TCD Falls in Latest QS Rankings

Rónán Burtenshaw


Trinity College Dublin has dropped two places in the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, falling from 65th to 67th. Despite this it remains the highest ranked Irish college and the only one in the top one hundred.

The QS world rankings are based on six indicators: academic peer review (40%); faculty-student ratio (20%); citations per faculty (20%); recruiter review (10%); and international orientation (10%). The data used for assessment comes partly from QS’ own surveys and research, and partly from Scopus’ bibliographic database of academic journals and citations.

Quacquarelli Symonds is a London-based company that facilitates students to study abroad. It collaborated with the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) to produce a joint World University Rankings from 2004 until 2009, when the two organisations began producing their own tables.

Trinity rose to its highest point in 2009’s THES-QS rankings coming in joint 43rd, after breaking into the top fifty for the first time with a 49th place in 2008. The latest result signifies a continuance of the decline the college has seen in the tables since 2010, when it was ranked 53rd.

Four of Trinity’s departments ranked in the top 50 worldwide for their discipline: English, Language & Literature (14th); History (38th); Geography (40th); and Politics & International Studies (45th). A further fourteen departments scored in the top 100.

The Provost, Patrick Prendergast, responded to the QS rankings results by saying it “confirms Trinity’s position as Ireland’s premier university”. “Notwithstanding these combined achievements, the cuts in funding and increased investments made by our global competition, continue to have a direct impact on the rankings,” he said, adding that “Ireland deserves a university that is in the top 50 worldwide. We owe it to our country’s international standing to achieve this again, and we are determined to do so.”

University College Dublin (131st), Queen’s University Belfast (166th) and University College Cork (190th) are the other Irish universities in the top 200, with NUI Galway in 287th place. Dublin Institute of Technology was ranked in the 451-500 range, with NUI Maynooth was in the 501-550 range.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology overtook Cambridge (2nd) and Harvard (3rd) to be the world’s top ranked university. The top 10 in the rankings contained exclusively American and British universities, as has been the case since 2005 when Paris’ École Polytechnique was ranked 10th.

The world launch for the QS rankings this year was today in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute on Pearse Street. Trinity’s QS results are likely to come as a blow to College, which launched its ambitious Global Relations strategy on Monday. The rankings tables are seen as particularly relevant to international students, who use them as comparative metrics to assess prospective colleges across national borders.