The 2014 edition of the QS World University Rankings Top Universities was published on Sept. 15, 2014, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) again taking the top spot for “the third year in a row.” Rounding out the top three is two British universities; the University of Cambridge, and the Imperial College London. The top Ivy League university on the list is Harvard at number four. There are 11 American universities in the top 20, the rest are British with the exception of one university. Three universities from London are just in the top 20, the most of any other city in the world. “Academic reputation” is the most important determining factor for the lists, and is reflected by the universities represented in the list.
The University of Toronto is Canada’s top university at sitting at 20, falling from 17 last year, but close behind it is Canada’s McGill University who is steady at 21. Until last year, McGill was the top Canadian university appearing on international rankings. McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier explained the recent problems that led to McGill’s drop in rankings; “It’s quite an achievement, knowing what we know of our financial situation. Some of the universities in the top 10 live in a different universe. It would be very, very hard for us to achieve something like that with our resources.”
The top university on the European continent is Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) as it was on AWUR listing, but here it is sitting at number 12. The National University of Singapore, in Japan, is the top ranking Asian university on the list coming in at 22. Australian National University at 25 is the top university in the Oceania region. The major list in the World University Rankings individually ranks the top 400 universities, while the remaining 400 are “ranked in groups.”
QS World University Rankings was originally a collaboration between the education and career company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) with the Times Higher Education (THE) to create a world university ranking in 2003. For five years the listing was published on THE, with QS supplying the data. In 2010, Times Higher Education decided to break off the partnership and pair up with Thomson Reuters to produce their ranking list. The decision was mostly because of the heavy reliance of using peer reviews to determine the rankings. The QS World University Rankings first appeared in its present format in 2010.
The list is highly regarded, but controversial, because they rely on academic peer reviews to rank the universities. Other elements that factor in include faculty-student ratio, citations by faculty, recruiter review and internationalism. The World University Rankings list looks at 800 universities, and includes some sub-lists looking at more specific issues or geographic areas including; By Faculty, Asia, Latin America, BRICS countries; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Best Student Cities, By Subject, and also the top 50 university under 50 years old.
QS’ top 10 in their World University Rankings list:
- 1 100.0 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States
- 2 99.4 University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 2 99.4 Imperial College London, United Kingdom
- 4 99.3 Harvard University, United States
- 5 99.2 University of Oxford, United Kingdom
- 5 99.2 UCL (University College London), United Kingdom
- 7 98.3 Stanford University, United States
- 8 97.1 California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States
- 9 96.6, Princeton University, United States
- 10 96.5 Yale University, United States
- QS World University Rankings
College Rankings Guide 2014-15:
- College rankings guide: national and global rankings rev up for 2015 admissions
- College rankings guide 2014-15 Princeton Review names Syracuse best party school
- College rankings guide 2014-15: Forbes names Williams America’s Top College
- College rankings guide 2014-15 Princeton and Williams tops US News Best Colleges
- College rankings guide: Harvard tops the Academic Ranking of World Universities
- College rankings guide 2014-15: MIT again tops QS World University Rankings
- College rankings guide: Caltech tops Times Higher Ed’s World University Rankings
- College rankings guide: Harvard tops US News’s Best Global Universities Rankings
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. Her specializations are academic & universities news, particularly history & library news.