DCU slumps heavily in Global University Rankings

Matthew Joyce

Dublin City University has taken a strong hit in the worldwide leaderboard of the best universities.

Data from the QS World University Rankings 2022 showed that DCU has suffered a steep fall of 51 places, from 439th in the 2021 Rankings to 490th in the latest set.

This is the sixth year in a row that DCU have recorded a decrease, however this is the worst decrease recorded.

DCU received an overall score of 24.3 out of 100.

According to their detailed analysis of DCU, QS recorded a high research output, but recorded less citations per faculty.

Out of 100, DCU recorded an academic reputation score of 18.7, an employer reputation score of 30.1, but achieved an international faculty ratio score of 70.7.

These results factored in to the overall score that DCU received.

A spokesperson for DCU issued the following statement to the College View:

“DCU’s performance in the QS rankings for 2022 was partially impacted by a reduction in our international student numbers, a direct result of COVID-related travel restrictions. Four of the top five Irish universities fell or maintained their position for 2022.

Significantly DCU has improved its performance on the academic reputation and employer reputation surveys carried out by QS. For two consecutive years our scores in both of these areas have improved demonstrating that DCU is garnering increased recognition for excellence among employers and academic peers.

We hope to see this achievement recognised in the QS subject rankings, which will be published later in 2021.”

The average Irish university saw a decline in their placement in these rankings, while University College Dublin (UCD) and University of Limerick (UL) saw a slight increase in their position.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) saw no change in their position, remaining at 101st, with an overall score of 58 out of 100.

This is the fourth year that TCD has not been included in the top 100 universities in the world.

According to QS, this year’s rankings are the largest ever, with 1,300 universities across 97 countries across the globe.

The QS World University Rankings assess universities in terms of their reputation in academic and employment perspectives, the faculty/student ratio of both national and international students, and citations per faculty.

These metrics then decide the score out of 100 that a university receives.

Reduced teaching capacity, due to an increase of student admissions, met with little to no substantial increase in staffing, along with lower research performance, are said to be behind the general drop in performance of Irish universities.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) spokesperson Jack Moran said that “consistent investment” into Irish universities is needed to improve teaching capacity and research impact.

“While a deeper dive into our data suggests that, in many respects, Ireland’s institutions are performing well, there will, in an increasingly competitive global environment, be an upper bound on their improvement as long as current funding constraints continue,” Mr. Moran said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science told The College View that it should be noted that the overall scores of Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) has changed very little from last year to this year, and that the reason for the drop in rankings is because of “improvements in the scores of other institutions.”

The spokeswoman also said that these rankings “provide a limited view” of the higher education system, which she said was “well-regarded internationally.”

“While both academics and employers are surveyed as part of the QS ranking process, the voice of students is notably absent from the process,” the spokeswoman added.

The Department’s spokeswoman also said that the rankings “do not factor in issues such as the broader social role played by HEIs in supporting access and tackling educational disadvantage.”

The results of the Irish universities pale however with the results of the highest-achieving universities in the globe:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claimed the top spot, with a perfect overall score of 100, for the fourth year in a row.

University of Oxford closely followed in second place with a near-perfect score of 99.5.

Stanford University and University of Cambridge both tied in third place, with a score of 98.7.

The Top 10 is dominated by the United States and United Kingdom, with a single appearance by Swiss university ETH Zurich, placing 8th.

Matthew Joyce

Image credit: Alison Clair/DCU