought nothing new to a market already crowded by other international ranking systems, such as those developed by China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Times Higher Education magazine and QS.

But Brussels plans to plough ahead regardless.

Earlier this year the Commission announced that it would spend €4 million (US$5.2 million) testing its new ranking method and invited HEIs to tender for the work with the results due at the end of next year.

Curell told the symposium that generally, a reluctance to support rankings had evolved. But while they might not reflect the full diversity of reality, rankings shape the perception of that reality.

He advised representatives of higher education institutions present at the event to try to influence how rankings develop rather than opposing the trend.

This final point is a good one: universities do have to engage with the rankings. Although you don’t have to express support for them in order to do so. However, I’m still not clear why U-Multirank, a league table which will not be a league table, is necessary. We’ll have to wait and see.

Pride & Prejudices: Problems with National & International League Tables

Presentation from AUA Conference 2012

Thank you to all who attended this session on 3 April 2012

As promised, here is the presentation:

 

 

As mentioned at the presentation, this will be the last time I deliver this session at AUA conference. I’ve done it too many times but the main reason is that my co-presenter, Tony Rich, is no longer able to join me. Tony is seriously unwell and I would encourage everyone  to sponsor Jonathan Nicholls, Registrary at Cambridge University, who is running the London Marathon to raise funds for Bristol University’s cancer research fund.

See Jonathan’s Just Giving page for details.

Latin American universities get ranking

League tables breaking new ground

An earlier post noted the emergence of league tables in Latin America.

The Economist recently addressed this issue noting the emergence in particular of Brazil:

The São Paulo state universities that are pulling ahead of the pack are doing so with the help of generous state funding, which allows them to scoop up the region’s best researchers. They are also specialising. Brazil is emerging as what Demos, a British think-tank, describes as a “natural knowledge economy”: one that boosts the value of its plentiful commodities by the application of technology, such as making biofuels from sugar cane. That in turn makes it possible to gather a critical mass of researchers in one place.

The Economist also commented on the first ranking of Latin American universities to be published, by QS, and raised a few questions about its methodology:

QS relies much more heavily than the other ranking organisations on measures of reputation, which allows it to move swiftly into new regions. However, that carries the disadvantage of potentially over-rating large institutions, especially those whose names include countries or capital cities, such as the University of Buenos Aires or the National Autonomous University of Mexico. They have hundreds of thousands of students apiece and sound like you must have heard of them, even if you have not. Still, a start has now been made on opening the region’s universities to greater scrutiny. That can only help them to improve.

The QS rankings can be found here. The Top 10 is as follows:

1 Universidade de São Paulo Brazil
2 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Chile
3 Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) Brazil
4 Universidad de Chile Chile
5 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Mexico
6 Universidad de los Andes Colombia
7 Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) Mexico
8 Universidad de Buenos Aires Argentina
9 Universidad Nacional de Colombia Colombia
10 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Brazil

So, it’s a start and no doubt there will be much more to follow in due course as higher education in Latin America really takes off. And in this context it’s also worth noting the recent joint mission to Brazil by the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham, as reported here in the THE.

The Three World University League Tables of 2011/12

World University League Tables 2011/12

An earlier post provided links to all of the recently published UK league tables. Now, following the publication of the THE world university rankings, we can put the three world league tables together, and in particular the UK placings, in a handy reference guide.


Here they all are:


The Times Higher World University Rankings
, including UK results.

QS World Rankings 2011 UK results

Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings

All your world league table needs in one handy location. Do handle with care though.

QS World University Rankings 2011 – UK Results

QS World University Rankings 2011 – Results for UK universities

The UK presence in the QS top 100 for 2011 is largely unchanged although there is some jockeying for position in the top 10 where Cambridge is ranked first for a second consecutive year ahead of Harvard, MIT and Yale and Oxford moves up to fifth ahead of Imperial, while UCL drops from fourth to seventh. UK institutions do tend to do rather well in this table though, probably because of the significant score derived from a reputational survey (where age counts for a lot). There are 37 UK universities in the top 300, second only to the US. Despite Cambridge’s table-topping performance, US institutions continue to dominate, taking 20 of the top 50 places and accounting for 70 of the top 300.

Six indicators are used in the ranking:
40% Academic reputation from a global survey
10% Employer reputation from a global survey
20% Citations per faculty from SciVerse Scopus
20% Faculty student Ratio
5% Proportion of international students
5% Proportion of international staff

2011 ranking of UK universities (2010 in brackets)

1  (1 )University of Cambridge

5  (6) University of Oxford

6  (7) Imperial College London

7  (4)  UCL

20  (22)  University of Edinburgh

27  (21) King’s College London (KCL)

29  (30) The University of Manchester

30  (27) University of Bristol

50  (53)  The University of Warwick

59 (77)  University of Glasgow

64 (80) LSE

67 (59) University of Birmingham

72 (69) The University of Sheffield

74 (73) The University of Nottingham

75 (81) University of Southampton

93 (85) University of Leeds

95 (92) Durham University

96 (88) University of York

97 (95) University of St Andrews

Full details at QS World University Rankings Results website.