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Do university rankings matter in Australia?

Why UQ is one of the top-ranked universities in the world
Uni life
Published 14 Jun, 2024  ·  9-minute read

The University of Queensland is ranked among the world’s top universities, as measured by several key independent rankings. Our global reputation is one of the main reasons that international students choose UQ.

International students value these rankings as an objective and easy way to evaluate and compare the world's top universities. Alongside a university’s location, its reputation and global ranking might be your deciding factor of where you choose to study.

But why do university rankings matter in Australia and what will they mean to you if you get a degree from UQ? Rankings can be a strong indicator of:

  • teaching and learning quality
  • overall university experience
  • future employment outcomes.

This article explains UQ’s major international rankings, why we have achieved them and why they should matter if you are considering study at UQ.

QS World University Rankings, 2025

UQ is top 6 in Australia and top 50 in the world’s best universities.

With thousands of international universities being evaluated, UQ ranked 6th in Australia and =40th globally in the latest QS World University Rankings 2025.

The QS World University Ranking is one of the most prestigious university rankings in the world and is the only international ranking to have received International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) approval.

Why has UQ achieved this result in this ranking?

Academics from around the world are asked to consider and vote for who they perceive as top institutions. In addition, academics receive information from employers on the graduates they are employing.

UQ’s reputation as one of Australia’s most research-intensive universities boosted its performance in the rankings. Several high-profile research projects have influenced this, including the development of the Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine. More recently, new vaccine technology has been making international news – this 'molecular clamp technology' allows for the development of new vaccines against emerging diseases in weeks, rather than years. Promising results have already been obtained for vaccines against influenza, Ebola and MERS.

Dr Ian Frazer and team of researchers working in lab
UQ’s pioneering research has benefited millions of lives around the world

Why is this university ranking important for you?

This ranking matters to you if you want to earn a degree from a globally recognised university.

QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2024

UQ ranks 1st in Australia and 2nd in the world in the field of Sports-related subjects, and 4th in the world for Mineral and Mining Engineering in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2024.
UQ is in the top 5 in the world in 2 subjects and top 40 in 13 subjects.

  • 2nd in Sports-related subjects
  • 4th in Mineral and Mining Engineering
  • 18th in Environmental Sciences
  • 18th in Petroleum Engineering
  • 19th in Agriculture and Forestry
  • 27th in Hospitality and Leisure Management
  • 30th in Pharmacy and Pharmacology
  • 31st in Life Sciences and Medicine
  • 33rd in Psychology
  • 33rd Dentistry
  • 34th in Veterinary Science
  • 37th in Nursing
  • 40th in Anatomy and Physiology
  • 40th in Education
  • 47th in Civil and Structural Engineering
Man on rowing machine being supervised by trainer
UQ ranks 2nd in the world for sports-related subjects.

Why has UQ achieved this result in this ranking?

UQ’s leading research translates to high-calibre teaching and learning. UQ’s research output has proven impact on communities around the world – creating positive change globally.
Academics around the globe look to UQ and its academic reputation, citing research produced by UQ researchers to inform their own work. Essentially, the above accolades mean that UQ’s research is contributing to further discoveries, developments and enhanced learning on a global scale.

Why is this university ranking important for you?

This ranking should matter to you if you want to choose your university based on study areas of interest, as UQ is a respected university across a diverse range of fields.

Archeology students undertaking field work in a dig site
UQ students benefit from research-led teaching and practical learning.

Dr Anna Florin is a recent graduate from the PhD Program at the School of Social Science. Anna also completed her undergraduate studies within the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at UQ.

“The clear passion and research-based teaching that I was exposed to in my undergraduate studies drove me to major in Archaeology and, eventually, to consider a research career in the field.

I was very lucky to be exposed to archaeological fieldwork as part of my studies at UQ. I was awarded a UQ Advantage Grant to participate in an excavation in Turkey and I just fell in love with the experience. I couldn’t believe that archaeologists had the chance to travel, and immerse themselves in cultures, both in the past but also in the present. I was hooked.”

Aggregate Ranking of Top Universities, 2023

UQ is placed at 50th on the global list of universities and 3rd place nationally.

Now in its third year, the 2023 Aggregate Ranking of Top Universities (ARTU) consolidates the annual performance of universities across the three main world rankings: World University Rankings by Times Higher Education (THE), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Why is this university ranking important for you?

This ranking accommodates for performance variations due to methodological differences between three world rankings, and thereby facilitates the longitudinal comparison of overall performance for the top universities in the world.

QS Graduate Employability Rankings, 2022

UQ is ranked =63rd in the world and 6th in Australia in the 2022 QS Graduate Employability Rankings, placing UQ well within the top 10% of institutions worldwide.

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings compare universities around the world by considering factors including how connected they are to companies and industries, and how they are supporting students to develop their employability to respond to future industry needs. Data is collected from more than 40,000 employers and this research evaluates nearly 200,000 workplace partnerships.

