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King’s receives lowest QS ranking ever

King's QS University ranking

The QS World University Rankings were released this week. King’s scores worse than ever. 

The QS rankings play a large role in how universities are viewed by both prospective students and academics. This year, KCL tied for 33rd best university internationally, in a tie with Kyoto University.

It is the lowest score King’s has been given by QS; the university ranked 31st last year, with its highest-ever ranking being 16th in 2015.

The QS World University Rankings, formerly known as Times Higher Education, are published annually and are the only such rankings to have attained International Ranking Expert Group approval. While the Rankings are read by many, the methodology which forms their results has come under scrutiny in the past.

King’s is still the seventh highest-ranked university in the UK for 2020. Graduate employability, according to the ranking, is 68th internationally, down from 58th last year. This is its lowest point since QS began tracking the metric.

Despite an overall downfall, many departments and faculties at King’s have risen in the charts since last year. According to the ranking, KCL’s Dentistry department is now the best in the world, ranking 2nd place last year. Other departments dropped in the rankings. The Education and Training department went from 22nd place last year, to 28th this year, and the Geography department lost its place as 23rd and is this year down to a 31st place on the ranking.

Many of the departmental scores which QS grants are allocated to categories with vague or seemingly overlapping disciplines, an example of which are the separate ‘Engineering and Technology’ and ‘Engineering – Electrical and Electronic’ rankings listed on the site.

“There are worrying signs for both the United States and the UK,” QS said in a statement. “The majority of universities from both the US and UK have fallen in rank this year. In most cases, this is because of a weaker score for international student ratio, one of the indicators used to compile the ranking.”

QS also cited the UK’s recent exit from the EU as a potential reason for their recorded drop in international student numbers, though they did say that it was ‘unclear’ whether or not this was the main factor in play. Interestingly, however, KCL still has an international student score of 99.8 of 100 in this year’s rankings, implying that its drop in the overall charts was likely a result of other factors.

University College London (UCL) ranked higher than previous years. The university ranked 8th internationally this year, up from 10th place in 2019. The UCL Education and Training programmes hold steady at first place internationally, where the programme has been since 2015. Regarding graduate employability ranking, UCL is down this year from 2019, from 18th to 22nd.

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