QS World University Rankings aims to serve as a comprehensive public resource, offering accurate insights into the higher education landscape for students, parents, and stakeholders. A key aspect of our methodology is the inclusion of all qualifying universities, which we believe enhances the overall value and integrity of our rankings.
Allowing universities to opt out would diminish the comprehensiveness and reliability of our rankings, while potentially inflating the standing of institutions that would otherwise rank lower than those opting out.
This is akin to imagining a car ranking without key manufacturers like Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz; the absence of such brands would likely raise questions about the rankings’ completeness. We aim to offer a comprehensive overview, incorporating all eligible institutions to ensure that students, our primary audience, receive a full and well-rounded perspective of their higher education options.
Where we don’t have the cooperation of the individual institution (which we would always prefer), we feature them on the strength of proprietary and publicly available or previously supplied data. Our rankings are designed with this in mind. Many of our metrics - such as reputation, or research strength, can be modelled without direct institution data. The types of institution data we require, such as faculty or student numbers, are almost always a matter of public record.
Opting out vs. Eligibility
These are two distinct processes. Many institutions do not appear in a particular ranking because they are ineligible to do so, or because they are underperforming. This could be because they do not teach a broad spectrum of subjects, or because they are too small, or because they have not met analytical performance thresholds. You can find more about this here. Opting out refers to those institutions, then, that are eligible but for a particular reason (such as undergoing a merger with another institution) are seeking not to be included.