Why has UQ achieved this result in this ranking?

UQ invests in programs and activities, such as our award-winning Careers service and entrepreneurial Ventures programs, that connect students to industry and enhance their employability. UQ works collaboratively with you to ensure that you are identifying your areas of development and articulating that value to future employers. Industry leaders are aware of the value that UQ can provide you in addition to your degree, and this is why the university has been awarded this reputational ranking.

The QS Graduate Employability Ranking is based on direct feedback from employers – real industry data, not just the opinions of the university and current students. As competition in the industry increases, the reputation of your university becomes even more important.

Man and woman holding up signs quoting employability sayings
UQ has a strong focus on developing confident, highly employable graduates.

Why does this university ranking matter to me?

This ranking should matter to you if you want to enhance your employability during your studies and be career-ready when you graduate.

ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), 2023

UQ is ranked 51st in the world and 2nd in Australia according to ARWU.

ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranks the world's universities by several indicators of academic or research performance, including:

  • alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals
  • highly cited researchers
  • papers published in Nature and Science
  • the per capita academic performance of an institution.

There is a significant emphasis placed on the achievements of a university’s alumni. More than 2000 universities are ranked by ARWU every year, with the best 1000 published.

Originally, the purpose of ARWU was to rank top Chinese universities, but it has since attracted a great deal of attention from universities, governments and public media worldwide as an inclusive and transparent international ranking body. The ARWU is one of the 3 most-read university rankings in the world, alongside the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Why is this university ranking important to me?

This ranking should matter to you if you want to receive a degree from a globally recognised university that is renowned for its alumni creating positive change around the world.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2024

UQ is 70th in the world and 5th in Australia in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024.

In a field of almost 1500 research-intensive institutions across 93 countries and regions, in 2022 UQ is celebrating a leap to =54th in the world (up eight places from 2021) and =2nd position in Australia (from 4th in 2021). In the last 10 years, UQ has consistently maintained its place in the top 70 universities worldwide.

The World University Rankings judge research-oriented universities across their core missions:

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Citations
  • International Outlook
  • Industry Income.

Scrupulous and transparent, it is the only university ranking to be independently audited by multinational professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Why does this ranking matter to me?

This ranking should matter to you if you prioritise teaching and learning experiences in world-class environments and want to graduate from a globally recognised university.

Nature Index Research Leaders, 2024

UQ is 1st in Australia and 101st in the world.

In 2024, UQ was placed at 1st in Australia, and 101st internationally in the Nature Index Academic Institutions table. UQ ranks 1st in Australia and 52nd internationally in Biological sciences and 1st in Australia and 41st internationally in Earth & environmental sciences.

Each year, the Nature Index publishes tables based on counts of high-quality research outputs in the previous calendar year, using several metrics to track contributions, collaborations and impact made by research articles in 82 high-quality published natural science journals. Data in the Nature Index is updated regularly, with the most recent 12 months made available under a Creative Commons licence at natureindex.com.

Why has UQ achieved this result in this ranking?

UQ’s commitment to leading research output and performance in an array of fields has contributed to this outcome. Researchers across our faculties and institutes are striving to improve health, the environment and society across the globe.

Why does this university ranking matter to me?

This ranking should matter to you if you wish to study sciences, life sciences, earth and environmental sciences and biology at a university renowned for its high-quality global research impact.

Our research into life and earth sciences stands out on the global stage
Our research into life and earth sciences stands out on the global stage.

CWTS Leiden Ranking, 2023

UQ is Australia’s top research institute ranking 35th in the world for global research quality in the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2023.

UQ’s performance is measured by the number of publications the university has within the top 1% of the most-cited research in that specific field.

Highlights from the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2023 (all based on the P top 1%* indicator):

• 6th in Life and earth sciences and 1st in Australia
• 49th in Biomedical and health sciences and 4th in Australia
• 61st in Physical sciences and engineering and 2nd in Australia

*P(top 1%) The number of a university’s publications (2018-2021 indexed by Web of Science) that, compared with other publications in the same field and in the same year, belong to the top 1% most frequently cited.

Why has UQ achieved this result in this ranking?

UQ’s life and earth sciences research ranks 6th globally, with 2627 publications in recognised journals, including 52 in the top 1% most frequently cited. The 2022 CWTS Leiden Ranking measures the scientific performance of 1318 major universities worldwide, representing the highest echelon of research-focused institutions. Details about the methodology and indicators used are available on the CWTS Indicators page.

Why does this ranking matter to me?

This ranking should matter to you if you want to study life and earth sciences, and social sciences and humanities, and if you would like to attend a university with excellent research capabilities and be taught by world-leading academics.

We hope that this provides you with some guidance on how UQ has earned its top global reputation. Be assured that by joining UQ, you will be joining a highly regarded university by several key independent rankings, backed by leading academics across the globe. Get more information about UQ’s study programs, student life and more.

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