QS classify institutions across four dimensions for the purposes of rankings comparison. They are listed below.
Based on the (full time equivalent) size of the degree-seeking student body. Where an FTE number is not provided or available, one will be estimated based on common characteristics of other institutions in the country or region in question.
|XL||Extra Large||More than 30,000|
|S||Small||Fewer than 5,000|
Four categories based on the institution’s provision of programs in the five broad faculty areas used in the university rankings. Due to radically different publication habits and patterns in medicine, an additional category is added based on whether the subject institution has a medical school.
|Full comprehensive||All 5 faculty areas + medical school|
|Comprehensive||All 5 faculty areas|
|Focused||More than 3 (<5) faculty areas|
2 or more faculty areas
|5||Historic||More than 100 years old|
|4||Mature||5-100 years old|
|3||Established||25-50 years old|
|2||Young||10-25 years old|
|1||New||Less than 10 years old|
Four levels of research activity evaluated based on the number of documents retrievable from Scopus in the five-year period preceding the application of the classification. The thresholds required to reach the different levels are different depending on the institution's pre-classification on aspects 1 and 2.
|VH||SP||2 x mean for specialist areas||2 x mean for specialist areas||2 x mean for specialist areas||2 x mean for specialist areas|
|HI||SP||1 x mean for specialist areas||1 x mean for specialist areas||1 x mean for specialist areas||1 x mean for specialist areas|
|MD||SP||0.5 x mean for specialist areas||0.5 x mean for specialist areas||0.5 x mean for specialist areas||0.5 x mean for specialist areas|