The Importance of Times Higher Education University Rankings To Postgrads

Otherwise known as THE University Rankings, the Times Higher Education University Rankings are important tools that postgraduates can utilise to make informed decisions in regards to future scholastic choices. Such a system has been in place since 2004 and it is considered to be one of the "most influential" in the industry according to The Globe and Mail (1). This list rates and compiles information across a number of different sectors and as hundreds of accredited institutions are rated from across the globe, the sheer volume of data to be encountered is immense. So, let's have a more in-depth look at these rankings and examine some of the benefits that you can experience when analysing their information.

The Number of Universities Rated

What you will first find impressive is that there are never less than 401 different universities from across the globe are ranked. This number many increase or decrease with each evaluation period. So, you will be able to view a top-down assessment of those institutions which are considered to be the best in their respective fields.

THE Rankings What Factors are Assessed Within the Rankings?

Postgraduate students will appreciate the clear-cut way that these institutions are judged. In some ways, you can view the ultimate breakdown much in the same way that a professor would score an essay or an examination. There are 13 unique categories which are collated into 5 different areas. Here is how this system works:

Research (reputation, volume and income): 30%

The teaching environment and the perceived value of learning: 30%

The number of citations the university enjoys (a signal of quality): 30%

International reputation (research, students and staff): 7.5%

Industry innovation (how the university aids an industry with innovations and research): 2.5%

Other statistics which are mentioned include the male-to-female ratio, the student-to-staff proportion, the number of international students and the total number of students enrolled during a given year. 

Still, there are a few points to mention here. A university is NOT found within these rankings if they have published less than 1,000 papers between 2008 and 2012 (less than 200 a year); if only one subject is covered; or if undergraduate students cannot apply.

How is the Data Gathered?

The majority of THE rankings are gathered from the information provided by the institutions themselves upon request. There could be times when low-impact data (such as industry reputation) is not available. In this case, THE rankings neither reward nor penalise the university. So, you can be assured that an extremely balanced approach is taken.

University of Exeter

How Often Are the Rankings Published?

These rankings are published for each successive scholastic year (for example, 2014-2015 or 2015-2016). 

What Can These Rankings Do for You?

The main intention of the Times Higher Education Rankings is to provide you with the clarity and insight needed to make the right decisions at the right times. As opposed to performing a great deal of online research, the most pertinent information is available within a centralised location. Are you considering applying for your postgraduate studies abroad and do you wish to know the number of international students at a particular institution? Perhaps you are interested in enjoying a low teacher-to-student ratio. You might instead be searching to find a university that is heavily focused upon reputable research. These are only three of the variables which can be determined through this ranking system.

One Tool of Many

Never forget that you can always use this information in conjunction with other reputable sources to obtain an even more in-depth perspective before you make your final decision. 
Choosing the correct university for your postgraduate studies is without a doubt one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. So, it makes perfect sense to be as prepared as possible. The Times Higher Education University Rankings are an excellent resource to use when you are looking for the insight and clarity to make the best choices at the right times.

References:  1. Simon Beck and Adrian Morrow (16 September 2010). "Canada's universities make the grade globally". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 

Related Editorial Links

Unofficial Postgraduate Rankings

Official Postgraduate Rankings

 
 
 
 

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