Our latest QS report,‘Is Brexit Turning International Students Away From the UK?’, derived from the analysis of interviews which took place in cities across Europe, saw the emergence of several key themes among perceptions of post-Brexit UK as a study destination. One theme that stood out as particularly contentious was the role of money in higher education. Concerns about finances wound their way through many of our participant’s views, and in many different contexts.
For students, one defining benefit of the UK being part of the EU has been the reciprocal fee agreements between EU member states, which enable EU citizens to study in countries throughout Europe for the same price as domestic students. In the likely event that the UK no longer benefits from these agreements post-Brexit, then students from the EU studying in the UK will start being charged the same amount as international (i.e. non-EU) students, which are normally considerably higher fees. Read more
An uncomfortable truth we uncovered in our latest QS report, ‘Is Brexit Turning International Students Away From the UK?’, was that for some students, the events on the 27th of June 2016 and the press coverage surrounding the EU referendum result all pointed towards a major red flag; Britain is no longer welcoming to immigrants. In turn, this view has fostered a sense amongst some international students that they too are unwelcome in the UK. Students have cited the spike in hate crimes in the UK following the Brexit result to back this up, and some even held the opinion that British people were caught up in a wave of xenophobia.
Students believe the British higher education system will be ‘downgraded’ following Brexit, with uneven impacts across the sector. During interviews for our Brexit report, many students expressed the view that in a post-Brexit UK, the only universities worth applying to would be the elite, Russell Group institutions. Lower ranked universities, with a less diverse student body and faculty, are likely to lose their appeal. So, whilst universities like Oxbridge, UCL and LSE will maintain their relevance, others which toe the line of such prestige, could be hit hard and are at risk of a significant drop in international applicants. International students contribute greatly to the economy, not only in fees but also through their spending on campus and the local community. Such a prediction could therefore have a detrimental economic impact on universities which do not perform well in the global rankings. Read more
The QS World University Rankings by Subject, by far the richest global measure of higher education performance, have just been published for the seventh time. They contain details of university standing in 46 subjects, four of them new this year.
The subjects analysed in these rankings cover the vast majority of academic teaching and research. The rankings include a total of 13,930 positions, making them a uniquely valuable resource for students seeking the best place to fulfil their educational ambitions.
The four new subjects for 2017 are Anatomy, previously ranked within our overall Medicine ranking; Hospitality and Leisure Management; Sports-related subjects; and Theology, Divinity, and Religious Studies. The addition of Anatomy means that we now rank the Medical and Life Sciences in nine separate categories, ranging from Agriculture to Dentistry. Top for Anatomy are the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, followed by McGill in Canada.
Like our established ranking of the performing arts, our new ranking of Hospitality and Leisure management offers a fascinating glimpse of institutions which would not normally figure in a global university ranking. Number one here is the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, making its only appearance anywhere in these tables. The top 20 also contains six specialist hospitality institutions based in Switzerland.
Our new ranking of Sports-related Subjects assesses both the medical and physiological aspects of sport and its management. Its inclusion reflects the vast professionalisation of sport in recent years. Loughborough in the UK is top of this league. It is the alma mater of many leading UK athletes, and its present and former students collected 34 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics. Sydney and Queensland, both in Australia, take the next two places.
Most of the top universities for Theology, Divinity, & Religious Studies are ancient establishments, often with a history as religious foundations. Our leading institution for religion, Harvard, is even named after a priest, its founder John Harvard.
The methodology remains identical to that used in 2016, allowing a direct comparison with last year’s results. The first two elements we use to produce them are the opinions of academics and employers around the world, using the surveys that are also the core of our overall World University Rankings. The Academic Survey measures which universities are regarded as top for scholarship and research by informed colleagues around the world. Our Employer Survey simply asks where recruiters find the best graduates. We place a higher weight on the opinion of employers who hire graduates in specific disciplines than we do those who hire across the full range of subjects.
To these two measures we add a further two which reward the production of original knowledge. One asks how often papers in specific subjects in the scholarly literature are cited by other researchers around the world, a standard measure of research impact. The other is the H-Index, a measure of the breadth and depth of scholarly publishing. If the University of Xanadu has published 19 papers on chemistry with at least 19 citations each, its H-Index for chemistry is 19.
Our findings confirm the overall world dominance of big, old universities in Europe and North America, but it also contains some surprises. Singapore has two top-10 institutions for Materials Science, confirming the success of Singapore’s heavy investment in this technology. And as in previous years, we find that Cape Town is a world top-10 university for Development Studies. It is one of five South African universities in the top 100 for this subject, and they are joined by institutions in Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mexico and Uganda.
QS Advisory Board
It has been well established that researchers whose first language is not English are at a considerable disadvantage in promoting their work. The likelihood of acceptance by a top international journal is reduced when submissions are poorly written and papers published in other languages tend to be less well-read than those in English.
A new service to be offered by QS and Enago, the leading provider of authorship services for the global research community, will offer a solution. Improved success rates should benefit individual researchers and universities, who will feel the benefit of increased citation counts in rankings.
Since 2005, Enago has worked with more than 100,000 researchers in at least 125 countries, improving the communication of their research and helping them to achieve success in international publications. The company has offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Istanbul, and New York, and operates globally, with regional teams supporting researchers locally.
Under this collaboration, authors worldwide can access Enago’s range of pre-submission editing services. Three levels of collaboration are available, ranging from straightforward language checking to copy-editing and more substantive review.
Papers submitted for the copy-editing service will be returned free from language errors and suitable for publication in SCI indexed journals. The premium editing service is tailored to high-impact, peer-reviewed international journals, focusing on the logic, structure and presentation of manuscripts as well as all aspects of copy editing.
