Every year, QS Quacquarelli Symonds releases comprehensive global rankings of the highest-rated universities in the world. True to form, many Australian universities feature in these rankings, reinforcing Australia’s status as a top study destination for international students. This comes shortly after Australia being ranked third by QS for its higher education system.
As we look into the QS World University Rankings for 2024, a spotlight shines on three Australian institutions that have impressively secured spots in the top 20, a first in QS Ranking history. Discover which Australian universities made the top 20, how other Australian universities placed and how these rankings are decided.
The key metrics behind the rankings
The 20th edition of the QS World University Rankings assesses 1,500 universities across 104 global locations with unique emphasis on employability and sustainability. University rankings are determined based on a variety of key performance indicators. For the QS Rankings, these are:
- Academic reputation
- Employer reputation
- Faculty/student ratio
- Citations per faculty
- International faculty ratio
- International student ratio
- International research network
- Employment outcomes
This year, three new metrics have been introduced to the system: Sustainability, Employment Outcomes, and International Research Network. These additions have been integrated in response to evolving trends and priorities in higher education, reflecting QS’s central role in the global academic community.
The rankings draw on an analysis of 17.5 million academic papers and expert opinions of over 240,000 faculty members and employers.
Australian universities in the global top 20
In a historic first for Australian higher education, three universities have leapt into the top 20 of the QS World University Rankings 2024:
- University of Melbourne (14th): A consistent favourite among international students from over 130 countries, the University of Melbourne’s impressive climb from 33rd in 2023 reflects its strong academic reputation, comprehensive international research network and desirable employment outcomes. Renowned as Australia’s best-ranked institution, it continues to offer unparalleled learning experiences in one of the world’s most liveable cities.
- University of New South Wales (19th – tied): Rising an outstanding 26 places to tie for 19th, UNSW has demonstrated its strengths in areas such as international faculty ratio, international research and sustainability. This advancement underscores the university’s commitment to creating a globally oriented, sustainable and employable future for its students.
- University of Sydney (19th – tied): The University of Sydney also enjoyed a significant rise in the rankings, jumping 22 spots to share the 19th position with UNSW. The University’s continued focus on world-class research, sustainability and a rich international student environment have greatly contributed to its ascent in the rankings.
The two Sydney-based universities welcomed their tied ranking with open arms and, in the case of UNSW, hilarious TikToks.
@unswWe’re in our besties era xx♬ original sound – Kaitlyn
Strong performances across Australian universities
While the focus is on the top 20, it’s worth noting that other Australian universities also performed well. The Australian National University maintained its position in the top 50 at 34th place. Monash University and the University of Queensland also continued their strong showing, ranking 42nd and 43rd respectively. Meanwhile, The University of Western Australia earned 72nd place, The University of Adelaide ranked 89th, and The University of Technology Sydney was placed 90th. All three of these universities improved from last year’s rankings.