Times Higher Education (THE) publishes Australian university rankings using a composite performance measure.

  • Rankings are based on research publications and academic prestige.
  • "Citations of journal articles" and "Research prestige" are the largest components.

The rankings demonstrate how highly a given university is regarded among academics.

  • To produce world rankings, THE surveys many thousands of academics worldwide each year.
  • THE rankings are comparable to QS and Shanghai rankings.

While THE’s survey is more extensive than U.S. News... it still falls prey to the inherent statistical flaws and response biases of reputation scoring.

~ SmithGroup JJR
Times university ranking awards.

THE Australian Rankings: 2016-2017

Aust rankUniversityWorld rank
1University of Melbourne33
2Australian National University47
3University of Queensland60
3University of Sydney60
5Monash University74
6University of New South Wales78
7University of Western Australia125
8University of Adelaide142
9University of Newcastle226
9Queensland University of Technology226
11Charles Darwin University276
11Deakin University276
11Griffith University276
11James Cook University276
11Macquarie University276
11University of South Australia276
11University of Technology Sydney276
11University of Wollongong276
19University of Tasmania326
20Flinders University376
20La Trobe University376
20Swinburne University of Technology376
20Victoria University376
24University of Canberra451
24Curtin University451
24Murdoch University451
24RMIT University451
24University of Western Sydney451
30Bond University551
30Edith Cowan University551
30Southern Cross University551
30University of the Sunshine Coast551
34Australian Catholic University701
34University of Southern Queensland701

Value of THE University Rankings

For students, THE rankings are useful for quantifying how much regard society (including employers) may hold for a degree from a particular university. If academics hold an institution in high regard, obtaining a degree from that institution may help your career by conferring status.

  • The rankings are based on 13 measures. Almost 70% of a university's rating is determined by researcher output, income and affiliations.
  • Teaching prestige is also a factor, accounting for 15%. This measures teaching quality as perceived by academics in other institutions, which is highly correlated with overall prestige.
  • There is a strong emphasis on doctoral programs, with over 8% of a university's score based on the number of doctorates awarded.

Misleading Statements from Times Higher Education

Time Higher Education claims to provide the only global university performance tables to judge research-led universities across all their core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. It also claims to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.

Our advice to students is to not trust the Times Higher Education claims nor their rankings. The rankings have not been constructed with students in mind.

  • The teaching prestige measure is flawed because it only considers the opinions of academics. How does an academic from one university have any great insight into teaching standards in another?
  • Despite its flaws, it is odd that teaching prestige is given a lower rating than research prestige (15% versus 18%). This just tilts the balance further towards academic research.
  • The heavy weighting on doctoral program size is also strange. Why does this indicate better performance and why it is given a heavy weighting? THE claims that undergraduates tend to value working in a rich environment that includes postgraduates. You would think undergraduates care more about the quality of services delivered to them.

Ranking components


Citations of journal papers 30%
Research prestige among academics 18%
Journal papers per academic 6%
Research income per academic 6%
Industry income per academic 3%
% of journal articles with a foreign co-author 3%
Ratio of international to domestic staff 3%
Institutional income per academic 2%


Teaching prestige among academics 15%
Academic-to-student ratio 5%
Ratio of international to domestic students 3%


Doctorate graduates per academic 6%
Doctorate-to-bachelor degree ratio 2%

More Australian university rankings