The QS World University Rankings is an annual publication by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specializing in education and study abroad. Established in 2004, QS World University Rankings provide a comprehensive evaluation of universities worldwide based on six key performance indicators.

Key Performance Indicators

  1. Academic Reputation (40%): Based on a global survey of academics who identify top institutions for research in their fields.
  2. Employer Reputation (10%): Survey of employers to identify institutions that produce the best graduates.
  3. Faculty-Student Ratio (20%): Measures teaching quality by dividing the number of faculty members by the number of students.
  4. Citations per Faculty (20%): Indicates research productivity and impact by dividing total citations by the number of faculty members.
  5. International Faculty Ratio (5%): Proportion of international faculty members, showing the university's ability to attract global talent.
  6. International Student Ratio (5%): Proportion of international students, reflecting the institution's global appeal and diversity.

QS Ranking Methodology

The QS World University Rankings evaluates universities using the aforementioned six performance indicators. These indicators are combined to produce an overall score, which is then used to rank the universities.

Data Collection Methods

The data for QS World University Rankings is gathered from several sources, including:

  • Academic Reputation Survey: Conducted among academics worldwide to identify top universities.
  • Employer Reputation Survey: Conducted among employers to identify universities producing the best-prepared graduates.
  • Faculty-Student Ratio: Data obtained from universities.
  • Citations per Faculty: Data sourced from the Elsevier Scopus database.
  • International Faculty and Student Ratios: Data obtained from universities.

QS Services and Offerings

QS offers a range of services related to higher education and university rankings:

  • QS World University Rankings: Evaluates and ranks universities worldwide.
  • QS World University Rankings by Subject: Focuses on specific subject areas.
  • QS University Rankings by Region: Includes regional rankings such as QS Asia University Rankings and QS Latin America University Rankings.
  • QS Stars Rating System: Rates universities across categories like Teaching, Employability, Research, and Internationalization.
  • QS World Grad School Tour: International events connecting graduate schools and prospective students.
  • QS World MBA Tour: Events focused on MBA programs.
  • QS Higher Education Data: Provides data and insights on university performance.
  • QS Consult: Consulting services to enhance global standing, internationalization, and research output.

Criticisms of QS World University Rankings

Despite its widespread use, the QS World University Rankings face several criticisms:

  • Profit Orientation: Critics argue that QS's profit motive might influence rankings.
  • Overemphasis on Reputation: Heavy reliance on subjective academic and employer reputation surveys.
  • Lack of Transparency: Concerns over the transparency of methodologies and data sources.
  • Potential for Manipulation: Universities might incentivize positive survey feedback.
  • Narrow Focus on Research: Significant weight on research metrics, potentially neglecting teaching quality.
  • Limited Applicability: Focus on large, research-intensive universities may not suit all students.
  • One-Size-Fits-All Approach: Single set of criteria for diverse institutions may not capture unique strengths and weaknesses.


While the QS World University Rankings provide valuable insights, it is crucial to consider them alongside other sources of information to make well-rounded decisions about university education.