Rating universities on diversity, equity and inclusion: QS Stars | Top Universities
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Rating universities on diversity, equity and inclusion: QS Stars

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated May 14, 2024
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QS Stars: Diversity, equity and inclusion

Expand your horizons and prepare for success in a vibrant and diverse university community. At universities that prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), you’ll be surrounded by students, faculty, and staff from all walks of life, enriching how you see and experience the world and equipping you with the skills to thrive in a globalised workplace. 

QS Stars ratings assess the key areas that create an inclusive university experience – from demographic diversity of students and faculty to equal access and opportunity initiatives. 

So how does that benefit you as a university student? 

Scholarships and bursaries for underrepresented groups 

If you’re facing financial barriers or aren’t sure if you can afford university, scholarships and bursaries can make a huge difference. Support like this can help you achieve your educational goals, regardless of your background or financial situation.  

Full points will be awarded to institutions with scholarships intended to enhance higher education access for underrepresented groups, where recipients represent a range from 1% to 5% of the student body, as defined by local legal provisions. 

Disability support 

This indicator accounts for the highest number of points in the DEI category. Effective disability support ensures everyone, regardless of ability, can participate fully in their studies and campus life. This fosters a truly inclusive learning environment where all students feel welcome and empowered. 

Full points are awarded to institutions for each of the following services or documentation: 

  1. Support services for mental health conditions 

  1. Built-in accessibility computer systems for visually impaired 

  1. Sign language interpreter or note-takers for hearing impaired 

  1. Map identifying wheelchair ramps, disabled toilets and parking access 

  1. Dedicated academic support for students with learning disabilities 

Student diversity 

A diverse student body surrounds you with a wealth of perspectives, experiences and ideas. 

You’ll challenge your thinking and gain skills and qualities to navigate today’s global workplace. 

Full points will be awarded to institutions that have: 

  1. Students from legally recognised ethnic minority groups (this applies to domestic students only) 

  1. Mature students  

  1. First generation learners  

  1. Religious minorities 

  1. Other underrepresented groups combined (e.g: LGBTQIA+, neurodiversity)  

Student gender ratio 

Gender diversity brings a wider range of perspectives and experiences into classroom discussions, learning activities and group dynamics. Students from a gender-diverse environment are better prepared to enter a diverse workforce and collaborate with colleagues of any gender. Full points are awarded to institutions that achieve a gender ratio ranging from 40:60 to 30:70 for either gender. 

Faculty gender ratio 

A more balanced gender ratio among faculty can influence curriculum and teaching methods. Gender diversity within the faculty can help break down stereotypes, proving that expertise and teaching excellence are not confined to one gender. Full points are awarded to institutions that have at least 50% female academic staff. 

Student organisations for underrepresented groups 

Get involved and find your place. Student organisations are your chance to jump into campus life and shape your experience. These groups give you a platform to meet like-minded people, share your ideas and address your concerns. They often advocate for changes that create a more inclusive campus environment, so you can be part of building a better community for everyone while building your networks and making friends. 

Full points are awarded to institutions for each student for five student organisations for underrepresented groups. 

Strategy on diversity, equity and inclusion 

A solid strategy sets clear goals and holds everyone accountable, driving progress and ongoing improvements. For you as a student, an effective DEI strategy means being part of a community with diverse perspectives and backgrounds, offering a rich and inclusive campus experience that broadens your horizons and fosters personal growth. 

Full points will be awarded to institutions if they have a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy with both defined goals and a time-defined action plan. 

No matter your background, joining a university that values diversity, equity, and inclusion can shape your future – from building a global network to gaining valuable career and life skills.  

QS Stars evaluates the key areas of DEI to give you a clear view of which universities are leading the way – those where DEI isn’t just a box ticked but a lived experience. With QS Stars, you’ll easily see where a university’s strengths lie, helping you compare and shortlist institutions to find the perfect match for your academic goals and personal values.