Development & Alumni Relations Office 


08 June 2018

The latest QS University World Rankings (issued 06.06.18) have placed Queen’s University Belfast at No.180 – a climb of 22 places and a move back into the prestigious Top 200 of worldwide universities for 2019.

In a University communication in which he thanked staff for the role they played in the achievement, Queen’s Acting President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor James C McElnay, stated: “Rankings are important for our reputation as a university and are particularly significant for student recruitment, especially in our international markets, with many funding agencies only supporting student study at a top 200 institution. 

“Our new position is therefore very welcome news as we continue to move forward in delivering our strategic priorities.”

The fifteenth edition of the QS World University Rankings, released by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, sees MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) holding on to the top spot for a record seventh consecutive year.

Regarded as one of the most prestigious international listings and widely read around the world, the system assesses over 4,000 institutions, from 88 different countries and ranks the world’s top 1,000.

The rankings are based on the expert opinions of more than 80,000 academics, 43,000 employers, as well as an analysis of 13m research papers and 67m citations to measure the impact of the research produced by those universities ranked.

A particular area of strength for Queen’s during the current review period has been an increase in the number of citations per member of academic staff.

In last year’s listings, Queen’s dropped out of the Top 200, falling from the 195th best-ranked university in the world (where it had been in 2016/17) to 202nd, so this latest upward movement is being warmly welcomed.

There are 76 UK universities in the 2019 rankings of which the University of Oxford (at #5) is the highest ranked. Forty-one improved position while 14 remained in the same place compared with last year.

Queen’s is now ranked 28th among UK universities in the overall QS listing and is second on the island of Ireland only to Trinity College Dublin which sits just outside the Top 100 at No. 104, but ahead of University College Dublin (#193), NUI Galway (#260) and Ulster University (#601-650). 

But the table’s compilers warned that rising class sizes and the UK’s falling popularity among overseas students could harm the higher education sector in the future, especially with Brexit looming.

“Keeping pace is one thing but staying ahead of the curve is a testament to the innovation, insight, capacity for collaboration, and thought-leadership present at UK universities,” said Ben Sowter, QS’s research director, speaking in The Guardian (07.06.18).

“However, the challenges for the UK’s sector remain, and are perhaps more evident than in previous years. The drops in faculty/student ratio, combined with low contact hours, will lead to increasing scrutiny about the extent to which students are receiving value for money.

“Additionally, the results indicate that the sector is still struggling to convince international students of the country’s desirability in the first post-Brexit years.”

For the full listing visit the 2019 QS world university rankings web page.

General inquiries to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office at Queen’s; tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Image credit: QS World University Rankings

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