Rating universities on teaching: QS Stars | Top Universities

Rating universities on teaching: QS Stars

By Staff Writer

Updated August 4, 2022 Updated August 4, 2022

How does the QS Stars university rating system measure universities' teaching quality?

While the quality of a university’s research tends to receive a lot of attention in international rankings, for students the quality of teaching is equally, if not more, important.

The two are in fact closely linked. It is today’s students that will be tomorrow’s researchers, and only a high standard of teaching can allow them to make this transition.

A good QS Stars rating in this category indicates a university with inspiring staff who provide students with the guidance they need to fully realise their potential. QS Stars use four criteria to measure teaching quality.

Faculty-student ratio

In order to work out the faculty-student ratio, the total number of academic faculty staff (who are responsible for planning, directing and undertaking both academic teaching and research) are mapped against the total number of students studying in the institution. A small number of students compared to the faculty allows professors to dedicate more time to each person. With smaller classes, professors have more time to engage with each student and address important questions or discuss possible points of improvement. Institutions will score points if they have one faculty member per 50 students.

Overall student satisfaction

An enjoyable learning experience, in particular one that is worth the expense, will lead to satisfied students. A high level of student satisfaction is a good indicator of teaching standards.

To work out the levels of student satisfaction, QS Stars uses statistics from the National Student Satisfaction Survey, or an equivalent survey. Points will be awarded if 75% of students profess to be satisfied.




Completion refers to the percentage of students enrolled who succeed in graduating. Institutions with high completion rates are generally perceived as providing strong faculty support and teaching methods on top of a well-structured programme. If 90% of students graduate from an institution in the time expected, that institution is awarded full points for completion.


Satisfaction with teaching


QS Stars looks at the National Student Satisfaction Survey (or an equivalent survey) and uses the same scale as the overall satisfaction measure. Particular focus is given to questions that ask the students directly whether they are satisfied with the teaching they are receiving.



Faculty with PhDs


Having highly-skilled faculty members is a key factor in research production, while also indicating the potential for high-quality and inspirational teaching. If 80% of an institution’s faculty members are qualified to this level, full points are awarded.


Further study

Good teaching can engender passion for a subject within students, high achievement and the ability to peruse their studies independently, setting them up for success beyond their degree. Therefore, the proportion of students who choose to pursue further study at the same institution is a good way to measure teaching quality. Points will be awarded if 30% of students choose to go on to further study after completing their degrees.

QS Stars does the evaluating for you, so you can easily see where a university’s strengths are in order to find a programme that suits your priorities.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in August 2022

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