All eight of New Zealand’s universities are ranked among the top three per cent of universities globally in the latest QS World University Rankings released today. Six improved their rankings while the other two largely held their places.
The University of Auckland remains New Zealand’s top ranked university at 81st place, followed by Otago, which has risen four places to 169th, with Canterbury at 214th, closely followed by Victoria at 228th. Waikato has moved up 77 places over the past two years to rank at 324th, with Massey at 340th. Lincoln has moved up 68 places in the past two years to be ranked at 343rd, while the Auckland University of Technology also made significant gains over the past two years, moving up 60 places to 441-450.
Chris Whelan (pictured), the Executive Director of Universities New Zealand, says this is an extraordinary result and something that New Zealanders should be proud of.
“We are the only country in the world to have all our universities ranked within the top 500.”
The QS rankings are an annual league table of the top universities in the world, assessing universities across four areas: research, resourcing, graduate employability and internationalisation.
Whelan notes that New Zealand universities performed particularly well in the areas associated with research and says this is in part due to the government’s increased focus on funding high quality research.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce agrees that increased funding since 2008 has paid off. Budget 2016 included new funding of $761m for the Innovative New Zealand package of science, tertiary and regional development initiatives, which include two major initiatives specific to universities.
However Whelan says there is still room for improvement in other areas.
“New Zealand universities have not performed as well in areas such as the ratio of staff to students. This reflects a sector that is under financial pressure and is now having to teach students at funding levels that are only 70 per cent of comparable universities in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom.”
Whelan says overall New Zealand's excellent rankings are likely to attract international students.
“We are able provide New Zealanders with a world class education and New Zealand industry with access to world class researchers and research facilities.”