One of the most common questions our team receives is 'Why is my university not in the World University Ranking'?
There could be any number of reasons why a university does not appear in our World ranking. The first thing we would encourage institutions to ask themselves is 'Are you a world class university?'. Our rankings are designed primarily for international students looking to study at the world's foremost institutions. This necessarily precludes many institutions from being featured, even where they may have strengths in other areas. At a more practical level, the answer is often one or more of the following:
- The institution is not being nominated by a sufficient number of academics worldwide. To enter, there is a threshold of nominations that is dynamic from year to year and based on the underlying sample of nominations. If an institution does not meet this, it will be not be included. Institutions must consider their value proposition and how this is being communicated to the global academic community.
- The institution is not producing a sufficient amount of research. We set a minimum threshold of 100 papers (see point 3 here). However, given we weight research at 20% in the WUR, unless other indicators such as reputation and teaching are particularly strong, the institution is likely to need a greater output of papers and subsequently more citations.
- We do not have sufficient data to amalgamate scores across indicators to arrive at a final rank. We ask institutions to submit data to us. Where they do not submit, we may try to source this data from a third-party (such as HESA in the United Kingdom, or from a university's website or annual report). Where neither of these approaches have yielded reliable data, it is unlikely to feature in the ranking. For more information on how to participate, see here.
In 2021 the surveys featured over 6000 institutions, with over 1300 being ranked in the QS World University Rankings 2022®. We recognise that higher education institutions can be very different from one another, but maintain that there is validity in comparing one against another as they usually have a certain number of common objectives – for most these include the pursuit of cutting-edge research and the education of first-rate students.
The following types of institutes are also ineligible to appear in our World University Ranking.
A) Research Institutes
Whilst this ranking does look at research metrics it was considered inappropriate to include research institutes that do not have students. Examples of such institutions include CERN in Switzerland, CNRS in France, the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. It is worth noting that, in countries where much of the research takes place in such separate facilities, the research measures for the universities themselves sometimes underestimate the research strength of the faculty members.
B) Single Faculty Institutions
Institutions that focus on only one of our five broad faculty areas tend to be smaller and more intensive and also feel the full influence of any factors that affect their area of strength. These institutions are able to appear in our Subjects ranking but are excluded from our world and regional rankings. Notable cases include the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, HEC Paris, and Bocconi in Italy.
C) Single Level Institutions
Institutions that operate at either undergraduate only, or more commonly postgraduate only level have certain natural advantages in areas such as the student-faculty ratio or citations per faculty that would lead to anomalous placing in our overall table. Again these are permitted to appear in our Subject ranking but are excluded from World and Regional rankings.
Institutions traditionally operating at one level, but recently introducing degree-level programs at the other, can be considered for inclusion a minimum of three years after the first class graduate from programs defined as within at least two of our five broad faculty areas.