By Luke Power
Durham University has maintained its position in the world’s top 100 universities, according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings released on 9 June, which places Durham at 86th.
This constitutes a drop of eight places from the 2020 rankings, and is Durham’s lowest ranking since 2015, though it still places Durham 12th out of the United Kingdom universities.
In response, Durham have praised “the amazing talent and dedication of our staff and students.”
Durham performed impressively in the Employer Reputation unit. After over 52,000 employers worldwide contributed to the measure, Durham came in 9th out of the 66 UK universities ranked, and 51st globally.
The university also gained credit for the international diversity of its faculty staff.
Overall, it was a disappointing set of results for UK universities. Almost 75% of UK universities fell in the rankings in this latest instalment, bringing about the worst performance since the table began.
Ben Sowter, QS Director of Research, explained that the ongoing fall experienced by UK institutions stems partly from the fact that they have expanded too quickly in recent years.
“Increases in student numbers need to come alongside sufficient increases in student capacity, without which there is an increased likelihood that teaching quality will suffer,” he said.
The faculty staff-student ratio is a unit in many UK universities performed weakly, and is the unit that Durham got their worst score in.
Sowter also attributed the recent decline of European and American institutions to increasing investment in higher education in other parts of the world. Indeed, Asian universities have seen a notable rise to their best-ever performance. 26 universities from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan make the top 100.
That said, American and British universities still comprise 17 of the top 20: Oxford (5th), Cambridge (7th), Imperial College London (8th), University College London (10th), and Edinburgh (20th) all feature in the top 20, though Massachusetts Institute of Technology are in the enviable position of
having retained 1st place for a ninth consecutive year.
Image: Ian Mathieson