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Costa Rica Wrangles a Spot in QS University Rankings

London, 27th of May 2014 - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) has overtaken Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo (USP) to top QS University Rankings: Latin America for the first time.  USP slips to second, having ranked first every year since 2011.

Whereas USP is the top institution for research productivity, UC is well ahead when it comes to research impact, measured counting citations per paper.  UC has also improved its student/faculty ratio and its web impact this year.

Martin Juno, QS Intelligence Unit senior analyst, notes that the Universidad de Costa Rica moves up three places to 23rd, making it the highest ranked institution from outside of the region’s dominant five nations: “Institutions from Costa Rica have been demonstrating a good performance in the regional rankings, being the only Central American country with two institutions in the Top 100. Universidad de Costa Rica is to be highlighted as it is consistently performing among the Top 30 in the region, with excellent results in terms of Academic Reputation and Citations per Paper - an indication of a good research quality.”

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) slips two places to 8th, falling behind Tecnológico de Monterrey for the first time.  Despite being rated number one for academic reputation, UNAM has comparatively modest scores in several other indicators.

Universidad de Buenos Aires drops seven places to 19th, having ranked 8th in 2011. Buenos Aires is the region’s most popular institution among graduate employers, but like UNAM suffers from a comparatively poor student/faculty ratio and low proportion of staff with a PhD.

Brazil and Chile have strengthened their dominance this year, with Mexico, Argentina and Colombia struggling to keep up. Brazil has three of the top four institutions and 10 of the top 20, while 16 of the 20 leading Chilean universities have improved their position.

“Universities from Mexico, Argentina and Colombia excel in specific areas, but they currently lack the all-round consistency of the top institutions from Brazil and Chile,” says QS head of research Ben Sowter. “High student-to-faculty ratios are an issue at several major public research institutions throughout the region."

A total of 21 countries can boast at least one institution in this year’s rankings, from Brazil with 88 to El Salvador and Puerto Rico, both with two. Brazil’s tally puts it ahead of Mexico, with 46, followed by Colombia (41), Argentina (34) and Chile (30).



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