QS Stars: Methodology

QS Stars: Methodology

QS Stars: Methodology

What criteria does QS Stars use when rating universities, and why?

There has been much discussion around what attributes form a world-class university, particularly with the growing popularity of university rankings and the criteria used to assess universities worldwide.

Much criticism has been directed to the criteria used in rankings and other assessments, based on the argument that universities are different to one another and therefore need to be assessed on a range of categories that recognize distinct strengths.

The following criteria, the basis for QS Stars ratings, were selected as the key pillars of what makes a world class university, taking into account a number of factors that are often overlooked in university rankings and other assessments.


Indicators considered here include domestic assessments of research quality, productivity (i.e. number of papers published), citations (i.e. how recognized and referred to those papers are by other academics) and awards (e.g. Nobel Prizes or Fields Medals).


A key role of a university is the nurture of tomorrow's finest minds, inspiring the next generation of potential research academics. Typical indicators here are domestic teaching quality assessments, collation of student feedback, national student surveys and student faculty ratios.


Graduate employability encompasses more than academic strength, focusing on ‘work-readiness’ - the ability to work effectively in a multi-cultural team, to deliver presentations, to manage people and projects. Common indicators in this area are surveys of employers, graduate employment rates and average graduate salaries.


University infrastructure is an indicator which enables students to know what to expect from their university experience. Indicators such as sporting and medical facilities, number of students societies are considered within this criterion.


Here, effective indicators could be the proportion of international students and staff, the numbers of exchange students arriving and departing, the number and strength of international partnerships with other universities or the number of graduates pursuing further study at overseas universities.


Innovation, the output of the universities activities and findings to economy, society and culture, has become increasingly relevant for universities.


An effective indicator showing the university's contribution to its local community.


This area looks at the accessibility of the university to students. It looks at areas such as scholarships and bursaries, disability access and gender balance.


I would like to compare between two universities in all criteria on which that ranking was based. Is that available?

Hi Mona. You can view all the universities rated by QS Stars so far here: http://www.topuniversities.com/qs-stars

If you're interested in comparing universities, you may also want to check out the latest QS World University Rankings: http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2013

Here you can use the 'Compare' button to select 2 or more universities, and compare them on the different indicators used to create the ranking. Hope this helps!

Good day
I would appreciate if you would guide me on how to get IRAQ local universities to be ranked in your standards

I cannot open the world university ranking after they show the country and university eg. Japan, university and in the university I cannot get a detail of world, university ranking something wrong before 31 12 2013 everything was fine now it is not working why????