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Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings was an annual publication that ranked the "Top 200 World Universities", and was published by Times Higher Education and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) between 2004 and 2009. The full listings, which are broken down by subject and region, feature on the Times Higher Education website with the full 600 ranked universities, interactive rankings tables and detailed methodology published on the QS website. The best-known college and university rankings in the United States—compiled by US News & World Report—bases its "World's Best Universities" rankings on data from the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.[1]

The ranking weights are:

  • Peer Review Score (40%)
  • Recruiter Review (10%)
  • International Faculty Score (5%)
  • International Students Score (5%)
  • Faculty/Student Score (20%)
  • Citations/Faculty Score (20%).


Changes to the World University Rankings Partnership

For full article please see Times Higher Education World University Rankings

After the 2009 rankings, Times Higher Education took the decision to end their relationship with QS and instead signed an agreement with Thomson Reuters to provide the data for its annual World University Rankings. Times Higher Education will develop a new rankings methodology in the coming months, in consultation with its readers, its editorial board and the firm. Thomson Reuters will collect and analyse the data used to produce the rankings on behalf of Times Higher Education. The results will be published annually from autumn 2010.[2][3]

From November 2010, QS Quacquarelli Symonds, who have bought the exclusive rights to the domain name of World University Rankings, will continue to produce them independently of Times Higher Education. These rankings will be produced using data collected and analysed over the past six years by QS and Scopus by Elsevier.

2009 Rankings (full data)

The full table of the 2009 top 200 universities along with all the analysis and methodology was published on the Times Higher Education website at one minute past midnight on 8 October 2009.[4] The full 600 ranked universities, school profiles and detailed methodology was published on the QS website, [5] , on 9 October 2009.

Top 3 universities per country (in the top 100):

Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings (Top 20)

2009 rankings[6] 2008 rankings[7] 2007 rankings[8] 2006 rankings[9] 2005 rankings[10] 2004 rankings[11] University Country Average score
01 01 01 01 01 01 Harvard University  United States 01
02 03 02= 02 03 06 University of Cambridge  United Kingdom 03
03 02 02= 04= 07 08 Yale University  United States 04
04 07 09 25 28 34 University College London  United Kingdom 18
05= 06 05 09 13 14 Imperial College London  United Kingdom 09
05= 04 02= 03 04 05 University of Oxford  United Kingdom 04
07 08 07= 11 17 13 University of Chicago  United States 11
08 12 06 10 09 09 Princeton University  United States 09
09 09 10 04= 02 03 Massachusetts Institute of Technology  United States 06
10 05 07= 07 08 04 California Institute of Technology  United States 07
11 10 11 12 20 19 Columbia University  United States 14
12 11 14 26 32 28 University of Pennsylvania  United States 21
13 13= 15 23 27 25 Johns Hopkins University  United States 19
14 13= 13 13 11 52 Duke University  United States 19
15 15 20= 15 14 23 Cornell University  United States 17
16 17 19 06 05 07 Stanford University  United States 12
17 16 16 16 23 16 Australian National University  Australia 17
18 20 12 21 24 21 McGill University  Canada 19
19 18 38= 29 36 31 University of Michigan  United States 29
20= 23 23 33= 30 48 University of Edinburgh  United Kingdom 30
20= 24 42 24 21 10 ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)  Switzerland 24




Several universities in the UK and the Asia-Pacific region have commented on the rankings. Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, Professor Judith Kinnear says the Times Higher Education-QS ranking is a “wonderful external acknowledgement of several University attributes, including the quality of its research, research training, teaching and employability.“ She says the rankings are a true measure of a university’s ability to fly high internationally: “The Times Higher Education ranking provides a rather more and more sophisticated, robust and well rounded measure of international and national ranking than either New Zealand’s Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) measure or the Shanghai rankings.” [12]

Ian Leslie, the pro-vice chancellor for research at Cambridge University said: "It is very reassuring that the collegiate systems of Cambridge and Oxford continue to be valued by and respected by peers, and that the excellence of teaching and of research at both institutions is reflected in these rankings."

The vice-chancellor of Oxford University, Dr. John Hood, said: "The exceptional talents of Oxford's students and staff are on display daily. This last year has seen many faculty members gaining national and international plaudits for their teaching, scholarship and research, and our motivated students continue to achieve in a number of fields, not just academically. Our place amongst the handful of truly world-class universities, despite the financial challenges we face, is testament to the quality and the drive of the members of this university's environment."

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wollongong in Australia, Professor Gerard Sutton, said the ranking was a testament to a university’s standing in the international community, identifying… “an elite group of world-class universities.” [13]


The rankings have been criticized for placing too much emphasis on peer review, which receives 40% of the overall score, and some have expressed concern about the manner in which the peer review has been carried out.[14] It has also been criticised, by a member of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, for the volatility of its results, with results sometime "shifting markedly", year on year.[15] Others have criticised the "opaque way it constructs its samples" for peer-review. [16] Andrew Oswald has questioned the rankings on the basis that the respective league-table positions of the universities do not, at least in certain examples, correspond to the amount of Nobel Prizes they have recently won, arguing that "Stanford University in the United States, purportedly number 19 in the world, garnered three times as many Nobel Prizes over the past two decades as the universities of Oxford and Cambridge did combined."[17]

However, several changes in methodology were introduced in 2007 which were aimed at addressing the above criticisms.[18] But it has since been argued, in at least one paper, that the current method of peer-review is still insufficiently standardised, lacking "input data on any performance indicators".[19]

Quacquarelli Symonds has been faulted for numerous data collection errors. For instance between 2006 and 2007 Washington University in St. Louis fell from 48th to 161th because QS mistakenly replaced Wash U with the University of Washington in Seattle.[20] QS committed a similar error when collecting data for Forbes Magazine confusing the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler business school with one from North Carolina Central University.

Commenting on Times Higher Education's decision to split from QS, editor Ann Mroz said: "universities deserve a rigorous, robust and transparent set of rankings - a serious tool for the sector, not just an annual curiosity." She went on to explain the reason behind the decision to continue to produce rankings without QS' involvement, saying that: "The responsibility weighs heavy on our shoulders...we feel we have a duty to improve how we compile them."[21]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009". 
  5. ^ "THE-QS World University Rankings 2009". 
  6. ^ "THE-QS World University Rankings 2009". 
  7. ^ "THE-QS World University Rankings 2008". 
  8. ^ "THES-QS World University Rankings 2007". 
  9. ^ "THES World University Rankings 2006". 
  10. ^ "THES-QS World University Rankings 2005". 
  11. ^ "THES World University Rankings 2004". 
  12. ^ Flying high internationally
  13. ^ "UOW listed in Top 200 World University Rankings"
  14. ^ Rankings: Marketing Mana or Menace? by Simon Marginson
  15. ^ Rankings Ripe for Misleading by Simon Marginson
  16. ^ The Times Higher Education Rankings and the Dawn of Global Higher Education Data Standards by Alex Usher
  17. ^ There's nothing Nobel in deceiving ourselves by Andrew Oswald, The Independent on Sunday
  18. ^ Sowter, Ben (1 November 2007). THES – QS World University Rankings 2007 - Basic explanation of key enhancements in methodology for 2007"
  19. ^ International ranking systems for universities and institutions: a critical appraisal by John Ioannidis et. al.
  20. ^
  21. ^

See also

External links


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