The Studyportals University Meta Ranking is the easiest way to see how high a university ranks among the world’s top universities. Here is a methodology guide to help you understand how it works and how it helps you choose where to study abroad.
What is the Studyportals University Meta Ranking
The Studyportals University Meta Ranking shows you how a specific university compares to the rest of the higher education institutions in the world.
The Meta Ranking is displayed as a percentage. The lower the percentage value, the better that university is. For example, if the university you are interested in ranks higher than 95% of the world’s universities, it means that it belongs to the top 5%, and you will see a '5%' label displayed next to the university.
When doing the math for this we use the most recent results published by the world’s top international university rankings, and combine these results into one score. This way, you have a clear overview of how the university you are interested in ranks globally.
>> If you want to understand how international university rankings work, check out our guide on how to interpret university rankings and what they are good for.
How is Studyportals University Meta Ranking calculated
- In calculating the Studyportals University Meta Ranking we rely on the most recent publicly available data provided by the following renowned international university rankings providers:
- World University Rankings by Times Higher Education,
- QS World University Rankings by Topuniversities,
- Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
- Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News.
- We use the World Higher Education Database (WHED) to extract the number of universities that exist in the world (there are more than 20,000).
- For each university listed by the WHED, we gather the rankings provided by the four international ranking systems.
- Using an equal weight of 25% for each of the four rankings, we calculate a Meta Ranking score. The lower the score value, the better, and the best possible value is 1.
- We calculate the percentage of WHED-listed universities that have a higher (or similar) meta-ranking score.
How Meta Ranking calculates the best universities in a specific discipline?
- To find the best universities in a specific discipline (For example “What are the best universities to study Law”), we use data related to disciplines as provided by the four international rankings.
- If any discipline is missing from any of the rankings, we first check if it is listed under a different name, or if it is included under a broader category (For example, THE’s ranking doesn’t include “Cyber Security”, so we will provide “Computer Science” rankings instead).
- In case a ranking doesn’t include a certain discipline, we do the math exclusively based on the data of the rankings where it is listed (for example, the “Arts” discipline exists only in the QS, THE and US News rankings, so Shanghai will not be included in our calculations).
- WHED does not provide information about which universities in the world offer which disciplines, so we calculate our percentage based on the total amount.
How Meta Ranking calculates the best universities in a country?
When calculating the Studyportals University Meta Ranking for a country (for example the best universities in the United Kingdom), we first filter the general Meta Ranking scores by that country, and we determine the Meta Ranking percentage value based on the total number of known WHED-listed universities in that country.
How Meta Ranking calculates the best universities in a specific country, for a specific discipline
When calculating the best university in a country to study a certain discipline (for example, the best universities to study Law in the United Kingdom), we consider the discipline ranking, filtered by country.
What if a university isn't listed in one or multiple rankings?
If a university is not in one (or more) of the rankings, a penalty is given on the calculated score. We take the maximum position of the ranking in question + 100 (Example: if a ranking has 1,500 universities ranked, the university not ranking will get a score of 1,600).
What is the tiebreaker in case of an identical total score?
In a tie, the QS rank will be the decisive factor. We decided this because of their focus on international students and faculty, and because they give more emphasis on after-graduation factors. In case universities have the same QS ranking, the decisive tiebreaker is the Times Higher Education position.