Qatar’s national university has jumped 44 spots in an international ranking of top varsities around the world.
Qatar University (QU) is now 349th in the latest edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, which came out this week.
The numbers reflect the 2018 edition of the index. QU rose from 393rd in the 2017 rankings, and 481st in 2016.
QU also ranked fourth in the GCC and fifth in the Arab region.
The top-rated universities in the Gulf were King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (173rd) and King Saud University (221st). Both are located in Saudi Arabia.
The QS World University Rankings 2018 takes into consideration some 4,000 universities when compiling its rankings. They are scored on six indicators:
- Academic reputation (40 percent),
- Employer reputation (10 percent),
- Citations per faculty (20 percent),
- Student to faculty ratio (20 percent),
- International faculty (5 percent); and
- International students (5 percent).
Among the factors that boosted QU’s score were a high number of faculty staff with PhDs, the university’s research focus and large international student body.
In a statement, QU President Dr. Hassan Al Derham said the results reflect “the high quality education that Qatar University offers to its students and the alignment of its academic programs with the needs of the local labor market.”
“This also reflects that our graduates are capable to excel and compete in the local and international labor market, as well as to pursue their graduate studies at the top international universities,” he added.
Questions over quality
However, just how well the QS rankings reflect university quality is up for debate.
The index has been criticized in previous years because it relies on online reputation surveys that end up accounting for some 50 percent of a school’s score.
According to a study by a UK-based higher education think tank in December, these types of surveys are dubious at best.
“They are flawed methodologically, as effectively they only measure research performance and the results favor a small number of institutions,” the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) said.
However, QU is also listed among the world’s top universities by the Times Higher Education‘s index, which are based on different criteria.