What are the Times Higher Education World University Rankings?
The THE World University Rankings are the gold standard global higher education ranking system.
For 12 years, Times Higher Education has produced an ordered list of universities, updated annually and trusted by students, parents and academics.
The universities are rated in five categories: Teaching, Research, Research Influence, Innovation and International Outlook.
The THE World University Rankings are unique in using these five scores to recognise excellence across all core missions of a leading global university: research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity.
How do I use the rankings to choose a university?
The rankings can help you choose a university by giving you more information about the quality of the teaching, research, innovation and environment at different institutions. It also provides an overall comparison between institutions.
However, the rankings cannot make a decision for you. Statistics do not give you a full picture of what it is really like at a university.
Combined with advice from current students and academics, and visits to the universities that you are interested in, the rankings can be used to make an informed choice about which university is right for your unique circumstances and priorities.
Ultimately, only you will know whether a university is a good fit for you. For this reason, THE never gives direct or personal advice about which university you should choose.
To help you with the decision process, you can see the table with the overall rank of universities, under performance breakdown you can sort universities by each performance indicator to suit your priorities, and you can further explore by key statistics to discover more information about the university environment.
If you are interested in how a university ranks for a specific subject, you can choose the relevant Subject Ranking – see here for a list of subjects covered by each ranking.
I have an offer from a specific university. Should I accept it?
THE cannot make that decision for you, since every person’s circumstances are unique. You can browse the rankings to compare how that university ranks against others for the same subject or in the same region. You can also explore the student advice guides to hear from experts, students and graduates about the university experience.
How is the rank calculated?
Overall rank is calculated from scores for 13 different performances indicators, grouped into five categories: Teaching, Research, Research Influence, Innovation and International Outlook.
To produce the 13 indicators for each university, THE’s in-house data team analyses data that universities supply (for example, staff-to-student ratios, doctorates awarded, international students and research income), the results of a “reputation survey” sent to selected academics across the world, and information about published research papers and citations, using Elsevier’s Scopus database.
Each performance indicator (and correspondingly each of the five broader performance categories) is assigned a percentage weighting in the overall ranking score.
Teaching quality counts for 30 per cent, Research counts for 30 per cent, Research Influence counts for 30 per cent, International Outlook counts for 7.5 per cent and Innovation counts for 2.5 per cent.
You can read more about the methodology and why the performance indicators are relevant markers of world-leading universities in ‘The World University Rankings: Explained’.
What do the five ‘performance breakdown’ scores mean?
See ‘The World University Rankings: Explained’ here.
Teaching is a measure of the learning experience and quality at a university. It is based on the reputation among academics, and statistics about staff, students and research.
Research is a measure of both the quality and quantity of research output, based on reputation, research income and productivity.
Citations measures how influential that research is, and counts the number of times work published by academics at the university is cited in other papers.
International Outlook measures the environment and attitude with respect to international students, staff and research. It is based on international-to-domestic ratios across staff, students and research collaborations.
Innovation or Industry Income is a measure of innovation at a university, based on how much the university earns from its inventions and industrial work.
What are the ‘key statistics’?
Key statistics provide more information about the student experience and university environment. In addition to the overall rank and performance breakdown, you can see:
Number of students
Percentage of international students
I am looking for:
More information about the universities
For facts and data about specific countries, universities and courses, and to hear from experts and students themselves, head to the Student section, where you can search the university directory, keep up to date with student news, and find helpful guides to universities, admissions, finance, employment and many other topics.
A specific university
You can search the rankings by university name or country, using the search tool at the top of the table. If the university you are looking for is not in the rankings, you can search the university directory by name or country to find more information. You can also search the rankings from within the directory by selecting World University Rankings 2015-16 and entering the number ranks you want to search between.
Universities in a specific country or region
You can filter the rankings table using the filter tool at the top to see only universities in countries of your choosing. You can filter by as many countries as you want. For example, if you wanted to see only universities in the US, UK and Australia, you could add those three tags in the filter box at the same time.
A specific course to study
If you already know what you want to study, the Subject Rankings in six categories can help you find the best universities for that subject. The subject rankings are:
Arts and humanities
Clinical, pre-clinical and health
Engineering and technology
See here for a list of subjects included in each ranking.
Why can’t I find a university I am looking for?
If you can’t find a university when you search the rankings by university name, it could be because that university is not ranked, or is known under a different name. Try searching the rankings by country instead, or search the university directory to find an unranked university.
A university may not be ranked for two reasons: either it does not fulfil the inclusion criteria for the rankings, or it did not score highly enough to be included.
A university is not included if it does not teach undergraduates, if it teaches only one subject, or if it produces fewer than an average of 200 research papers a year.
Can I see a ranking just for a specific subject I want to study?
Yes, you can see Subject Rankings for six broad disciplines. The subject rankings are grouped by:
Arts and humanities
Clinical, pre-clinical and health
Engineering and technology
See here for a list of subjects included in each ranking.
Is there a different table for undergraduate and postgraduate study?
There is not a different table for undergraduates and postgraduates. However, the same performance metrics are relevant to postgraduates, particularly given that Teaching actually takes into account doctorate-to-bachelor student ratio and doctorates awarded per number of academic staff ratio.
Why are the rankings so different to last year?
The rankings are dynamic and there are significant changes year-on-year due to changes in university performance.
