QS World University Rankings 2025

QS World University Rankings 2025

Dear colleagues,

The QS World University Rankings 2025 were published last night. After a climb of 12 places last year, the University has fallen 28 places to 236th in the world. We have ranked 30th in the UK, a drop of one place, and remain 4th in Scotland.

It is worth noting that the majority of UK providers, 51 from 90 ranked, have dropped in this year’s QS World University Rankings, with only 20 UK providers rising. This is particularly true within the Top-500 globally, with 34 of the 48 UK providers declining in rank.

The ranking is made up of nine elements: academic reputation, employer reputation, employment outcomes, citations, faculty student ratio, international faculty, international students, international research network, and sustainability.

The University’s global ranking has risen for faculty student ratio, remained unchanged for academic reputation, and fallen in other metrics. This picture is also mirrored in the UK ranking, though there has additionally been a rise in UK ranking for international faculty.

The most significant trend that is impacting on our ranking is the long-term decline in our global and UK ranking for citations, which accounts for 20% of the overall rank. Our global ranking has fallen over the past five years from 153rd to 322nd last year and now 412th this year, with our UK ranking over the same period falling from 14th to 39th. Work is underway to raise the understanding of our citation performance and measures that can be taken to improve it, while recognising that this will take time.

Our ranking for proportion of international students has also been declining both in the UK and globally, with the loss of European Union students following Brexit having a long-term impact here. As a result, our rank has dropped from 41st place four years ago to 103rd place in the world this year, and a continued drop in UK rank from 15th place five years ago to 35th. Our rank for the proportion of international faculty has been more stable, with a drop of ten places to 154th place globally this year, but a rise in UK rank of three places to 24th.

Another key factor affecting the University’s performance is ongoing decline on employment-related metrics. Rank for employer reputation has again fallen, to 330th globally (down 28 places, and down two places in the UK to 33rd), while rank for employment outcomes (measured through the Graduate Outcomes Survey and a QS Alumni Impact Assessment) has dropped 111 places to 519th in the world and 34th in the UK (down five places). These two metrics account for 20% of the ranking. Student employability is a strategic priority for the University and we will continue efforts to enhance the outcomes for our graduates.

Our ranking for academic reputation has remained unchanged globally at 292nd in the world, with our UK rank remaining steady at 30th for a number of years.

However, the discrepancy between our rank for academic reputation and our relatively strong performance on the International Research Network metric (measuring collaborative research activity) where we have ranked 190th in the world and 28th in the UK, indicates that there is more work to do to promote the excellent research that takes places at the University. Considerable work has been undertaken in 2023/24 to strengthen our external visibility and we will continue to progress our marketing, brand and communications strategies in close collaboration with our academic community to enhance our external profile.

The University continues to perform very strongly on sustainability, ranking 37th in the world and 15th in the UK, although it is disappointing to see a decline in this measure with a drop of 16 places globally from last year and 11 places in the UK.

The University has also risen 43 places for faculty-student ratio (10% of overall rank), and now ranks 482nd in the world. UK rank for this measure has been rising steadily in the UK, from 33rd five years ago to 22nd this year.

As you will know, institutional performance in the QS World University Rankings affects opportunities for global partnerships and attractiveness to international students. It remains a priority for the University to strengthen our research base, ensure that our graduates are ready for the world of employment, and enhance our reputation as a research-intensive university. These strategies will take time to impact on rankings but the League Table Working Group, in collaboration with colleagues across the University, will continue to drive this strategy forward.

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 

Karl Leydecker
Senior Vice-Principal

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