Rankings assign scores to institutions all around the world. Given the current movement towards internationalisation in higher education, it is now vitally important that institutions profile themselves in the international education market. Whilst their individual methodologies, accuracy and value remain a common topic of debate, interest in the type of information these rankings provide has seen a significant rise in recent years. Below you'll find a description of six important rankings and their methodology, as well as links to their published results.
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Times Higher Education World University Rankings
The University of Amsterdam is ranked 83rd in the 2013-14 THE World University Rankings. Seven other Dutch universities are listed in the top 100, and almost all Dutch universities can be found in the top 200.
Furthermore, the UvA is included in three of the six THE top 100 sub-rankings for each academic discipline: Social Sciences (34, highest ranked Dutch university), Arts and Humanities (41), Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health (64).
The ranking methodology was developed using 13 performance indicators. These indicators fall into five categories with different weightings in the final ranking score: citations (30%), research (30%), teaching (30%), international outlook (7.5%), and industry income (2.5%). The same indicators are used in the rankings by academic discipline, but are adjusted for each discipline.
QS World University Rankings
In the 2013-14 QS Rankings, the UvA is ranked 58th overall, the highest-ranked Dutch university on the list. In three of the five rankings per domain, the UvA is listed in the top 75: Social Sciences & Management (48), Arts & Humanities (50), Life Sciences & Medicine (58). With Natural Sciences ranked 116th and Engineering and Technology 159th, all domains at the UvA are included in the top 200.
The QS World University Rankings ranks the top 700 universities in the world and is based on scores for the quality of research (citations and peer review), student-to-faculty ratio, the proportion of international students and faculty, and the reputation of institutions among employers. Compared to other well-known rankings, the QS rankings are heavily based on reputation (among academic peers and employers, adding up to 50% of the total ranking score) and less on quantitative research output data.
In addition to the World University Rankings, QS publishes an annual ranking by subject in which universities are compared based on specific areas of study. Communication and Media Studies at the UvA took 7th place in the global rankings. Four areas of study at the UvA were placed in the top 20 worldwide: Linguistics, Psychology, Sociology and Geography, and Planning & Development Studies. Ten other subject areas at the UvA are included in the top 50 worldwide.
Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking)
In 2013, the UvA is listed in the 101-150 group in the worldwide top 500 ARWU ranking. Alongside this general ranking, top 200 ARWU rankings are established for five fields and five subjects. The UvA is included in four of the five field rankings: Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy (43), Social Sciences (50), Natural Sciences and Mathematics (101-150), and Life and Agricultural Sciences (151-200). The UvA is also listed in three of the subject rankings: Physics (51-75), Economics (51-75) and Computer Science (76-100).
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is also a global ranking published annually by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (which is why it is also known as the Shanghai Ranking). Institutions are ranked according to the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals awarded to staff members and alumni and the number of citations and articles in Nature and Science.
The CWTS Leiden Ranking is based on data from the Web of Science bibliographic database produced by Thomson Reuters. The ranking includes the 750 universities worldwide with the largest publication output in this database.
The ranking allows for comparison of universities on the basis of a number of research indicators. In the 2014 ranking, the UvA ranked 76th in terms of the average number of citations of UvA publications (normalised for field and publication year). Fourteen per cent of UvA publications are among the 10% most frequently cited publications in their field each year (81st in the ranking). The UvA also scores well on collaborative articles: 82% of UvA publications have been co-authored with one or more other organisations (89th in the ranking). Over half of all UvA publications have been co-authored with an organisation in another country.
In the rankings by field, the UvA is ranked in the top 100 in five of the seven fields - placing 46th in the social sciences, for example - based on the average number of citations of UvA publications (normalised for field differences and publication year).
The German Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) has developed rankings that are established very differently from the rankings mentioned above.
The University Ranking mainly evaluates Bachelor's programmes in Germany and a number of neighbouring countries. The UvA has participated in the rankings of the following subject areas: Biology, English, History, Computer Science, Physics, Educational Sciences, Psychology, Romance Languages and Cultures, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
The CHE rankings differ in a number of ways from the rankings mentioned earlier:
- Rankings are not compiled for universities in their entirety.
- There is no absolute ranking. In the University Ranking, programmes are divided into ‘top', ‘middle' and ‘bottom' groups for each criterion. In the Excellence Ranking, only the best programmes are listed and the strong points of the programmes are highlighted.
- The ranking is multidimensional; the user can compare programmes by those criteria that are important to him/her.
- The ranking is compiled on the basis of both factual data and students' judgements.