However, in 2015-2016, the rankings included more data to provide a more inclusive overview of world-leading universities, resulting in 400 more universities ranked than the previous year. Of these new universities, 61 ranked in the top 400, which affects the rank of any institution below a new university.
The other methodological change that affected the ranking positions this year was the exclusion of “super-papers” from being counted in research and citation scores. These papers (mostly in particle physics) are unusual in having thousands of authors from different institutions, and were skewing the scores for a very small number of institutions for whom the super-papers were a primary research output. Excluding these papers is a more reliable way of representing the true research quality and impact of an institution as a whole. The change has not affected institutions with high research output and impact.
Why has my university dropped rank?
There could be many reasons why your university has dropped, most likely due to an actual change in how the university is perceived or performs.
A university’s score depends on its reputation, research income and influence, among other more stable factors. If policy changes at a university affect how it is perceived, it could score lower in the reputation survey of academics. Likewise, policy changes can affect research income, productivity and even impact.
For more information and news about your specific university, try searching THE Professional or the Student section for policy news or information about student life.
What subject ranking does my course fall under?
|A||Acoustics||Engineering & Technology|
|Aerospace Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Agriculture, Fisheries & Food||Life Sciences|
|Allergy||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Anaesthesiology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Anatomy & Morphology||Life Sciences|
|Archaeology||Arts & Humanities|
|Architecture||Arts & Humanities|
|Area Studies||Social Sciences|
|Art||Arts & Humanities|
|Asian Studies||Arts & Humanities|
|Astronomy & Astrophysics||Physical Sciences|
|Automation & Control Systems||Engineering & Technology|
|B||Behavioural Sciences||Life Sciences|
|Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology||Life Sciences|
|Biomedical Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Biomedical Social Sciences||Social Sciences|
|C||Cardiovascular System & Cardiology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Chemical Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Civil Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Classics||Arts & Humanities|
|Computer & Information Science||Engineering & Technology|
|Construction & Building Technology||Engineering & Technology|
|Criminology & Penology||Social Sciences|
|Cultural Studies||Arts & Humanities|
|D||Dance||Arts & Humanities|
|Decision Support/Statistics||Social Sciences|
|Dentistry & Oral Surgery||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Dermatology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|E||Earth & Environmental Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Earth Sciences||Physical Sciences|
|Ecology, Evolution & Environment||Life Sciences|
|Education & Educational Research||Social Sciences|
|Electrical & Electronic Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Endocrinology & Metabolism||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Energy & Fuels||Engineering & Technology|
|Ethnic Studies||Social Sciences|
|F||Family Studies||Social Sciences|
|Film, Radio & Television||Arts & Humanities|
|G||Gastroenterology & Hepatology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Genetics & Heredity||Life Sciences|
|Geriatrics & Gerontology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|H||Haematology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Health Care Sciences & Services||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|History||Arts & Humanities|
|History & Philosophy of Science||Arts & Humanities|
|I||Imaging Science & Photographic Technology||Engineering & Technology|
|Industrial Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Infectious Diseases||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Instruments & Instrumentation||Engineering & Technology|
|International Relations||Social Sciences|
|L||Languages, Philology and Linguistic Studies||Arts & Humanities|
|Legal Medicine||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Library Science||Social Sciences|
|Literature||Arts & Humanities|
|M||Marine Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Materials Science||Engineering & Technology|
|Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences||Social Sciences|
|Mathematics & Statistics||Physical Sciences|
|Mechanical Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Mechanics||Engineering & Technology|
|Medical Ethics||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Medical Informatics||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Medical Laboratory Technology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Medicine, General & Internal||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Metallurgy & Metallurgical Engineering||Engineering & Technology|
|Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences||Physical Sciences|
|Mining & Mineral Processing||Engineering & Technology|
|Music||Arts & Humanities|
|Neurosciences & Neurology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Nuclear Science & Technology||Engineering & Technology|
|Nursing||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Nutrition & Dietetics||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|O||Obstetrics & Gynaecology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Oncology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Operations Research & Management Science||Engineering & Technology|
|Ophthalmology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Orthopedics||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Otorhinolaryngology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|P||Paediatrics||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Pathology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Pharmacology & Pharmacy||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health/Life Sciences|
|Philosophy||Arts & Humanities|
|Plant Sciences||Life Sciences|
|Political Science||Social Sciences|
|Polymer Science||Physical Sciences|
|Psychiatry||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Public Administration||Social Sciences|
|Public, Environmental & Occupational Health||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|R||Radiology, Nuclear Medicine & Medical Imaging||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Rehabilitation||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Respiratory System||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Rheumatology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Robotics||Engineering & Technology|
|S||Social Issues||Social Sciences|
|Social Work||Social Sciences|
|Sport Sciences||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Surgery||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|T||Telecommunications||Engineering & Technology|
|Theatre||Arts & Humanities|
|Theology & Religion||Arts & Humanities|
|Toxicology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health/Life Sciences|
|Transplantation||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|Transportation||Engineering & Technology|
|Tropical Medicine||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|U||Urban Studies||Social Sciences|
|Urology & Nephrology||Clinical, Pre-clinical & Health|
|V||Veterinary Sciences||Life Sciences|
|W||Women's Studies||Social Sciences|
I still need help choosing a university!
See all our university advice here