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BlueSky Ranking Of University Rankings 2022/23 – Global

In the past two decades university rankings have become an integral part of the higher education landscape, and whatever you think of them the reality is that millions of prospective students, alumni and staff will consult them to assess the impact of a school’s standing in the international market. Some governments now use global university rankings as part of points-based immigration programs, or as a standard for academic partnerships.

As the S of QS, my name is associated with the QS Quacquarelli Symonds rankings, and I subsequently helped Times Higher Education to launch their own THE World University Rankings in 2010. With the Academic Ranking of World Universities, ARWU (also known as the Shanghai Ranking) and US News which began publishing the Best Global Universities ranking in 2014, these four major rankings are the most influential. Beyond them there are countless other league tables based on social and economic impact, scientific papers, human resources indexes, innovation, teaching and career outcomes.

There will always be a great deal of debate about the distorting effects of rankings, and the methodologies they each adopt. The Big Four primarily measure the research performance of universities, with biases towards English-language journals and a limited assessment of teaching quality. The ARWU does not adjust for the size of an institution, which means that larger universities typically rank higher than smaller institutions with the same quality of research. The use of reputational surveys is also questioned, and critics fear that universities may focus too much attention and resources on research and activities that are rewarded by rankings. 

At the end of the day, how much should we read into the fact that ten places separate two world-class institutions in Pennsylvania and Paris? And how do the rankings help students and graduates to identify the best places both globally and locally to study their field of interest?

The four main rankings have all developed an extensive array of subject rankings to provide a more detailed assessment of the best universities in the arts & humanities, business & economics, education, engineering, law and social sciences, life sciences and medicine, the natural sciences and psychology. To broaden geographic scope and highlight institutions that are committed to greater impact to tackle environmental, social and governance challenges, both QS and THE publish regional tables and have devoted considerable time and effort to develop rankings that measure impact and sustainability.

BlueSky Thinking will be looking at each of these initiatives, but as we reach the end of the calendar year we have compiled the results of the big four university rankings of the last 12 months, and compared them to the same league tables of 2017/18. The idea of the BlueSky Ranking of University Rankings is to aggregate the performance of schools across multiple rankings. Each ranking uses a different methodology and measures different things with the inherent limitations of each assessment, so doing particularly well in one ranking and less well in another is reflected in the overall average score.

Don’t forget to check out results with 5-year performance comparison for the rest of the world:

N.America Top 50: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – North America

Europe Top 50: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Europe

Asia & Oceania Top 30: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Asia & Oceania

