Thursday, October 09, 2008

THE-QS Rankings: IIT-D and IIT-B make it to the top 200

The league tables are here. IIT-D and IIT-B come in at 154 and 174 (moving up from 307 and 269, respectively).

These are massive jumps. Given that institutional changes take place over longer time scales, it's highly unlikely that they can be explained by things that IIT-D and IIT-B did in the last one year. Instead, the real reason lies in the difference in the methodology used in 2008 from that in 2007 [see below]. To the extent that the 2008 methodology is 'better' or 'more relevant', I think a fair conclusion is that India's top institutions are slowly getting the recognition that they have always deserved, but never quite got. Seen this way, their appearance in the top 200 is not the big news, but their omission from the previous lists is. Or, should be.

But I suspect that Indian media will not play this news in this way; they will probably highlight -- with ample support from the institutions themselves, and perhaps even the government (!) -- this or that initiative taken by the institutions (and the government), and cite them as the reason for the rank improvement.

What are the changes in the methodology? As of now, this page on the methodology does not explain what has changed between 2007 and 2008 that could tell us a bit more about the reasons behind the churn. But there are people -- Richard Holmes (at the University Rankings Watch blog) and Eric Beerkens -- who've been keeping track of what THE / QS has been up to over the years, and we will definitely get more details in the days to come.

But we do have some initial clues about the changes:

This year there has been only one methodological change, namely the separation of the lists in the academic survey section into international and domestic sections and then their recombination. This would probably work against universities that receive a lot of votes from their own countries and might explain why Hong Kong, Peking and several Australian universities have fallen quite a bit.

Also, it is likely that the geographical spread of the academic and employer surveys has expanded and that this has benefitted universities in Latin America, Africa and India.


On the other hand, the National Autonomous University of Mexico has risen from 192nd to 150th, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi from 307th to 154th and Chulalongkorn from 223rd to 166th.

THE/QS list for ranks 201-500 will appear sometime next week. We will then know the fate of other institutions -- including the Delhi University which was at 254 last year. Also, later this week, subject-wise rankings will be released. So, keep an eye on this site!


  1. Anonymous said...

    Strangely, the list did not include IISc! Or did I miss it? I find it hard to believe that IITs are ranked in top 200, but not IISc.


  2. Abi said...

    Pratik: That's an easy question to answer. The rankings are for institutions that offer UG programs ("first degrees," according to the website).

    If IISc does figure in the list (and I hope it won't!), it would just point to the cluelessness of this exercise!

  3. Pipa said...

    not IIT -M huh?