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New QS BRICS Ranking reveals emerging world-class universities

The world’s first dedicated ranking of universities in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has identified a cluster of “world class” institutions alongside those that are “emerging”. Results of the first QS University Rankings: BRICS has now been published on TopUniversities.com

The ranking, compiled by the team behind the QS World University Rankings, is the first of its kind to apply a dedicated methodology especially designed to place the featured nations on a more equal footing.

The results are made up of respondents from over 9, 800 academics and employers operating within the nations.

China’s universities dominated the table with 40 universities featured in the top 100, 22 in the top 50 and 4 in the top 5 with Tsinghua University taking first place. Russia saw 19 in the top 100; Brazil saw 17; India saw 16 and South Africa saw 8.


Top 10 QS University Rankings: BRICS

Tsinghua University


Peking University


Lomonosov Moscow State University


Fudan University


Nanjing University


Shanghai Jiao Tong University


University of Science and Technology of China


Universidade de São Paulo (USP)


Zhejiang University



Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)


Source: QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2013 www.TopUniversities.com


Ben Sowter, head of research at QS says: “Just as the economies of these nations themselves, we can see that there is a clear distinction between institutions that are emerging and those that have already emerged onto the global arena. The top ten for academic reputation mirrors the overall results closely, making it clear that these universities are highly regarded by their peers internationally. In time, we believe BRICS nations will have more institutions performing well regionally as well as globally.”

Zoya Zaitseva, project director for QS University Rankings says: “BRICS countries are focussing on developing world-class universities as a strategic priority to sustain the growth of their economies by producing innovation, cutting- edge research and highly qualified and employable graduates. This first ranking reflects the relative strengths of each of these ambitious nations while also highlighting the potential for growth.”

She continues: “It is not surprising that China leads the pack, given the size of its economy and population and the massive resources it has been putting into higher education. As with the QS World University Rankings, this BRICS ranking points to a sharp contrast between Indian and Chinese achievement in higher education. Despite being only marginally smaller in population, India has only 16 institutions listed here, less than half China’s haul. While India has world-class institutions in science and technology, its comprehensive universities are not as strong in an international context”

Sowter adds: “Russia performs well in this ranking and demonstrates great progress as a part of its ambition to have five universities in the global top 100 by 2020. Brazil has two universities in the top 10. There are ambitious plans to expand the number of Brazilian students studying abroad; over time, the result could be a more internationally-integrated Brazilian university system. South Africa’s university system is fast-changing, with new institutions being launched and old ones reformed; its strengths include strong international connections as well as productive and well-regarded researchers. Its universities are consistently good at attracting international students and staff, in line perhaps with its mission of African leadership in higher education”.

Full results and methodology is available on TopUniversities.com.


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 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).

Ben Sowter
Sowter is the Head of Research at QS, QS Intelligence Unit. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Nottingham, where he was also awarded the Union Prize for outstanding contribution to the student union and served as chairman of the Nottingham University Debating Society. Ben is fully responsible for the operational management of all major QS research projects and is actively involved in all the collection, compilation and tabulation of all the data that lead to, amongst others, the World University Rankings research in which he has been involved since its initial inception in 2004. A frequent contributor to the press, Ben’s opinion on global education trends and his expertise is used regularly by major global publications.


Zoya Zaitseva, project director of QS University Rankings: BRICS
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. 
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.


Simona Bizzozero, [email protected], +44(0)7880620856

Vickie Chiu, [email protected], +44(0) 207 284 7292



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