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MIT tops tenth edition of QS World University Rankings

TopUniversities.com/Rankings2013 #QSWUR

“The decline in affordable publicly funded education and the increasing dominance of private institutions means many students may now risk being priced out of a world-class education,” QS head of research Ben Sowter.

London, 10th September 2013

MIT beats Harvard and Cambridge to retain the top spot in the tenth annual QS World University Rankings.

The US takes 11 of the top 20 positions, but its dominance has eroded since the financial crisis. Of the 83 US universities in the top 400, 64 rank lower than in 2007/8.

The 43 US public universities in the top 400 have lost an average of 20 places since 2007/8, following successive government funding cuts.

In contrast, 70% of the 62 Asian institutions in the top 400 rank higher than in 2007, yet still no Asian institution in the top 20.

Global highlights:
 -    International student intake up 9% at top 100 universities
 -    US takes top 10 places for research citations
 -    Record survey responses: 62,094 academics and 27,957 employers
 -    800+ universities ranked

Regional highlights:
-     UK: Four institutions in top 10; Oxford and Cambridge 1st and 2nd for employer reputation
-     Australia: Melbourne (31st) catching up with ANU (27th)
-     Asia: National University of Singapore (24th) overtakes University of Hong Kong (26th)
-     Canada: Toronto (17th) overtakes McGill (21st)
-     Continental Europe: ETH Zurich (12th) and EPFL Lausanne (19th=) lead as nine of region’s top 10 maintain or improve position
-     Nordic Countries: University of Copenhagen (45th) leads as twenty rise
-     Latin America: Universidade de São Paulo (127th) leads, nine of region’s top ten rise
-     Africa/ME: 33 in top 800, led by King Fahd University (216th)

Global Top Ten

















































©QS Quacquarelli Symonds TopUniversities.com/Rankings2013


Researchers say austerity measures in the wake of the recession have contributed to an “affordability crisis” for students at leading institutions.

Average annual undergraduate tuition fees in the top 10 are up to a record high of around US$34,000* nearly double the 2007 average of $18,500.

“The decline in affordable publicly funded education and the increasing dominance of private institutions means many students may now risk being priced out of a world-class education,” says QS head of research Ben Sowter.


[1] Excludes financial aid and additional costs.


Media contacts:

Simona Bizzozero [email protected] +447880620856
Vickie Chiu [email protected] +44(0) 2072847292


Notes for the editors

QS Quacquarelli Symonds

Since 1990, QS has become established as the world’s leading network for top careers and education. Producers of the QS World University Rankings®, QS’s innovative research, events, publications and university solutions provide new ways of bringing universities into contact with the best and brightest students worldwide.


QS experts available for interviews

Ben Sowter, head of research
Ben is fully responsible for all major QS research projects and has been actively involved the collection, compilation and analysis of all the data used in the QS World University Rankings since its initial inception in 2004. He is also the co-author of UNESCO publication, “Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses”, a book which showcases the views of twenty academics and university rankers. Ben can offer commentary on the implications of the rankings results for individual countries and insight into possible future trends.

Danny Byrne, editor of TopUniversities.com
Danny is a regular in the higher education conference circuit and a university rankings expert. His articles and opinions have appeared in various international print and online publications. Danny can offer commentary on the rankings results by individual countries. His expertise lies in the UK and US higher education systems. 

John Molony, regional commentator- Australia and New Zealand
John is an international educator with 17 years’ experience in the higher education sector, including seven years as director, executive director and chief officer international at two leading Australian universities. Molony can comment on the rankings results and their implications in connection with Australian and New Zealand universities.

Christina Zhang, regional commentator- China and UK
Christina was voted the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) International Students’ Officer from 2010-2012 and has won many prestigious awards such as “British Council International Student of the Year” and “Female Young Achiever of the Year”. Prior to joining QS, Christina was working in the House of Commons, advising MPs on UK national policies on business and economic affairs as well as supporting the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party BIS (Business, Innovation and Skills) Group. She is an expert on the Chinese higher education system and can also comment on topics related to the needs of international students.

