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.
- Using QS Stars: What each rating level means >