QS Classifications refined to embrace age dimension for 2011 and beyond

First seen alongside the 2009 edition of the QS World University Rankings® the QS Classifications have become part of the annual fabric. In 2010 we evolved the notation to be a little more versatile and (we hope) intuitive, and in 2011 we have added a fourth dimension – that of age.

These classifications were initially inspired by the far more sophisticated Carnegie Classification system familiar to those with knowledge of higher education in the US. The inclusion of the age dimension was inspired by some fascinating work we have conducted this year on the influence of institutional age on development trajectory and performance in international evaluations.

The age dimension breaks down like this:

Age
5 Historic >= 100 years old
4 Mature < 100 years old
3 Established < 50 years old
2 Young < 25 years old
1 New < 10 years old

Age is currently determined by largely self-submitted data on foundation year. We are aware that there can be some ambiguity here – is foundation year the year a foundation stone was laid for the first university building; the year the institution got university status; the date of the last merger that led to the institution taking its present shape; the year of first student intake; or the year the first cohort graduated. We will be working with our system and institutions themselves to refine this measure over the coming months.

The complete methodology for the classifications is available here.