QS Ranking Methodology 2024: Ranking The Best Universities

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the QS Ranking Methodology 2024, where we delve into the intricate process of ranking the best universities. As the pursuit of higher education becomes increasingly competitive, understanding the methodology behind these rankings is crucial for both students and institutions alike. Join us as we explore the factors, criteria, and trends that shape the prestigious QS rankings.

QS ranking methodology

Table of Contents

What is QS Ranking?

The QS World University Rankings is an esteemed ranking system developed and published by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a leading global higher education company. It provides a comprehensive evaluation and comparison of universities worldwide based on a set of carefully selected indicators.

QS employs a rigorous methodology to collect and analyse data for the rankings. This includes conducting surveys, collaborating with institutions, and utilising publicly available data sources. The data is carefully validated and processed to ensure accuracy and fairness in the rankings.

The QS World University Rankings are highly regarded and widely referenced by students, academics, and institutions worldwide. They serve as a valuable resource for prospective students seeking to make informed decisions about their higher education journey, and they offer universities a benchmark for measuring their performance on a global scale.

QS Ranking Methodology

After consulting with around 8,000 academics and an expert peer-reviewed survey, the committee has developed a methodology circling four broad categories: research reputation, the learning and teaching environment, research impact, and internationalisation.   

Here are the 6 original indicators that rank the world’s best universities:

1. Academic Reputation

The academic reputation index carries a 30% weighting, the highest weightage in this scale. This index shows us which universities are performing world-class research. In addition to the quality of research, it also shows the ability to communicate such research and the impact they bring. 

Here is the step-by-step analysis.  

2. Employer Reputation

The employer reputation index carries a 15% weighting in this scale. This index takes into account employability, an important aspect of a graduate’s future. This is one of the main, if not the main reason reason why students enroll into a university in the first place. 

Here is the step-by-step analysis

3. Faculty Student Ratio

The faculty student ratio carries a 15% weightage in this evaluation. This index assumes that the more academic staff resource made available to students, such as teaching, supervision, curriculum development, and pastoral support, the better this experience ought to be. 

Calculation: the number of Faculty figure validated by QS / the Students figure validated by QS.

4. Citations per Faculty

Citations per Faculty is another major index, carrying a 20% weighting. It is a measure of the relative intensity and volume of research being done at an institution. While it may seem unfair in some rankings, QS takes into account the size of the institution. 

Here is the step-by-step analysis

5. International Faculty Ratio

The international faculty ratio accounts for 5% of the total weightage. This indicators evaluates the ratio of international faculty staff to overall staff. Basically, it assumes that the higher this number, the more it shows that the institution has research and teaching diversity and collaboration. It also shows that the institution is good enough to attract overseas staff.

Here is the step-by-step analysis

6. International Student Ratio

The international student ratio also accounts for 5% of the total weightage. Institutions that have a large number of international students should have better networking, cultural exchanges, a more diverse learning experience and alumni diversity. Similar to the previous indicator, it shows that the institution is good enough to attract overseas students.  

Here is the step-by-step analysis

What's New about the QS Ranking Methodology in 2024?

This year, the QS World University Rankings has implemented several changes to reflect the shifts in higher education. 

First of all, 10% of the overall weightage has been deducted from Academic Reputation and Faculty Student Ratio respectively. In addition, 5% has been added to Employer Reputation to reflect the importance of this indicator. No changes were made to the other 3 original indicators. 

On top of that, the committee has decided to add 3 new indicators, each carrying a 5% weightage. 

1. International Research Network

International research network refers to how institutions create and sustain research partnerships resulting in internationally co-authored publications with other institutions across borders to collaborate on solving the world’s challenges and disseminate vital research to wider audiences.

Here is the step-by-step analysis

2. Employment Outcomes

Employment outcomes reflect the ability of institutions to ensure a high level of employability for their graduates, while also nurturing future leaders who go on to make an impact in their respective fields.  

Employment Outcomes = Alumni Impact Index adjusted * ln(Graduate Employment Rate)

Here is the step-by-step analysis

3. Sustainability

This indicator shows which institutions are demonstrating a commitment to a more sustainable existence. Basically, it looks for2 things: (1) the impact that alumni are making in science and technology to solve climate issues, and (2) the impact of research being done across the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.

Here is the step-by-step analysis

QS World University Rankings 2024

Here are the top 10 universities in the world today!

RankUniversityLocationOverall ScoreAcademic ReputationEmployer ReputationFaculty Student RatioCitations per FacultyInternational Faculty RatioInternational Students RatioInternational Research NetworkEmployment OutcomesSustainability
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, United States10010010010010010088.294.310095.2
2University of CambridgeCambridge, United Kingdom99.210010010092.310095.899.910097.3
3University of OxfordOxford, United Kingdom98.910010010090.698.298.210010097.8
4Harvard University Cambridge, United States98.310010098.310084.666.810010096.7
5Stanford UniversityStanford, United States98.110010010099.999.951.295.810094.4
6Imperial College LondonLondon, United Kingdom97.898.399.498.59410010096.78394.4
7ETH ZurichZürich, Switzerland93.398.883.67298.910098.5967988.4
8National University of SingaporeSingapore, Singapore92.799.488.676.593.210081.976.310088.1
9UCLLondon, United Kingdom92.499.597.998.474.399.110010051.692.5
10University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, United States90.410010020.599.992.263.992.498.7100

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Frequently Asked Questions about the QS Rankings

The QS Ranking is an annual ranking of universities worldwide conducted by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a leading global higher education company. It provides a comprehensive assessment of universities based on various criteria to help students and researchers make informed decisions.

The QS Rankings are widely recognised and respected within the higher education community. However, it is essential to remember that rankings are just one aspect to consider when evaluating universities. It is recommended to consider multiple factors, such as academic programmes, faculty expertise, student support, and personal preferences when making decisions about higher education.

The QS Rankings are updated annually, with new rankings released each year. This allows for continuous evaluation and monitoring of universities’ performance and facilitates the provision of up-to-date information to prospective students and researchers.

No, there are several other university rankings available, such as the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Each ranking system uses its own methodology and criteria, so it is advisable to explore multiple rankings to gain a comprehensive understanding of a university’s standing.

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