BlueSky Ranking of the University Rankings 2022/23 – Global

Global Rank 2022/23Global Rank 2017/18Institution NameCountryTHE 2023QS 2023USNews 2022/23ARWU 20225-year Change
12Harvard UniversityUSA25111
21Stanford UniversityUSA3332-1
23Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA51231
44University of CambridgeUK32840
45University of OxfordUK14571
66California Institute of TechnologyUSA66990
711University of California, BerkeleyUSA827454
87Princeton UniversityUSA716166-1
99Columbia UniversityUSA1122780
1010Yale UniversityUSA91811110
1113Imperial College LondonUK10613232
128The University of ChicagoUSA13102210-4
1315University of PennsylvaniaUSA141315152
1512Johns Hopkins UniversityUSA15241014-3
1616ETH ZurichSwitzerland11929200
1717Cornell UniversityUSA202021120
1833Tsinghua UniversityChina1614232615
1918University of California, Los AngelesUSA21441413-1
1922University of TorontoCanada183418223
2119University of Michigan-Ann ArborUSA23251928-2
2240Peking UniversityChina1712393418
2321Northwestern UniversityUSA26322430-2
2425University of EdinburghUK291534351
2526New York UniversityUSA243931251
2623University of California, San DiegoUSA32532021-3
2627University of MelbourneAustralia343327321
2734National University of SingaporeSingapore191126717
2824University of WashingtonUSA2680617-4
2920Duke UniversityUSA25502531-9
3029King’s College LondonUK35373348-1
3150Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University ParisFrance4726484019
3228University of British ColumbiaCanada40473544-4
3330The University of TokyoJapan39238124-3
3449Nanyang Technological University, SingaporeSingapore3619308815
3535University of ManchesterUK542863380
3645The University of SydneyAustralia554128609
3743The University of QueenslandAustralia535036476
3838LMU MunichGermany335947570
3939University of Texas at AustinUSA507243370
4063University of Hong KongHong Kong3121559623
4136McGill UniversityCanada46315473-5
4260Monash UniversityAustralia4457377518
4348Technical University of MunichGermany304979565
4469UNSW SydneyAustralia7245376425
45172Karolinska InstituteSweden49895141127
4647Australian National UniversityAustralia623062791
4741Washington University in St LouisUSA571183227-6
4844Universität HeidelbergGermany43655770-4
49121Zhejiang UniversityChina6742933672
49123Université Paris-SaclayFrance9369601674
5142Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityChina52468954-9
51115University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUSA69102412964
51146Sorbonne UniversityFrance9060484395
5432École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneSwitzerland411669125-22
5537University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUSA48857449-18
5631University of Wisconsin-MadisonUSA81836333-25
5793Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong45385312536
5857KU LeuvenBelgium42765095-1
5994Fudan UniversityChina51341166735
6058Utrecht UniversityNetherlands661124454-2
6151University of CopenhagenDenmark114824239-10
6262University of AmsterdamNetherlands6058391250
6353Kyoto UniversityJapan683614041-10
6470University of ZurichSwitzerland828367596
6552University of BristolUK76619381-13
6677Seoul National UniversitySouth Korea56291299811
6745Carnegie Mellon UniversityUSA2852118125-22
6866University of Southern CaliforniaUSA651348053-2
68109University of Science and Technology of ChinaChina74941026241
7055University of California, Santa BarbaraUSA641496757-15
7153Georgia Institute of TechnologyUSA388851175-18
7267Brown UniversityUSA616312999-5
7383University of GlasgowUK82817412510
7465University of California, DavisUSA6310273125-9
7579Humboldt University of BerlinGermany86131614
7656Boston UniversityUSA7110870125-20
7676University of GroningenNetherlands7514588660
7864University of MarylandUSA1041645750-14
79100University of OsloNorway126101896721
8061University of Minnesota Twin CitiesUSA1011855744-19
8199University of SouthamptonUK1087810410418
8295Free University of BerlinGermany911188713
83108University of AdelaideAustralia881097412525
84151King Abdulaziz UniversitySaudi Arabia1011066512567
8586University of Western AustraliaAustralia1319083991
8671Leiden UniversityNetherlands7713174125-15
8674University of HelsinkiFinland1101069992-12
88103University of BirminghamUK108918912515
89155Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong796510017566
9088Ghent UniversityBelgium1071439574-2
9159Ohio State UniversityUSA11214055125-32
9298Emory UniversityUSA82155721256
9396Vanderbilt UniversityUSA9819978643
9481Erasmus University RotterdamNetherlands802086587-13
95113University of BernSwitzerland9412010712518
9689Wageningen University & ResearchNetherlands5912489175-7
97132City University of Hong KongHong Kong995412017535
9877University of PittsburghUSA1441814582-21
9968Pennsylvania State UniversityUSA1519384125-31
100107London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK37562361257
BlueSky Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Global

What is striking in the 2022/23 results is the remarkably consistent performance of 9 universities from the US East and West Coasts and the UK. Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, CalTech, Berkeley, Princeton and Yale were all in the top 10 of the ARWU ranking of 2003 and the QS ranking of 2004, andnearly twenty years later they still dominant the global league tables. 

In the world of business education and the MBA we refer to the M7 – HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Columbia, MIT Sloan and Northwestern Kellogg. Whether the M of M7 stands for ‘Magnificent’ or ‘Magic’, these are all prestigious and influential US business schools.

At a global university level, the Ivy League makes way for the U9 – Unshakeable and seemingly Unequaled.

But beyond the top 10, the academic landscape is shifting. Almost a quarter of the top 100 are from Asia Pacific, with six universities from China including Tsinghua and Peking University among the top 25. 

