World University Rankings 2020-21 | Indicators and Statistics

World University Rankings is an annual publication by Times Higher Education (THE) magazine. The magazine had collaborated with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) to publish the joint THE-QS World University Rankings. Moreover, the publication comprises the world’s overall, subject, and reputation rankings. Besides, it’s establishment took place alongside three regional league tables, Asia, Latin America, and BRICS & Emerging Economies generated by different weightings. Evidently, the world university rankings are one of the most popular university rankings. It is one of the most popular rankings alongside the Academic Ranking of World Universities and QS World University Rankings. As a result, it garnered praises for having a new, improved ranking methodology. 

Indicators of World University Rankings 

The world university rankings depend on various indicators. Therefore, these indicators additionally help in ranking universities as a top university.

Let’s have a look at these indicators which makes a university ranking high. 

  • Teaching

The most relevant factor for any student or subject is the teaching environment of the university clearly. The rankings have its basis on the fact that the quality of teaching at a university seeks prediction on the quality of its research. The five performance indicators measure the teaching metric. It is 

  1. A reputation survey 
  2. The ratio of staff to students 
  3. The ratio of doctorate students to undergraduate students
  4. The number of doctorates awarded per academic staff, and
  5. Institutional income

In other words, these give an indication of the resources and teaching environment which directly affect students. 

  • Research 

A good teacher necessarily does not make a good researcher. Nonetheless, the quality and volume of research at an institution Is relevant to you if you are seeking the best academic experience. Also, you’ll benefit both intellectually and practically if you have the opportunity to learn from leading researchers. Furthermore, it will help you to learn about the research and also pick up essential intellectual skills that will serve you your whole life. The three performance indicators do the research metric’s measurement. It is 

  1. reputation survey, which shows how academic peers perceive the university research 
  2. research income, which indicates the importance and quality of research, and
  3. research productivity, which indicates the publication of high-quality research by academics at the institution.


  • Citation 

The quality of research depends upon its impact. While, all kinds of research aim to be important and influential. So, the effect of research influence is similar to the effect of research quality on your university experience. The greater the number of citations will help you engage with scholars who are leading and expanding the discussions in the field. Thus, the research impact reflects on how much an institution contributes to the worldwide project. Moreover, this contribution is a source of pride for both academics and students.

  • Industry income 

The industry income is relevant for science, engineering, business and technology subjects. Also, this indicator is becoming a priority for students and hence, crucial for world university rankings. It determines the commercial impact of an institution’s research, which is itself a reflection of the industrial value of the research. Consequently, if you prioritise the real-world application of technological research, the industry income indicator is of fundamental importance. 

  • International prospect

World-leading universities are competing and attracting students from across the world. International prospect is one of the major indicators of world university rankings. Also, it is an indicator relevant both to international and domestic students. There are three factors that measure the international prospect. 

  1. international to domestic student ratio
  2. international to domestic staff ratio, and 
  3. the proportion of research that involves international collaboration.

The benefits of an international environment on campus remain open-minded discussions and developing cross-cultural relations. 

Statistics of World University Rankings 

Moreso, according to the data, the University of Oxford ranks in the first place. It is for the fourth time in a row that the University of Oxford ranks top position. Alternatively, Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Imperial College London all appear in the top ten. Mainland China provides Asia’s top two universities, Tsinghua and Peking universities at 23rd and 24th place respectively. Clearly, the US well represents among the global elite. Perhaps, Europe and Italy’s top institutions all make headway among the elite top 200. Also, several new regions joined the rankings this year. These are Brunei, Cuba, Malta, Montenegro, Puerto Rico and Vietnam to name a few.