Zoya Zaitseva, regional commentator- Eastern Europe
Zoya has spoken at many higher education conferences in Eastern Europe on the internationalization of the region’s institutions. She has recently organised the first QS Rankosium, a conference aimed at bringing the region’s universities to ‘world class’ standards and also added a Eastern Europe-specific panel at QS APPLE, a conference focused on building academic excellence in Asia. 

Hilol Nag, regional commentator- Middle East and Africa
Hilol is a senior consultant with the QS Intelligence Unit. His expertise lies in comparative higher education systems, analysing policies, issues, challenges and implementation initiatives. He regularly advises universities around the world, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa, on areas such as strategic planning, research strategy, internationalisation, faculty and student recruitment, branding and employer relations.

Martin Juno, regional commentator- Latin America
Martin joined the QS Intelligence Unit in November 2010 and is the key project manager of the QS University Rankings: Latin America. Prior to joining QS, Martin has worked at Fundación Global (Global Foundation), a prestigious think-tank based in Argentina for almost 10 years as an economic researcher and analyst, leading several research projects and outreach programs.


External commentators

John O’Leary
John is an executive member of the QS Global Academic Advisory Board and has been involved in the World University Rankings since their establishment in 2004. He is a UK-based education journalist, editor of the Times Good University Guide and formerly editor of Times Higher Education Supplement and education editor of The Times.

Martin Ince
Martin is the convenor of the QS Global Academic Advisory Board. He is a British science and education journalist who has been involved in the World University Rankings since 2004. He was formerly deputy editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement and advises universities in Europe and Asia on rankings issues.


QS World University Rankings ®

Now in their 10th edition, the 2013/14 QS World University Rankings will rank the world’s top 800 universities (out of over 3,000 considered) adding 100+ new universities into the current list of the world’s best institutions.

The QS World University Rankings is made up of six indicators: academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), faculty student ratio (20%), citations per faculty (20%), international students (5%) and international faculty (5%).  This year, 62,094 academic and 27,957 employer responses contributed towards the results, making both surveys the largest of their kind in the world.

Compiled by the QS Intelligence Unit in close consultation with an international advisory board of leading academics, the QS World University Rankings ® is widely referenced by prospective and current students, university professionals and governments worldwide. The purpose of the rankings has been to recognize universities as the multi-faceted organizations they are and to provide a global comparison of their success against the notional mission of remaining or becoming world-class. The rankings are based on four key pillars, research, teaching, employability and internationalization.


Scopus Database from Elsevier

QS Rankings use citation data from Scopus which is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality Web sources. Its unique database contains abstracts and references from over 18,000 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers, ensuring broad interdisciplinary coverage. Scopus is a trusted source of bibliometric data, also used by many other organisations including: the OECD, the Australian Research Council, iFQ ( Institut für Forschungsinformation und Qualitätssicherung) and ISTEP (National Institute of Science and Technology Policy of Japan).


Global impact of the QS World University Rankings

IREG approved

QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the first compiler of global and regional university rankings to receive the “IREG Approved” label for three of its research outputs. The International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) Executive Committee, at its meeting in Warsaw on 15th May 2013, decided to grant to QS the rights to use the “IREG Approved” label in relation to the following three rankings: QS World University Rankings, QS University Rankings: Asia, and QS University Rankings: Latin America. More information on its correct usage is available here.


The Global Innovation Index

The QS World University Rankings has been chosen as one of the new indicators added to The Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII), released on July 1st 2013. The QS ranking is the only ranking of its kind to be used for the study.  The GII, now in its 6th edition, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations).  The annual report consists of a ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results.

The Bank of Communication Sea Turtle Index

The Bank of Communications Sea Turtle Index was developed and produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which benchmarks the potential returns—academic, financial and social—on an international undergraduate education in 80 cities worldwide. These were chosen first by clustering the top 300 universities from the QS World University Rankings into major cities, allowing for richer data and greater regional diversity in results. EIU analysts then used OECD statistics on the percentage of international students going to each country to decide on the number of cities to feature per country.

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