And while the UK continues to shine with twelve universities, continental Europe is catching up fast. Who knew that The Netherlands is such a higher education powerhouse, with six of the top 100 universities in a country with a population of 17.5 million. Switzerland, with a population of only 8.7 million similarly impresses with four institutions. And France, which did not feature in any of the world university rankings as recently as ten years ago now has three national champions.

Comparing the 2022/23 Ranking of Rankings results to those of 2017/18 there are a significant number of winners and losers in the 5-year period.

Biggest gains

Scandinavia: Karolinska Institute +127 places (major shift in the QS ranking); University of Oslo +21 places

France: emergence of several mega-universities, including Sorbonne University +95 places; Université Paris-Saclay +74 places; Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) +19 places

China / Hong Kong: Zhejiang University +72 places; Hong Kong Polytechnic University +66 places; University of Science and Technology of China (+41 places); Chinese University of Hong Kong +36 places; Fudan University +35 places; City University of Hong Kong +35 places; University of Hong Kong +23 places; Peking University +18 places; Tsinghua University +15 places

Saudi Arabia: King Abdulaziz University +67 places

Australia: UNSW Sydney +25 places; University of Adelaide +25 places; Monash University +18 places; University of Sydney +9 places; University of Queensland +6 places

UK: University of Southampton +18 places; University of Birmingham +15 places; University of Glasgow +10 places; LSE +7 places; Imperial College London +2 places to #11 in the world

Germany: Free University of Berlin +13 places; Technical University of Munich +5 places; Humboldt University +4 places

Biggest Falls

USA: Ohio State University -32 places; Penn State University – 31 places; University of Wisconsin-Madision -25 places; Carnegie Mellon University -22 places; University of Pittsburgh – 21 places; Boston University -20 places; University of Minnesota -19 places; Georgia Institute of Technology -18 places; University of Illinios at Urbana -18 places

Switzerland: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – 22 places

Netherlands: Leiden University -15 places; Erasmus University -13 places

UK:University of Bristol -13 places; University of Warwick – 9 places;

Scandinavia: University of Helsinki -12 places; University of Copenhagen -10 places

Look out for the three regional Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 for Europe, Asia Pacific and North America on the BlueSky Thinking site. 

Each of the major university rankings uses a different methodology and weights the use of different data to produce their league tables, so it is important to understand what is being measured. In simple terms:

THE – the performance indicators are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International Outlook (staff, students and research); and Industry Income (knowledge transfer).

Teaching (30%); Research (30%); Citations (30%); International Outlook (7.5%); Industry Income (2.5%).

QS– six indicators looking at four broad categories: research reputation, the learning and teaching environment, research impact, and internationalisation. 

Academic Reputation (40%); Employer Reputation (10%); Citations per Faculty (20%); Faculty Student Ratio (20%); International Student Ration (5%); International Faculty Ratio (5%)

ARWU – considers every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, universities with a significant amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included.

Quality of Education (10%); Quality of Faculty (40%); Research Output (40%) Per Capita Performance (10%)

US News – calculates the rankings using 13 indicators and weights that U.S. News chose to measure global research performance.

Global Research Reputation (12.5%); Regional Research Reputation (12.5%); Publications (10%); Books (2.5%); Conferences (2.5%), Normalized Citation Impact (10%); Total Citations (7.5%); Number Of Publications Among 10% Most Cited (12.5%); Percentage Of Total Publications Among 10% Most Cited (10%); International Collaboration – Relative To Country (5%); International Collaboration (5%); Number Of Highly Cited Papers Among Top 1% Most Cited In Respective Field (5%); Percentage Of Total Publications Among Top 1% Most Highly Cited Papers (5%) 

About the author

Matt Symonds is Chief Editor of BlueSky Thinking. He is the S of QS, co-founding QS Quacquarelli Symonds, publishers of the QS World University Rankings and numerous business school rankings.

In 2010 Matt was the media consultant for Times Higher Education to support the launch of their own THE World University Rankings, and has subsequently worked for THE and WSJ for business school rankings.

Matt writes about Higher Education and management for Forbes, BBC, Times of India and formerly The Economist and Bloomberg.

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