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QS World University Rankings 2015/16 – Coming Soon!

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated August 23, 2017 Updated August 23, 2017

The QS World University Rankings® 2015/16 will be published on TopUniversities.com on 15 September 2015. This will be the 12th edition of this annual ranking of the world’s top universities, which draws on six performance indicators to rank more than 800 institutions.

First published in 2004, the QS World University Rankings has become one of the most widely used and trusted resources for prospective international students. Developed with students specifically in mind, the ranking seeks to assess universities’ performance in four key areas: teaching, research, employability and internationalization.

While each year’s edition is keenly anticipated and widely reported, the forthcoming release is likely to prompt particularly strong interest and debate. Although the six performance indicators remain the same, the QS World University Rankings 2015/16 will see the introduction of a significant refinement to the way one of these key measures is assessed.

Changes to the methodology this year

Changes to the methodology this year relate to the “citations per faculty” indicator. Assessed using data from Scopus, the world’s largest database of research abstracts and citations, this indicator reflects the impact and reach of each university’s research, relative to the size of its faculty.

The citations per faculty indicator contributes 20% to the overall ranking results, alongside indicators which assess academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), student/faculty ratio (20%), and proportions of international faculty and students (5% each).

While these indicators and weightings will not change, this year’s ranking will introduce refinements to ensure research impact is evaluated in a more balanced way, taking account of vastly different citation level norms in each faculty area.

At present, the citations indicator tends to advantage universities which are especially strong in fields such as life sciences and natural sciences, where citation rates are typically much higher as a general norm. At the other end of the spectrum, citation levels for arts and humanities research tend to be far lower, accounting for only around 1% of global citations.

The methodology refinements will apply a normalized total citation count to the citations per faculty indicator, with the intention of providing a more balanced reflection of research impact relative to norms within each faculty area. You can find out more about the changes here.

What else is in store for 2015?

Last year’s QS World University Rankings saw the US’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hold onto the top spot, with the UK’s University of Cambridge and Imperial College London sharing second place. The top 10 was completed by a further five US universities and two more UK institutions, while the highest entry from outside these countries was claimed by Switzerland, with ETH Zurich in 12th place.

Following the methodology refinements and the balancing out of the citations per faculty indicator, it’s likely that this year’s results could see some higher positions for universities which are strongest in social sciences, arts and humanities, and engineering and technology.

Alongside the overall QS World University Rankings 2015/16, the new edition of the QS World University Rankings by Faculty will also be released on 15 September. This complementary resource provides dedicated rankings of the world’s top universities in five major faculty areas: arts and humanities; engineering and technology; life sciences and medicine; natural sciences; and social sciences and management.

To be the first to get the results of the QS World University Rankings 2015/16 and the QS World University Rankings by Faculty 2015, download the free rankings app – available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and also for Android. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, joining the conversation with #QSWUR.

This article was originally published in September 2015 . It was last updated in August 2017

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Written by

The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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