Image: Warwick Media Library

Warwick falls eight places in the QS World University Rankings 2020

The University of Warwick has fallen eight places in the QS World University Rankings table for 2020.

Warwick is placed at 62nd in the newly released international table, a fall from 54th in the previous year.

However, the University remained in the top 10 in the UK at 10th place, which is the same position as the year before.

Warwick was placed at 16th amongst universities in Europe, a fall of two places from the 2019 QS table.

The University’s score for academic reputation improved from 73.8 in the 2019 table to 74.4 this year. However, the employer reputation score decreased from 96.1 to 94.1.

For the indicator which measures the ratio of faculty to students, Warwick’s score also decreased. In the 2019 table Warwick was given a score of 62.4, which has dropped to 55.3.

Scores for the indicators measuring how international an institution is remained high, although both fell slightly. In 2019, Warwick was scored 98.4 for the indicator measuring the international faculty ratio and 99.3 for the international student ratio indictor. This fell in the 2020 table to 97.8 and 99.1 respectively.

Warwick’s score for “institutional research quality”, which is measured by QS according to citations per faculty, fell with the University scoring 50.3, a decrease from 56.1 the year before.

UK institutions have fallen in the international university rankings for the third year in the table.

Two-thirds of the 84 UK universities that are ranked in the top 1,000 have dropped, following a similar trend from the years 2016 and 2017.

The QS Director of Research, Ben Sowter said that the declining rankings of British universities were of no surprise to him.

It has also been alleged that Brexit has negatively impacted universities by placing institutions in a position of financial uncertainty. There has been a decrease in British university rankings every year since the Brexit vote.

Two-thirds of the 84 UK universities that are ranked in the top 1,000 have fallen in the table

Other EU universities have narrowed their ranking gap with the UK by 28% since the 2016 European Union Referendum.

Only 12 UK universities rose in their places on the QS league table, including University College London (UCL) and Oxford. UCL claimed eighth place and Imperial College London claimed ninth.

Mr Sowter explained: “For decades, UK higher education has been one of the country’s finest exports to the world. The sector has produced outstanding research, fostered world-class teaching, forged transformational links to industry and welcomed millions of talented young people.

“To ensure that this privileged situation continues, it is essential that those with the power to do so redouble their efforts to improve teaching capacity so as to reduce the burden on passionate but beleaguered academics, reach a clear conclusion about the fee status of EU students post-Brexit and do their utmost to ensure that the UK remains a part of EU research collaboration frameworks into the future.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) stayed at the top for the eighth year running, followed by Stanford University in second and Harvard University in third. Stanford and Harvard’s rankings also remained unchanged.

The US saw its worst-ever overall performance as just 16% of institutions improved their rank.

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore were the top ranked universities in Asia, claiming joint 11th place in the world rankings.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) stayed at the top for the eighth year running, followed by Stanford University in second and Harvard University in third

The University of Cambridge fell from sixth position to seventh since last year’s table, which is the university’s lowest ever ranking. The University of Oxford on the other hand rose in its position from the fifth to the fourth best university internationally.

The decline in research performance is seen as a contributing factor to Cambridge facing a downgrade in worldwide rankings.

Despite their drop, Sowter assured it does not necessitate that Cambridge as an educational institution is struggling.

He said that the drop may merely indicate a rebalance of spending away from its research initiatives and on its teaching instead.

He further stated how this is a strategic move to ensure its legacy of teaching and “highly employable graduates” continues.

The changes within the QS international league table have resulted in ETH Zurich topping Cambridge in the table. This makes the Swiss technical university the second-highest ranked institution in Europe after Oxford.

Those who compile the league table affirm that the top problems for UK is employment ratings, with an average drop of 41 places from 44,000 employers internationally and a fall in the number of students per staff member by 34 places.

Methodology for the QS World University Rankings is based on employer and academic reputation, international staff and students numbers, class sizes, and research output.

The University of Warwick has been contacted for comment.


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