By James Poole
Durham University has held on to its status as a world top 100 university in the prestigious Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, despite falling two places from 90th to joint 92nd with the University of Auckland.
In results published today, Durham University ranked far behind fellow Russell Group universities such as the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London, which both ranked joint second, as well as the University of Oxford, which ranked fifth.
Many other UK universities made significant advances in the QS rankings as King’s College London and the Universities of Manchester, Warwick and Sheffield each climbed three places whilst Queen Mary University of London rose an astonishing seventeen places from 115th to 98th.
However, Durham University was also placed 25th in the world for employer reputation following a survey of 27, 900 blue-chip employers world-wide.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology topped the rankings for the third year running.
Durham University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Tom Ward, said:
“Once again the latest rankings demonstrate the strength of the innovative research-led education that our departments provide for students, combined with a unique student experience in our College system that enables students to lead their own extra-curricular activities in sports, the arts, volunteering and outreach.
“This allows students to develop the key skills valued by top employers, such as leadership, critical thinking and entrepreneurship, alongside their academic learning with some of the world’s finest researchers across arts and humanities, the sciences and social sciences.
“It is this experience that makes our graduates the most sought after in the world.”
Despite Durham University’s wide publication of its world top 100 status, the QS rankings have recently come under attack from leading experts amid concerns over their credibility.
In June 2012, Simon Marginson, a professor of higher education at the University of Melbourne, claimed that the rankings “are not sufficiently robust to provide data valid as social science” whilst Professor David Blanchflower argued in an article published in the New Statesman that “the results are based on an entirely flawed methodology that underweights the quality of research and overweights fluff [academic reputation].”
The release of the QS World University Rankings follows the publication of the 2015 Complete University Guide in May which saw Durham University rank fifth overall in the UK with all of its courses securing a place in the top ten.
Photograph: Venus Loi