QS World University Rankings: Methodology

QS World University Rankings: Methodology

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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jun 9, 2023 17:30 IST

QS World University Rankings

QS World University Rankings: University rankings have become one of the most important elements for students deciding on universities for studying abroad or anywhere in India. Rankings not only help differentiate the best universities from the surplus but also provides students access to additional information and in-depth university analysis through the use of ranking parameters and indicators.

What is QS Ranking?

Launched in 2004, the QS University Rankings has grown to become one of the most influential university rankings in the world. One of the most trusted university rankings, the group publishes a set of top university rankings every year for the benefit of students. We are going to break down the QS University Ranking methodology for the readers to fully comprehend how one university scores over another and what it takes to be the university on the top. We are going to look at the very popular QS University Rankings methodology and know about the parameters used in the process.

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How are QS Rankings Calculated?

As the name suggests, the QS World University Rankings talk about the top universities in the world for a given year and are one of the most searched rankings online. In QS world ranking, six simple metrics are taken into account that effectively capture university performances and a list of top-performing universities in the world is derived for a particular year. Given below is the QS World University Rankings methodology:



Academic Reputation


Employer Reputation


Faculty/Student Ratio


Citations per faculty


International Faculty Ratio /International Student Ratio


Let us study each parameter closely.

Academic Reputation

The highest weightage to determine the best university in the world is allocated to the academic reputation of the university. In doing so, QS University Rankings takes into account the expert opinion of over 130,000 individuals who belong in the higher education space and are involved with teaching and research quality at the world universities.

Employer Reputation

University education has always boiled down to the effectiveness of being eligible for the job market. Hence, employment reputation looks at how successful a university is in providing this preparedness to the student for the employment market. The QS Employer Survey asks employees to identify institutions from which they source the most capable, effective, and innovative graduates.

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Faculty/Student Ratio

For students, the teaching quality is one of the most important determinants while choosing universities. Though it is extremely difficult to measure the same, however, QS University Rankings, believes that outlining the Faculty/Student Ratio provides an alternative to measuring teaching quality. This particular parameter takes into account the number of tutors or teaching professionals the institution is able to provide to students, as a higher number of faculty members per student would greatly unburden each individual academic.

Citations per Faculty

If teaching is important to establish university credentials so is research output. At QS University Rankings, university research quality is measured using the Citations per Faculty metric. The process includes taking the total number of citations received by all papers produced by a university across a five-year period by the number of faculty members at that institution.

International Faculty Ratio /International Student Ratio

A highly recommended university comes with advantages, above all, it demonstrates the ability to attract international students and faculty from across the world, which suggests the strong international reputation the university enjoys. This particular parameter takes into account the global outlook that is essential for a university operating in the global education sector. Other factors that are calculated here are providing students with a multinational environment, exchange of best practices, and bringing about global awareness. The International Faculty Ratio and the International Student Ratio contribute to 5% each to the total weightage of the QS World University Ranking.

This is a very modest understanding of the methodology of the QS University Rankings for our readers for top universities. Students who are looking for an in-depth analysis can always refer to the official website or get in touch with us in the comments below for further guidance.

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Q. How are QS rankings calculated?

A. For the QS World University Rankings, the institutes are assessed over six categories or indicators in order to capture the performance. The indicators that determine the QS World University rankings are citations per faculty, academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty / student ratio, and international student ratio & international faculty ratio.

Q. List the weightage of each indicator in the QS World University Rankings.

A. The QS World University rankings indicators include academic reputation which has a 40% weightage, employer reputation has a 10% weightage, faculty student ratio and citations per faculty have a 20% weightage each, and international faculty ratio / international student ratio has a 10% weightage.

Q. Does QS World University rankings matter?

A. The QS rankings are one of the most prestigious international rankings that assess the performance and popularity of institutions worldwide. Every year, the rankings are assigned to the institutes as per a variety of factors. In the rankings, the university’s reputation is based on the opinions of higher education professionals, companies that hire graduates, the quality of teaching, number of times the research articles were acknowledged, as well as the ratio of international students and faculty at universities.

Q. Which is the most reliable university ranking system?

A. The three longest established and most influential global rankings are produced by Quacquarelli Symonds, Times Higher Education, and Shanghai Ranking Consultancy (ARWU). The QS World University Rankings are the most comprehensive ranking of its kind in the market. It shines a light on institutes from across the world and enables motivated people anywhere in the world to fulfill their potential through international mobility, educational achievement, and career development.

Q. Which is better QS rankings or Times Higher Education rankings?

A. You can refer to the QS rankings if you would like to identify universities that are well-regarded by companies and other academics. Graduates of these universities are paid well after graduating. On the other hand, THE rankings can be used to find the top universities on the basis of their research impact and their reputation.

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About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio


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