Understanding QS Stars rating results | Top Universities

Understanding QS Stars rating results

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated Feb 02, 2024



QS Stars

Choosing the right university is a pivotal decision, and QS Stars helps illuminate your path with clear, actionable insights. But what do those Star ratings truly mean? Let's explore the significance of each badge and how they can guide your academic journey. 

Understanding QS Stars ratings and badges 

When universities take part in a QS Stars assessment, they’re evaluated in a range of categories.  

They receive a rating – from one to five QS Stars – in each category, and a ratings badge to signify their achievement.  

Taking their category ratings into account, plus other global standard prerequisites, we then award an overall QS Stars rating, from one to five plus QS Stars. 

Five Stars Plus: Outstanding 

Five Stars Plus-rated universities go above and beyond excellence, consistently delivering exceptional performance in every single category. From outstanding student satisfaction to cutting-edge research, they set the gold standard for higher education. These universities develop graduates who are highly sought-after by leading employers. Research is another pillar of strength, with groundbreaking work and strong collaborations pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Beyond academics, these institutions demonstrate a deep commitment to their communities, prioritising sustainability, inclusivity, and innovation. 

Five Stars: Excellent 

With reputations as international powerhouses of innovation and state-of-the-art facilities, these universities foster environments where complex research tackles global challenges. Leading faculty from around the world bring expertise into the classroom, ensuring students learn from the best in their fields. This combination of elite resources and educators produces graduates who are eagerly recruited by top employers globally. 

Four Stars: Very Good 

Four Star-rated universities have already achieved international recognition for their high standards. Institutions awarded with this rating attract students and faculty members from around the world, creating a diverse environment for advanced learning and development. 

Three Stars: Good 

Universities with this rating deliver quality teaching, preparing graduates who are in demand by employers. They're actively working towards meeting international education standards, even engaging in cutting-edge research and exploring new teaching methods. While not quite at the top yet, these universities are on the right track with plenty of potential for future growth. 

Two Stars: Moderate 

Universities awarded with two QS Stars have established a solid reputation within their home country. They may be dipping their toes into research, exploring different areas and building their capabilities. 

These institutions play a key role in their local communities, providing educational opportunities and supporting the regional development. They're also starting to think about expanding their reach internationally, exploring partnerships and collaborations overseas.

One Star: Satisfactory 

These universities have laid the groundwork for delivering a quality education to their students. They've established the essential components, such as qualified faculty and learning resources, to provide a solid foundation for your academic journey. 

While they may be newer institutions, often established within the last 20 years, many are actively building their domestic reputation. This means you'll be part of a university on the rise, shaping its future and contributing to its growth. 

Thanks to QS Stars, you can easily compare universities based on the aspects that matter most to you, whether it's world-class research facilities, exceptional teaching quality, or a vibrant international community.  

By understanding the strengths of each institution, you’ll find the perfect fit for your academic goals and personal aspirations. 

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