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QS World University Rankings 2023

The QS World University Rankings offer an in-depth and definitive ranking of universities across the world. We analyse and evaluate the 2023 edition for you.

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The release of the QS World University Rankings is always a significant and anticipated day in the life of any prospective international student. It's the day universities from around the world get their final exam results and ranking for the year. While some of the 1,400 universities on this year’s rankings will be familiar to you, you may also be surprised by the strong performance of institutions in Europe and Asia. Let’s take a closer look and analyse the rankings for 2023.


How are the rankings compiled?


Universities are evaluated based on six criteria, which QS call ‘Indicators’. These categories examine the performance of a university and award an overall ranking. The six categories the rankings are based on are:


  • Academic reputation – This indicator is all about how good the teaching and research are at a university. It makes up 40 per cent of the overall ranking score.
  • Faculty to student ratio – This criterion is used to evaluate how many academic and faculty staff there are available for the number of students. A lower ratio of students to staff usually means more personalised attention, support, and interaction.
  • International student ratio – This measures how diverse an institution is. It shows that a university can attract student talent from across the world and has a global outlook.
  • International staff ratio – The number of staff from international backgrounds is an indication of academic quality, research collaboration and a commitment to a diverse range of views.
  • Employer reputation – This indicator measures how a university is rated by prospective employers. A high score is an endorsement of the knowledge and skills of students nurtured by a university.
  • Citations per faculty – This criterion measures how well a university does in terms of research and innovation. It's an indicator of academic health.


What do the QS World University Rankings 2023 reveal?


Which universities are in the top 10?


The top spot for 2023 was once again taken by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university received a perfect score of 100. This marks the 11th year running that the US-based institution came out on top. 


The University of Cambridge jumped one spot to take the silver medal place, with Stanford University in third and the University of Oxford dropping two spots to fourth. Rounding out the top five was another world-famous Ivy League university in the USA, Harvard University.


Universities in the USA and the UK dominate the top 10 of the rankings, with five and four institutions respectively. Challenging the trend is Switzerland’s top university, ETH Zurich, which was the only non-US or UK member of the coveted top ten. The top ten rankings for 2023 are:


  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
  2. University of Cambridge (UK)
  3. Stanford University (USA)
  4. University of Oxford (UK)
  5. Harvard University (USA)
  6. California Institute of Technology (USA)
  7. Imperial College London (UK)
  8. University College London (UK)
  9. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  10. University of Chicago (USA)


Discover how you can use rankings to compare universities.


Which universities are in the top 25?


One of the most significant developments in this year’s rankings is the performance of universities in Asia, notably in China and Singapore. For the first time, two universities from China placed in the world’s top 15, namely Peking University (12) and Tsinghua University (14). 


Further, the National University of Singapore (NUS) held strong for the 11th spot, as they did in 2022, and Nanyang Technological University ranked 19th. The universities ranked number 11 to 25 on the rankings for 2023 are:


11. National University of Singapore (Singapore)
12. Peking University (China)
13. University of Pennsylvania (USA)
14. Tsinghua University (China)
15. The University of Edinburgh (UK)
16. EPFL (Switzerland)
17. Princeton University (USA)
18. Yale University (USA)
19. Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
20. Cornell University (USA)
21. The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR)
22 Columbia University (USA)
23. University of Tokyo (Japan)
24. Johns Hopkins University (USA)
25. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (USA)


What about the top 50?


The top 50 universities in the rankings illustrate a strong performance by universities in the UKUSACanada, and Australia. The USA boasts 13 universities in the top 50, the UK eight, Australia five and Canada three. The top three ranked institutions for Australia are:


  1. The Australian National University (30)
  2. The University of Melbourne (33)
  3. The University of Sydney (41)


For Canada, the top three are:


  1. McGill University (31)
  2. Toronto University (34)
  3. University of British Columbia (47)


Another notable change in the rankings for 2023 was the increased rating for Australian university research, with more than 70 per cent of institutions improving their score. UK universities emerged strongly for their international focus and research collaboration, with an overall average that is 30 per cent higher than any other study destination.


Remember that rankings are a great way to compare, research, and shortlist potential universities. They can give you a great idea of how strong a study destination’s high education sector is and whether a university would be ideal for the degree you want to study. You can also start looking for your perfect study path using our course matcher tool.



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