This year’s QS World University Rankings® and Times Higher Education World University Rankings share many similarities, with a high level of correlation between the two lists (0.80 overall, and 0.71 in the top 100). However, the different methodologies also lead to significant divergences, both in the positions accorded to individual institutions, and broader regional trends.
Scroll down for an overview of the top-performing universities in each region according to the QS World University Rankings, alongside the same institutions’ positions in the latest Times Higher Education list.
The US dominates the top of both tables, but – though US institutions have improved their standing in the latest QS ranking – the nation retains an even stronger presence in the Times Higher Education list. Although no longer led by a US institution – with Oxford ending Caltech’s five-year reign – THE’s top 100 features 41 US universities, compared to QS’s 32. In addition to those shown above, Times Higher Education’s top 10 US entries also include the University of California, Berkeley (=10th) and University of California, Los Angeles (14th), which come 28th and 31st respectively in QS.
While US universities tend to do slightly better in the Times Higher Education ranking, the reverse is true of the UK. However, despite Oxford’s success in becoming the first UK institution to top the Times Higher Education list, overall both rankings have seen downwards movement for UK universities this year. There are now only 12 UK representatives in THE’s top 100, down from 16 last year, and UK institutions are down by an average of nine places. Although there are still 18 UK entries in the QS top 100, most either lost ground or stayed static this year.
Canada’s representation in the two rankings is, overall, fairly balanced, though there are notable differences in the order in which Canada’s top universities are listed. Times Higher Education gives the lead to the University of Toronto, followed by the University of British Colombia, while in the QS ranking, McGill University comes out ahead. The Times Higher Education ranking features several more Canadian entries within its top 400 – 17, compared to QS’s 15.
In general, continental Europe tends to be better represented in the Times Higher Education ranking, where Germany and the Netherlands are the third and fourth most-represented countries in the top 100. However, both the QS and THE rankings have seen a broadly downwards trend for European institutions this year. In addition to those shown above, the Times Higher Education list also accords high rankings to Sweden’s Karolinska Institute (28th), Belgium’s KU Leuven (40th), the Netherlands’ Wageningen University (65th) and Germany’s Humboldt University of Berlin (=57th), amongst others.
While European universities have broadly declined in both rankings this year, the reverse is true in Asia. The QS ranking has previously tended to feature Asian universities more prominently, and this remains the case, though the region is increasingly gaining ground in the Times Higher Education ranking as well. For instance, the top nine Chinese universities have all improved their positions in this year’s THE ranking, while the leading Asian institution – the National University of Singapore – has reached its highest position yet, 24th, albeit still 12 places below its QS rank.
The QS and Times Higher Education rankings feature the same set of six Australian universities within their respective top 100s, though not in the same order. The QS list also features the University of Western Australia just two places outside of the top 100, and in general Australian universities tend to fare slightly better under the QS methodology.
Here there’s a clear trend; New Zealand’s universities tend to come out with much stronger positions in the QS ranking, where all eight appear within the global top 450. While the country’s leading institution, the University of Auckland, is well-established within the QS top 100, it remains 65 places outside in the Times Higher Education list, despite having gained seven positions this year.
Universities in Latin America have a much stronger presence in the QS rankings, partly due to the fact that many seem to have opted out of providing the data required for inclusion in the Times Higher Education ranking. As shown above, this means many leading Latin American universities featured in the QS list do not appear at all in THE – including Argentina’s Universidad de Buenos Aires, which this year reached the highest position ever achieved by a Latin American institution in the QS World University Rankings.
Africa & Middle East
The Times Higher Education ranking tends to result in higher positions for universities in both South Africa and Turkey, as well as featuring more universities in northern African countries such as Morocco and Tunisia. On the other hand, universities in Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have a stronger presence in the QS ranking, which also accords higher positions to the leading Egyptian institutions.