Student Faculty Ratio is, at present, the only globally comparable and available indicator that has been identified to address the stated objective of evaluating teaching quality. We view this indicator as a proxy for the learning and teaching environment of an institution. More faculty members per student ought to mean more resources for teaching, curriculum development, supervision, lab work, marking, and pastoral support. Whilst it is no replacement for a qualitative classroom evaluation as might be considered for a domestic teaching assessment, it does speak to the notion of “commitment to teaching”.
For the calculation of this indicator, QS gathers two distinct datasets:
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students
QS requests an array of data pertaining to students, much of which supports university profiles on this website, much of which may be used in the future to enrich the rankings metrics, but at present, the total student numbers are first drawn from the addition of separate undergraduate and postgraduate numbers supplied to us. Where this data is unavailable or incomplete, total student numbers are used.
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) faculty
Faculty numbers used are totals. Whilst it would be ideal to separate the notions of teaching and research and use the former for calculating this indicator and the latter for the Citations per Faculty indicator, it has not been possible to do so as data to that degree of distinction has so far proved unavailable for many countries in the study. The definition of exactly what data we request has evolved gradually over the years to minimize ambiguity.
Student Faculty Ratio is a commonly used measure in many evaluations and rankings around the world. There are countless different ways to do it. In the UK, for example, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), compile the results of a very detailed Student Faculty Ratio, but the underlying data is more sophisticated than that available in many other countries.
QS sources data not only directly from institutions themselves but also from government ministries, agencies such as HESA, web sources and other third-parties. Where possible data are checked against multiple sources to verify their authenticity.
See Links & Data Sources for more information.