Publish Date: 27.03.2017

Category: News from the University

The latest ranking of the world’s best universities published by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) organisation, one of the three most influential global listings of its type, has placed the University of Ljubljana in the top 650 among the 4,438 evaluated universities from around the globe. Its study programmes have also received very high ratings. From over 18,900 programmes evaluated, the best-ranked programme from amongst those provided by the University of Ljubljana was archaeology (in the top 151 – 200), followed by English with English literature and physics with astrophysics (both in the top 251 – 300), mathematics (in the top 301 – 350), its natural sciences programmes as a whole (361st place), and the mechanical engineering and economics programmes (both in the top 351 – 400). 

This year’s QS World University Rankings has placed the University of Ljubljana in the top 601st to 650th place category, while its study programmes rank it even higher, between 151st and 400th place. “This year, the University of Ljubljana has been ranked a bit lower on the QS chart than in the previous year when we were in the top 550th to 600th place category. We must however take into consideration that the differences between the top 400th and 700th place rankings are very slight. The current drop in the University’s ranking is at least partially due to a considerable reduction of Government funding of its research, no less than 20 per cent in the past five years. What is particularly crucial is the decline in the number of young researchers, some 30 per cent in the past five years. The investments into University activities will therefore have to be raised considerably if we wish to improve such rankings,” the Vice-Rector of the University of Ljubljana for Scientific Research Work Dr Martin Čopič commented on the University’s placement in the ranking. 

“The University of Ljubljana places in the top three per cent of the world’s best universities. This is a good ranking if one considers the level of funding it receives. To put this into perspective, let me mention that the average revenue per teacher employed at the world’s best 400 universities is approximately 560,000 euros, versus 100,000 euros for the University of Ljubljana.  Even the University of Tartu, Estonia, comparable to the University of Ljubljana, will receive 150,000 euros per employee,” remarks critically Vice-Rector Dr Čopič. He is also convinced that a university’s international renown also depends to a large amount on how the environment in which it operates is perceived. Older universities from large Western countries therefore have an advantage in such rankings. “A high placement in rankings helps attracting better students and teachers, brings in additional funding and improves the graduates’ employment options. This only results in the widening of the gap between universities. Potential students, the wider public and political decision-makers follow these rankings and consider them in their decisions. All universities must therefore strive to achieve the highest possible ranking,” he adds. 

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) organisation, the world’s leading provider of information from the field of higher education and career guidance, which publishes annual rankings of universities and their study programmes, places the greatest importance on the universities’ international standing. The QS establishes it by surveying 74,000 university associates from all over the world. Other criteria include the teacher – student ratio, the number of scientific work quotations per employed teacher, esteem by employers and the share of foreign teachers and students. “Given that the renown of a university in the academic world depends largely on scientific excellence that is also reflected in the number of quotations, the placement of an individual university in the QS rating is to the greatest extent defined by the quality and scope of research work. This is also characteristic of most other rankings that may otherwise use slightly different criteria, but the placement of the best universities is similar across the board,” added Vice-Rector Dr Čopič. 

Besides the QS list, the University of Ljubljana also features in the two other most influential global rankings. For several years in a row, it has placed in the top 401 – 500 on the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, while the Times Higher Education Ranking (THE) rates it in is top 601 – 800.