QS World University Rankings 2024

QS World University Rankings 2024

Update on the University's performance in the QS World University Rankings 2024

Dear colleagues,

The QS World University Rankings 2024 were published last night. The University has climbed 12 places to 208th in the world. However, while we have maintained our 4th place in Scotland, our UK rank has fallen by two places to 29th.

The QS ranking methodology has undergone significant changes this year with an increase in the number of metrics from six to nine, along with some adjustment to weightings. The three new metrics are: Employment Outcomes, International Research Network (IRN), and Sustainability.

It is particularly welcome to see that the University has been ranked 21st in the world and 4th in the UK for Sustainability (5% of the overall rank), one of the new metrics introduced this year. This strong result follows on from THE Impact Ranking published on 1 June where we ranked 70th in the world and 18th in the UK, and the QS Sustainability ranking in October 2022 where we placed 64th in the world and 17th in the UK. Our consistently strong performance in this important area of activity reflects the excellent progress which is being made in delivering the University’s sustainability ambitions as set out in Aberdeen 2040.

The University also continues to perform well on metrics relating to international students and staff (a total of 10% of the ranking), with a rank of 77th in the world and 30th in the UK for the former, and a placing of 144th in the world and 27th in the UK for the latter.

The results for research are more mixed. The University has performed relatively well on the new International Research Network metric (5%) which measures collaborative research activity, ranking 180th in the world and 27th in the UK. However, our rank for citations, which continues to account for 20% of the overall rank, and is based on Scopus data for 2017-2022, has continued the downward trend seen in recent years, dropping by 65 places to 322nd in the world, and eight places in the UK to 33rd place. It is worth noting that only five years ago the University ranked 126th in the world and 12th in the UK for citations, and it is therefore imperative that, as part of our research strategy, we take action to reverse this trend, and support academic colleagues in increasing the proportion of high quality work published in leading journals in their field. As part of this, work is already underway to enhance the visibility of our citations data to support Schools in this area of activity.

As in previous years, Academic Reputation is the largest single metric, although the weight has been reduced from 40% to 30%. We have seen a welcome rise of nine places, placing 292nd in the world while retaining our rank of 30th in the UK. We will continue to work with our academic community to encourage engagement with the QS reputational survey.

QS has also introduced a stronger employability focus this year. The weight of Employer Reputation has been increased from 10% to 15% and a new Employment Outcomes metric introduced (5%). The University has fallen 33 places for employer reputation, ranking 302nd in the world, and has also seen a drop of three places in the UK to 31st place. We have ranked 408th in the world and 29th in the UK for Employment Outcomes, as measured by Graduate Outcomes data and a QS Alumni Impact Assessment.

Our UK rank for student-staff ratio (10%) is the strongest it has been for a number of years, with the University rising one place this year and ranking 25th nationally, although it is disappointing to see that globally we have dropped in rank, placing 525th in the world (a drop of 67 places).

While we have seen a very welcome rise in the QS World University Rankings 2024 it is clear that we have more work to do. The QS World University Rankings conclude the league table publications in the current academic year. Overall, our average UK rank has risen from 25.2 in AY 2022/23 to 24.2 in AY 2023/24. The continued year-on-year improvements in our rank is encouraging, particularly given the very challenging external environment in which we are operating currently, and I would like to thank all our staff for their hard work in furthering the University’s standing nationally and globally.   

Full analysis of the QS World University Rankings results is available on the Planning webpages at League Tables | StaffNet | The University of Aberdeen (abdn.ac.uk).

Best wishes,


Karl Leydecker

Senior Vice-Principal