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 rank University World rank
1 University of Melbourne 33
2 Australian National University 47
3 University of Queensland 60
3 University of Sydney 60
5 Monash University 74
6 University of New South Wales 78
7 University of Western Australia 125
8 University of Adelaide 142
9 University of Newcastle 226
9 Queensland University of Technology 226
11 Charles Darwin University 276
11 Deakin University 276
11 Griffith University 276
11 James Cook University 276
11 Macquarie University 276
11 University of South Australia 276
11 University of Technology Sydney 276
11 University of Wollongong 276
19 University of Tasmania 326
20 Flinders University 376
20 La Trobe University 376
20 Swinburne University of Technology 376
20 Victoria University 376
24 University of Canberra 451
24 CQUniversity 451
24 Curtin University 451
24 Murdoch University 451
24 RMIT University 451
24 University of Western Sydney 451
30 Bond University 551
30 Edith Cowan University 551
30 Southern Cross University 551
30 University of the Sunshine Coast 551
34 Australian Catholic University 701
34 University of Southern Queensland 701

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

ACADEMIC RESEARCH & INCOME (70%)

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 & STUDENT RATIOS (22%)

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

DOCTORAL PROGRAM SIZE (8%)

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

More Australian university rankings