Middle East

  • Standing Still: A Global Perspective on theĀ Performance of Universities in theĀ Arab Region

    2014 World University Rankings Worrying evidence of US declineBy Haidar Harmanani, Professor of Computer Science, Lebanese American University, Lebanon

    “Standing still is not an option” says Phil Baty while introducing the 13th edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17. Yet, that is exactly what the majority of universities in the Arab region are doing: standing still!

    With the exception of a couple of universities, the Arab region generally performed poorly in this year’s rankings. Although a total of 28 universities made the list, no University in the region made the top 200 elite list.

    Saudi Arabia claimed the top two positions and was led by King Abdulaziz University who moved up to 201-500 from the 251-300 position last year, and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals who moved up to 401-500 from the 501-600 position.

    Other universities whose performance was disappointing this year include the American University of Beirut, King Saud University, Qatar University, and United Arab Emirates University who did not show improvements in their respective rankings this year, and are still at the 501-600 position.


    Part of the decline may be attributed to the expansion of the rankings this year. For the first time, 980 institutions have been included, up from 801 in last year’s list, making it the most competitive ranking to date, according to THE.

    The expansion of rankings has also led to doubling the number of ranked institutions, from 14 to 28. At the national level, Egypt led the pack with a total of eight ranked universities, followed by Saudi Arabia (4), Jordan (3), United Arab Emirates (3), and Tunisia (2).  Only one university made it from Algeria, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman. Perhaps, Lebanon’s performance is the most disappointing with only one University making the list.

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016 lists 980 institutions from 79 countries. The rankings drew on data from 1,313 of the world’s leading research-intensive universities, 20,000 responses to the annual academic reputation surveys, and 56 million citations to 11.9 million publications published over the five years to 2015.

    The new rankings enhanced the analysis this time by including books among the research outputs in addition to journal articles, reviews and conference proceedings. Some 528,000 books and book chapters are included for the first time, giving a richer picture of the global research environment.

    The data was audited for the first time by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

  • The world's Best University Costs Just $12,000 a Year

    OxfordUniversityby Alanna Petroff

    The best university education in the world need not cost the equivalent of a small mortgage.

    The University of Oxford, which has just been named the best in the world, offers undergraduate tuition for a fraction of the rate charged by rival institutions in the U.S.

    Tuition for Oxford undergrads is just 9,000 pounds this year, which works out to roughly $11,700. That's about a quarter of the cost of other top tier schools, such as Harvard, Stanford and the California Institute of Technology.

    But before you get too excited, that rate is only available to undergrads from the U.K. and European Union. 

    Students from the rest of the world pay anywhere between 15,295 pounds ($19,860) and 22,515 pounds ($29,230) a year -- though that's still much cheaper than top U.S. universities.

    Oxford became the first British university to top the 12th annual ranking compiled by Times Higher Education.

    Caltech, which has topped the list five times, was knocked into second place.

    Here are the tuition fees undergrads are paying this year at other world class universities:

    1. California Institute of Technology: $45,846
    2. Stanford: $47,331
    3. University of Cambridge, U.K.: 9,000 pounds ($11,684)
    4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $48,140
    5. Harvard University: $43,280
    6. Princeton University: $45,320
    7. Imperial College London, U.K.: 9,000 pounds ($11,684)

    The U.K. may be a cheaper place to study than the U.S., but it's much more expensive than it used to be.
    Tuition for most students at British universities tripled in 2012 due to a change in government funding policies, which caused outrage across the country.

    Oxford and Cambridge, among others, are working hard to ensure the higher tuition fees don't deter students from less advantaged backgrounds.

    They've been campaigning for years to encourage higher levels of student enrollment from state-funded high schools, which are called public schools in the U.S. Top British universities have a reputation for accepting an outsized proportion of students educated at exclusive private schools.

    Some 40% of Oxford students still come from private schools, whereas just 7% of British children attend such schools.

  • World University Ranking Methodologies Compared


    Written by Laura Bridgestock for TopUniversities

    There are multiple world university rankings available – with the best-known being the QS World University Rankings®, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) – and each one uses a different methodology. This can sometimes be confusing, as it’s not always easy to see why a university is ranked differently, or why the order within a country changes depending on which table you view.

    To clarify how these different outcomes are reached, below is an overview of the methodologies used for these three major world university rankings…

    QS World University Rankings®

    The QS World University Rankings assesses universities on six performance indicators, relating to research, teaching, employability and internationalization. To be eligible for inclusion, institutions must teach at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and conduct work in at least two of five broad faculty areas (arts and humanities; engineering and technology; social sciences and management; natural sciences; life sciences and medicine).

    1. Academic reputation (worth 40% of the overall score): Based on a global survey of academics, who are asked to identify the leading institutions in their field.
    2. Employer reputation (10%): Based on a global survey of graduate employers, who are asked to identify the institutions producing the best graduates in their sector.
    3. Student-to-faculty ratio (20%): An indication of commitment to high-quality teaching and support.
    4. Research citations per faculty member (20%): This is normalized by subject area, and reflects the impact of an institution’s research.
    5. Proportion of international faculty (5%): A measure of an institution’s success in attracting faculty from overseas.
    6. Proportion of international students (5%): A measure of an institution’s success in attracting students from overseas.
    • The interactive results table can be filtered to show the scores for each of these six indicators, showing where each institution’s comparative strengths and weaknesses lie. You can find out more about the QS World University Rankings methodology here.

    Times Higher Education World University Rankings

    The Times Higher Education World University Rankings uses 13 performance indicators, grouped into five categories. Institutions are excluded if they do not teach at undergraduate level, or if their research output is below a certain threshold.

    1. Teaching (worth 30% of the overall score): Based on a reputation survey (15%), staff-to-student ratio (4.5%), doctorate-to-bachelor’s ratio (2.25%), doctorates-awarded-to-academic-staff ratio (6%) and institutional income (2.25%).
    2. Research (30%): Based on a reputation survey (18%), research income (6%) and research papers published per faculty member (6%).
    3. Research citations (30%): Based on the number of citations a university’s research obtains, normalized by subject area.
    4. International outlook (7.5%): Based on international-to-domestic-student ratio (2.5%), international-to-domestic-staff ratio (2.5%) and international research collaborations (2.5%).
    5. Industry income (2.5%): Based on income earned from industry, relative to the number of academic staff employed, and adjusted for PPP.

    The published results can be sorted to show universities’ scores for each of the five categories, but not for the individual indicators within each category.

    Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

    Also widely known as the Shanghai Ranking, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) assesses six performance indicators, all relating to research excellence. The ranking considers all institutions with Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature or Science, or a significant number of papers indexed by the Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) or Social Science Citation Index (SSCI).

    1. Alumni (worth 10% of the overall score): Based on the number of alumni of an institution who have won Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, with greater weight given to more recent recipients.
    2. Awards (20%): Based on the number of staff affiliated with an institution who have won Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine and economics, and Fields Medals in mathematics, with greater weight given to more recent recipients.
    3. Highly cited researchers (20%): Based on an institution’s number of highly cited researchers, according to the latest list published by Thomson Reuters.
    4. Papers in Nature and Science (20%): Based on the number of papers published in these two influential journals, drawing on a four-year period. For institutions specialized in social sciences and humanities, this category does not apply.
    5. Papers indexed (20%): Based on the number of papers indexed in the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index in the preceding calendar year, with a double weighting for papers indexed in the Social Science Citation Index.
    6. Per capita performance (10%): The weighted scores of the other indicators, divided by the number of full-time equivalent academic staff.

    The published ARWU results can be sorted to show performance in each of these six indicators.

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