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Study abroad : Applying to University

QS Rankings Vs THE Rankings - what do they have to offer

Choosing a university can be difficult which is why QS and Times Higher Education’s yearly rankings are useful. Take a look at what they both have to offer and how they can help you.

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If you’re considering studying abroad, you may feel there’s too much choice when it comes to how many great universities with interesting courses there are.  


With so many choices, it can be all too easy to feel a little like you have option overload. It’s for this reason that yearly rankings from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education (THE) help students choose between different universities all over the world.  


These rankings don’t claim that any particular university is better than another, instead they allow students to see how each university ranks in certain areas. It’s also important to note that each university will have something different to offer its students. A university may not have a high ranking but it will have other positive qualities.   


Let’s take a look at what the QS and THE rankings have to offer and how you can use the information to help you make decisions about your study abroad future  


QS Rankings 


Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) describe themselves as “the world's leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector”. Their yearly rankings let you “compare the world’s top universities…and explore leading institutions by region and subject”. With so many universities to consider, this can be helpful for students looking to find the right place for them. 



QS World University Rankings 


The QS world rankings judge universities on a variety of factors, giving them a number out of 100. This value is based on eight indicators including; academic reputation, faculty student ratio and international student ratio. These factors highlight where universities do well and where they may need improvement.  


Though there are a great number of reasons to study abroad, it can be a lot to think about. From having to tell your parents to thinking about how much it will cost, there is a lot to consider, therefore being able to view what many of the universities around the world can offer you, can certainly be useful. 


QS World University Rankings by subject 


In many cases, when it comes to applying for university, a student will know what they want to study but just not where they want to study it.  


QS offer the same university world rankings with the option to filter down to particular subjects. This way, you can see the top universities for the course you want to study. Knowing what you want to study is half the battle when applying to university but it can still be difficult if you don’t know what university is right for you.  


Choosing the university that has a course you’re interested in and offers the right student lifestyle that you’re looking for, is often all you need to make this decision. Having rankings online that can help you come to this conclusion is incredibly useful. 


QS Graduate Employability Rankings 


A recent New Horizons report found that the majority of students applying to university are doing so to improve their career prospects. You will want to choose a university that will actively help you find a career in the field of your choice. The QS Graduate Employability Rankings allow students to look at which universities are doing just that.   



Times Higher Education (THE) have “been providing trusted performance data on universities for students and their families, academics, university leaders, governments and industry, since 2004.” With their world rankings, you can look into the top universities and narrow your search down to specific regions and countries.  


This means that once you know the country you want to study in, you can find out what universities are ranking that year, according to THE, and see which may be right for you.





World University Rankings 


Much like the rankings offered by QS, Times Higher Education’s World Rankings take a look at universities all over the globe and ranks them in a number of areas. 


For example, an international student looking to study in Canada can take a look at how certain Canadian universities differ with things like the number of other international students and female to male ratio.  


Though these may seem like minor considerations compared to location and course, they do matter when it comes to the sort of lifestyle you can expect there. If you’re an international student, knowing that there are many other students from abroad at that particular university might make you feel much more comfortable, which is important. 


Impact Rankings 


THE look at how universities are making a difference with their Impact Rankings. This assesses universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and includes categories such as: 


  • gender equality 

  • climate action 

  • reduced inequalities 

  • affordable and clean energy 

  • peace, justice and strong institutions. 


With this tool, a student can look for universities that are in line with their own beliefs and values. For example, if you’re a student that cares about the planet and wants to live in a more environmentally friendly way, it’s only natural that you want the institution you’re studying with to reflect this. 


US College Rankings 


The United States is an extremely popular study destination for international students. Those who want to study in the USA will be pleased to know that there are hundreds of universities to choose from, all with a varying number of international students.  


THE have a US College Rankings which rank US universities against fifteen performance indicator allowing prospective students to compare universities (of which there were over 800 in 2022) and decide which one is better for them. 


Starting on your study abroad journey can be very confusing. Choosing which course and which universities to consider can be difficult. Rankings offer you the opportunity to make choices based on the factors that are important to you.  


If you’re still unsure of how to choose a university, find out more about how to compare them. Our course matcher tool will help you match your course to the right university in the right destination for you.  

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