Rating Universities on Infrastructure: QS Stars | Top Universities

Rating Universities on Infrastructure: QS Stars

By Piotr Łuczak

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

QS Stars uses six criteria to rate a university's infrastructure quality.

There’s more to universities than research and teaching. For anything from three years upwards a university’s campus will be the centre of the lives of thousands of students – and in many cases, their actual home.

When you add to this the fact that most students are living independently, often in an unfamiliar city (or country) for the first time, the importance of a university’s infrastructure – everything that it supplies beyond the lecture theatre and the seminar room – becomes clear.

There are six criteria by which we measure the quality of a university’s infrastructure (this is done via an audit run by QS itself):

Sporting facilities

A good university will ensure that there are facilities in place for students to exercise their bodies as well as their minds.

This is a bonus for high-level athletes (college sports are a multi-million dollar industry in the US) and those who just want to play a game with friends alike – and, of course, those who just want to stay fit.

We award points for swimming pools, gyms, indoor sports courts, outdoor sports courts, outdoor sports pitches, athletics tracks, stadiums and full-time staff.

Medical facilities

It’s more than likely that at some point during your university career you’ll require the attention of a medical professional.

We award points to universities that have an on-campus medical centre, with maximum points awarded to ones which employ either a full-time medical doctor or a full-time nurse for every 3,000 full-time students.

Student societies

Student societies are a great way to meet likeminded people, to do things which you enjoy or involve yourself with causes in which you believe.

Some of them will look good on your CV; some will just be a bit of fun. Either way, a good university will make provisions for a wide range of student administered societies. Twenty or more, and the university will receive full marks. 

Student accommodation

University comes with enough challenges without having to negotiate the many perils of the housing market in an unfamiliar environment. It is normal, therefore, for universities in most (but not all) countries to provide accommodation for its first year students – and sometimes beyond that.

To score maximum points here, the number of rooms available should be equal to the total number of first-year students.

IT infrastructure

No student can be without access to a computer in the 21st century, and access to the internet is fast becoming a necessity rather than a luxury.

If a university can provide either one computer for every five students, internet access in every university provided room or WIFI access over 80% of the campus – excluding sports fields and parks – we award top marks.

Library facilities

No matter how great a role the internet has come to play, we are still a long way off the point at which having a well stocked library will not be absolutely essential.

These are the places where many students will do the vast majority of their actual learning, where they will learn to work independently and develop a passion for their subject.

A good university, therefore, must invest in its library – if it has invested US$100 per student over the past year, maximum points will be awarded. Another route to maximum points is to have added one new library catalogue entry per student.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in March 2016

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