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Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021

Published annually by the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings is globally recognised and one of the go-to ranking providers for quality assessment of institutions all over the world.  

Its ranking methodology is based on 13 calibrated performance indicators, categorised within 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). 

Each indicator contributes a percentage towards an institution’s final score. 

Teaching (30%) 

  • Reputation survey: 15% 
  • Staff-to-student ratio: 4.5% 
  • Doctorate-to-bachelor’s ratio: 2.25% 
  • Doctorates-awarded-to-academic-staff ratio: 6% 
  • Institutional income: 2.25% 

This performance indicator studies the perceived prestige of institutions in teaching, gleaned from the Academic Reputation Survey. It provides a sense of how much effort goes into nurturing the next generation of academics, with responses representative of the global academy’s statistical geographical and subject mix. 

Research (30%) 

  • Reputation survey: 18% 
  • Research income: 6% 
  • Research productivity: 6% 

The research metric focuses on an institution’s reputation for research excellence, with responses taken from the Academic Reputation Survey. THE rankings also note that the research income is scaled against academic staff numbers and adjusted for purchasing-power parity (PPP). With regards to quantifying productivity, THE totals the number of publications within the Elsevier’s Scopus database, which provides a sense of the institution’s ability to have published papers in quality peer-reviewed journals. 

Citations (30%) 

This particular indicator measures the role of a university in spreading new knowledge and ideas. THE calculates it by quantifying the number of times an institution’s work is cited by scholars globally. This year, the ranking provider’s bibliometric data supplier Elsevier examined 77.4 million citations to 12.8 million journal articles, article reviews, conference proceedings and books over a span of five years. 

International Outlook (7.5%) 

  • Proportion of international students: 2.5% 
  • Proportion of international staff: 2.5% 
  • International collaboration: 2.5% 

THE’s aim in this indicator is to measure an institution’s ability to attract students and faculty members from all over the world. It quantifies this by calculating the proportion of a university’s total research journal publications that have a minimum of one international co-author

Below, we’ve compiled the top universities in each destination - Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, the UK and USA. If you’re keen to find out more on what it means to study abroad in any of these countries, fill in your details and make a free appointment with one of our friendly counsellors!

QS Top 10 Universities in Australia 2021

RankUniversity Global Ranking
 1 University of Melbourne32 
 2 Australian National University50 
 3 University of Sydney60 
 4 University of Queensland66 
 5 UNSW Sydney71
 6 Monash University75 
 7 University of Adelaide120 
 8 University of Western Australia131
 9 Queensland University of Technology179
 10 University of Canberra193


QS Top Universities in New Zealand 2021

Global Rank
1 The University of Auckland179
2 University of Otago201-250
3 Auckland University of Technology251-300
4 University of Canterbury301-350
5 Lincoln University501-600
6 Massey University501-600
7 Victoria University of Wellington501-600
8 University of Waikato501-600


QS Top 10 Universities in Canada 2021

RankUniversityGlobal Rank
1 University of Toronto18
2 University of British Columbia34
3 McGill University42
4 McMaster University72
5 Universite de Montreal85
6 Univesity of Alberta136
7 University of Ottawa141
8 University of Calgary201-250
9 University of Waterloo201-250
10 Western University201-250


QS Top 10 Universities in the UK 2021

Rank UniversityGlobal Rank
 1 University of Oxford 1
 2 University of Cambridge 3
 3 Imperial College London 10
 4 UCL 15
 5 The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 27
 6 University of Edinburgh 30
 7 King's College London 36
 8 University of Manchester 55
 9 University of Warwick 77
 10 University of Bristol 87


QS Top 10 Universities in the US 2021

RankUniversityGlobal Rank
1 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)2
2 Stanford University4
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology5
4 Princeton University6
5 Harvard University7
6 Yale University8
7 University of Chicago9
8 University of Pennsylvania11
9 Jonh Hopkins University12
10 University of California, Berkeley13


QS Top Universities in Ireland 2021

RankUniversityGlobal Rank
1 Trinity College Dublin164
2 Royal College of Surgeons201-250
3 University College Dublin201-250
4 National University of Ireland, Galway251-300
5 Maynooth Univesity301-350
6 University College Cork301-350
7 University of Limerick501-600
8 Dublin City University601-800


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