Around 10 years ago, a young French woman was complaining of her father-in-law:
‘He refused to pay for his son’s education and he went to a mediocre university. Now he makes 2,000 euros a month but it could have been 4,000 if only he had gone to Sorbonne.
At that time, similar problems were unknown to people in this country. If you had a degree, you were able to find a job no matter which university you graduated from. However, differentiation of universities is not a myth. It has become a reality for us as well.
Applying for a university, applicants choose not only the quality of education but also the quality of life they will have in the future. It is no wonder that many applicants ask themselves a question: which university will help me get the most out of education? The answer is in university rankings that evaluate the quality of university degrees either around the world or in a particular country. Some of the most famous world university rankings are Academic Ranking of World Universities (also known as Shanghai Ranking), Times Higher Education and The QS World University Rankings
The methodology of Academic Ranking of World Universities was developed in 2003 by N.C Liu and Y Cheng. Since the ranking was first compiled and issued by the Institute of Higher Education in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, it was called ‘Shanghai Ranking’. Working on the assignment of the Chinese government, researchers had to evaluate the level of Chinese universities and compare them to world universities in terms of academic performance and research quality. That is why Shanghai Ranking is primarily based on research held in universities:
It is important to note that Shanghai ranking does not take into account quality of instruction or university’s popularity in the world. They also neglect factors that can prevent staff of certain universities from publishing their papers in major scientific journals. These factors include author’s social background or quality of life in their country. It explains why Ukrainian universities have never been mentioned in Shanghai ranking.
In 2004 the company Quacquarelli Symonds together with the weekly magazine Times Higher Education developed another university ranking called The World University Rankings. Since 2010 the ranking was split in two: Times Higher Education in collaboration with Thomson Reuters issues The World Reputation Rankings while Quacquarelli Symonds conducts extensive education research and publishes the results as QS World University Rankings.
Times Higher Education has the methodology similar to the one used by Shanghai Ranking, focusing primarily on universities’ scientific achievements. However, due attention is paid to the instruction itself. The ranking is based on 13 criteria divided into 5 groups:
Although Times Higher Education takes into consideration various criteria, their main focus is still on research rather than instruction quality. In 2015 Ukrainian universities were mentioned in the ranking for the first time. The decision was made to list 800 universities instead of 400 and Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv as well as Karazin Kharkiv National University have been included in the category 601-800.
QS World University Rankings is considered one of the most reputable and influential university rankings in the world. It is based on 6 criteria:
Out of all the university rankings discussed, QS pays the greatest attention to instruction quality. However, QS is criticized for its biased attitude towards American universities. Academic and recruiter surveys, as a rule, are held in the USA, as a result, American universities score an advantage.
QS World University Rankings often mention Ukrainian universities. Last year their ranking included Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Karazin Kharkiv National University, the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, Donetsk National University, the National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute”, Sumy State University.
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