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Everything You Need to Know About QS Stars

By Craig O

Updated March 26, 2021 Updated March 26, 2021

When researching universities, there’s only so much you can learn from looking at university rankings. After all, what does it really mean if one institution is ranked above another?

QS Stars is designed to give you the information which a university ranking might not. By assessing institutions more broadly, and across a range of categories, QS Stars allows universities to publicly highlight their areas of strength.

How do QS Stars work?

Whereas university rankings are limited to assessing a narrow range of indicators, QS Stars performs a thorough and extensive audit of each university, gathering vast amounts of data in the process.

Universities are then assigned a Star rating in at least eight categories, including Teaching, Employability, Research and Internationalization. An overall Star rating is also given to each institution.

Does every university have a QS Stars rating?

Not yet! Universities have to opt in to participate in QS Stars due to the sizable amount of information which is required to give an accurate rating. This is why some institutions won’t have QS Stars ratings.

However, we’re adding more universities every month, so keep checking back and you might find a university you’re interested in has been added.

How can I use QS Stars to learn about a university’s teaching quality?

When speaking to students as part of our International Student Survey, concerns about teaching quality are often at the forefront of their minds.

Fortunately, teaching is one of the areas assessed by QS Stars, so it’s possible to filter the QS Stars table by this category and easily find the top universities for teaching around the world.

Click here to see it for yourself.

Universities with 5 Stars in Teaching include Aalborg University in Denmark, Bournemouth University in the UK, and Bond University in Australia.

In order to achieve this 5 Star rating, universities will need to show high levels of student satisfaction and a significant proportion of students continuing with further study after graduation, among other factors.

How can I use QS Stars to learn about the employability of a university’s graduates?

While the QS Graduate Employability Rankings provide some insight into this, the Employability category of QS Stars is also worth examination.

Universities with 5 Stars in Employability include Aston University in the UK, the Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation in Malaysia, and Bina Nusantara University in Indonesia.

A 5 Star rating in this category is dependent on the graduate employment rate as well as other metrics including the level of careers service support available to students.

Check out which universities have a QS Stars rating for Employability.

How can I use QS Stars to learn about how international a university is?

While practically every QS ranking considers internationalization to some extent, it can be hard to get an accurate picture of whether a university has a thriving international community from this alone.

QS Stars assesses the diversity of the student body, the proportion of international faculty and exchange students and several other aspects, in order to give a more complete perspective on each university.

For example, Coventry University in the UK, CESINE Design & Business School in Spain and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand have all scored 5 Stars in this category.

You can find out how other universities performed in Internationalization here.

Where can I learn more about QS Stars?

If you have any further questions about QS Stars and how they work, you can find more information on the methodology here. We also have an FAQ which tackles some of the other most commonly asked questions.

This article was originally published in August 2019 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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