Jason Newman, Global Commercial Director of the QS Intelligence Unit, said: “QS has always advised higher education institutions to improve their international research output as part of overall internationalization and we are pleased to now offer comprehensive support by partnering with Enago. We encourage the importance of publishing cutting-edge research and opinions from across the globe, and are happy that we are now able to increase our support for our partner universities.”
Rajiv Shirke, Vice President for Global Operations at Enago, said: “Enago is delighted to be collaborating with a forward-thinking organization like QS to improve universities’ research output. Having easy access to the manuscript preparation services provided by Enago will not only accelerate the process of publishing high-impact research but also ensure that specific author needs are taken care of during the editorial process.”
Full details are available at https://www.enago.com/qs/
Two major events to be organized by QS in the next few months extend the company’s higher education activities beyond rankings.
The first is the new edition of the highly successful EduData Summit, which attracted speakers and delegates from world-leading universities to London last year to discuss the ways in which big data could benefit teaching and research.
This year’s theme is How is Data Transforming Education?” The two-day event will begin on June 12 at London’s Congress Centre, with a separate rankings masterclass taking place on June 14. Places can be reserved at http://www.edudatasummit.com/home, where full details of the programme can be found.
Dr Sam Nielsen, Director of the Strategic Intelligence Unit at Queensland University of Technology, said the summit should be a priority for anyone wishing to learn from data innovators and strategic planners at leading universities. “QUT was proud to be the gold sponsor of the inaugural EduData Summit and is excited to participate in 2017,” he added.
Among the speakers will be Professor Max Lu, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, on the uses of strategic information for competitive advantage. Among the other sessions will be one in which representatives of Cornell, MIT, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and Yale discuss the uses of comparative data at leading US universities. There will also be speakers from the UK Higher Education International Unit, Australia’s Group of Eight, and the Russell Group.
Kevin Kelly, Associate Director, Global Strategy & Initiatives, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “In only its first year, the EduData Summit was the perfect event to meet and network with like-minded university administrators who similarly care about using data as a catalyst for change and improvement at their universities.”
The second event, to be held at the Wharton Business School in December, celebrates advances in pedagogy and features a range of awards for innovative teaching around the world. The conference, now in its fourth year, was the first to introduce international awards for teaching in higher education, recognising the shortcomings of rankings in this area.
Last year’s Reimagine Education conference attracted more than 400 delegates from over 40 countries. About 240 were from universities, schools and other education providers, while the rest were from the growing educational technology industry.
QS is still accepting submissions for the Reimagine Education Awards, whether focused on specific subjects, originating from different regions across the world, or examining educational styles ranging from all-digital to face-to-face. Those keen to examine the fundamental educational transformations taking place across the world are invited to book their place at the conference itself, which will take place from December 3 to 5. Full information on the conference and the awards can be found at http://www.reimagine-education.com
The 14th edition of the QS World University Rankings will be published later this year. While the overall shape of the publication will be familiar to almost anyone reading these words, there is one big change.
We have decided to publish this year’s Rankings in the first full week of June, thus breaking with our long-established practice of releasing the Ranking in September.
There are a number of reasons for the change, which has been discussed and approved by the Global Academic Advisory Board for the rankings. One important consideration is that September is a crowded time for academics and students as they return from the summer, at least in the Northern hemisphere. We want potential students to have enough time to make use of our work.
Despite this new timetable, there is still time for academics reading this to influence this essential resource for millions of students. Our annual survey of academic opinion is open and you are welcome to apply to take part. Get started here:
Complete, accepted responses will be used for the World University Rankings and for other QS publications such as our rankings by subject.
The 2017 rankings will use the same six criteria used for earlier rankings: academic and employer opinion, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty member, and international faculty and students. But there is one change, intended to augment the quality of our citations measure. In past years, we have used a five-year data window for both our publishing and citations metric. From now on, we will be using publications data for five years with a one-year time lag, in this case from 2011 to 2015, and citations for six years, 2011-2016 in the present year.
We are making this change because few papers are cited when they are very new. Thus, the five years of citations we have hitherto used were in fact little better than four. This change will enhance the validity of the findings, allowing new and transformative research the time necessary to see itself disseminated throughout the academic community. In particular, it will increase our awareness of citations in subjects outside the sciences and medicine. The arts, humanities and social sciences often have a much slower citations cycle than these fast-moving, publish-or-perish fields.
QS may be best-known for its rankings, but its activity in the higher education sphere goes far beyond this. This edition of Higher Education World features some of them, as well as reporting on a dramatic change of publication schedule for the company’s main rankings.
That change will make the QS World University Rankings available three months earlier than normal. Martin Ince reports on the new date and the reasons for the switch.
Rankings are only one manifestation of the growing role that data plays in global higher education. QS held the first EduData Summit in London last year to provide a forum for discussion on data-driven innovation. We preview the programme for this year’s event, which will take place in June, with places still available, and look ahead to the Reimagine Education conference in December, with its prestigious awards for advances in pedagogy around the world.
Finally, we report on a new agreement between QS and Enago, the leading provider of authorship services for the global research community. The new service will provide assistance to researchers for whom English is a second language.
Executive Member of the QS IU Board
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- QS Graduate Employability Ranking Summit, Seville 2017 – Everything You Missed…
- Brexit and Rising Student Fees: Will International Students Still Be Attracted to Britain?
- What can British Universities do to Reassure International Students That They Are Still Welcome in the UK?
- Students Reveal Brexit is Likely to Have Uneven Impacts on the UK’s Higher Education System