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University Rankings

KIT-Logo im Mathematikgebäude (Foto: Manuel Balzer, KIT)

Rankings of universities are based on various criteria in research and academic education and allow for a comparison of universities on both the national and international level. In the German university sector, international rankings are gaining importance for e.g. partnership negotiations, students marketing, acquisition of third-party funding, or staff recruitment. Still, university rankings are discussed rather controversially. In particular, the partly intransparent methodology or the general attempt to evaluate universities are criticized.

At regular intervals, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology participates in various university rankings. Among the most important international rankings are the world university rankings of Times Higher Education (THE) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) as well as the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) or Shanghai Ranking.


THE World University Rankings

The annual ranking by the Times Higher Education journal is based on 13 differently weighed indicators in five categories: Academic education (30%), research (30%), citation index (30%), internationality (7.5%), and third-party funding by industry (2.5%). The evaluation is additionally based on e.g. data from surveys of academics relating to the reputation of the university, general statistics of universities, or the number of publications in expert journals.

THE constantly strives to optimize the methodology of its rankings. In 2015, THE switched from Thomas Reuters (“Web of Science” database) to Elsevier (“Scopus” database) that also collects data on publications in languages other than English. Moreover, the number of evaluated universities has increased from initially 400 to presently 1396 universities. These adaptations make a comparison over a longer term very difficult or impossible.

Development of KIT Ranking

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Institution International 138 144 133 135 175
  National 11 14 14 14 20
Natural Sciences International 46 68 61 69 69
  National 4 9 7 5 7
Engineering Sciences International 48 60 55 54 74
  National 3 4 4 3 4

 

THE World University Rankings by Subject

Apart from the institutional ranking, THE also offers a subject-specific ranking with separate results for eleven subject areas. KIT takes part in the rankings for three subject areas.
 

KIT in the THE World University Rankings by Subject 2019

Fächergruppe International National
Natural Sciences* 69 7
Engineering Sciences** 74 4
Informatics*** 50 4

*Subjects included: Mathematics and statistics, physics and astronomy, chemistry, geology, earth and marine sciences

**Subjects included: Engineering sciences, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and chemical engineering

***Subjects included: Informatics/computer science

QS World University Rankings

The annual QS World University Ranking published by Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. (QS) is based on six indicators in the categories of reputation, internationalization, academic education, and research output. The overall ranking is influenced in particular by surveys of academics and employers regarding the reputation of the universities. These results make up 50% of the overall evaluation. In the ranking of about 1000 universities, the best of them are assigned places; as of position 500, ranking groups are formed.

Development of KIT Ranking

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Institution International 93 98 107 116 124
  National 4 4 4 4 5
Natural Sciences International 34 34 29 37 48
  National 3 3 3 4 4
Engineering Sciences International 46 62 38 51 59
  National 4 4 4 4 4

 

QS World University Rankings by Subject

As regards the subject-specific “QS World University Rankings by Subject,” the overall ranking is based on four indicators, two in the reputation category and two in the research output category. The QS World University Rankings by Subject cover both subject groups and individual subjects. KIT, with natural sciences and engineering sciences, takes part in two subject groups and several subjects.
 

KIT in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

Subject Group International National
Natural Sciences 58 4
Engineering Sciences 68 4
Subject International National
Architecture 51-100 3-5
Biology 201-250 16-20
Chemical Engineering 51-100 4
Chemistry 51-100 3-8
Civil Engineering   51-100 2-3
Informatics 51-100 2-5
Electrical Engineering 51-100 4-5
Mechanical Engineering 43 4
Geosciences* 101-150 6-10
Materials Sciences 43 3
Mathematics 101-150 7-10
Physics 42 4
Economics 351-400 17-19

*QS: Earth & Marine Science

ARWU or Shanghai Ranking

Since 2009, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) has been published annually by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. The ranking is based on six differently weighed factors: The number of published articles per subject, citations, international co-publications, publications in international top journals, and the number of research award winners among the scientific staff and graduates.

Based on these factors, the 1000 best universities worldwide are determined. Only the first 100 universities are ranked in fixed positions, the remaining 900 are assigned to ranking groups.
 

Development of KIT Ranking

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Institution International 201-300 201-300 201-300 201-300 201-300
  National 14-21 15-21 16-22 15-20 11-21
Natural Sciences International 76-100 51-75 -* -* -*
  National 5-8 3-4 -* -* -*
Engineering Sciences/Informatics International 101-150 151-200 -* -* -*
  National 3 5-6 -* -* -*

*Ranking discontinued

 

ARWU Ranking of Academic Subjects

In addition, a subject-specific ranking is published annually (ARWU-SUBJECT). The ranking for subject groups (ARWU-FIELD) was discontinued in 2017.
 

KIT in the ARWU Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019

Fach International National
Mathematics 401-500 >10
Physics 76-100 6-8
Chemistry 76-100 3-9
Geosciences* 101-150 5-13
Meteorology 8 1
Mechanical Engineering 76-100 3-4
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology 301-400 8-12
Informatics 51-75 1-3
Civil Engineering 201-300 2-8
Chemical Engineering 101-150 2-3
Materials Sciences and Technology 51-75 1-2
Energy Engineering 32 1
Water Science and Engineering 76-100 2-4
Food Chemistry 201-300 4-8
Bioengineering Sciences 76-100 4-6
Mobility and Infrastructure** 101-150 1-2
Remote Sensing 50 3
Biology 151-200 >10
Business Engineering 301-400 >10

*ARWU: Earth Science
**ARWU: Transportation Science & Technology