Western rose dramatically in this year’s Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, climbing to 114 overall out of nearly 1,500 institutions.
It marks Western’s highest-ever position in the QS World University Rankings, released June 27. Last year the university ranked 172 overall.
The pronounced jump – rising almost 60 spots in a year – is driven by the university’s strong academic reputation, high employment rate for graduates and its work on sustainability.
“Our impressive showing in the QS World University Rankings highlights Western’s position as a world-class institution addressing the most pressing issues of our time,” President Alan Shepard said.
“We’re so proud of our results and the opportunities Western offers its students, faculty, staff and researchers to learn from one another and engage in research that makes a real impact.”
Graduate employment rate, academic reputation boost ranking
Western ranked second in Canada for its employment outcomes.
QS analyzes the graduate employment rate and the impact alumni have in their respective fields to generate a score. It’s intended to gauge a university’s ability to “ensure a high level of employability for their graduates, while also nurturing future leaders.”
Western improved in academic reputation, which makes up 30 per cent of an institution’s score, over last year, rising seven spots in that category.
Academic reputation is based on how a university’s research is perceived by academics worldwide. This includes whether Western’s research is considered world-class, the strength of its global impact and how well its findings are communicated.
Sustainability a priority for Western
Western achieved a near-perfect score on sustainability, 99.6 out of 100, the eighth best in the world.
QS is considering sustainability in its rankings for the first time, in light of increased demand for universities to ramp up their environmental efforts, the organization said. The sustainability score now accounts for five per cent of an institution’s overall ranking.
“Sustainability has become a touchpoint for global institutions as they come to realize their impact on the world, and students have come to expect institutions to tackle issues related to social and climate justice,” QS wrote of its changing methodology.
Western has prioritized sustainability on campus, including a pledge to make university operations net-zero by 2050. Sustainability is a pillar of the university’s strategic plan, Towards Western at 150, and new investments have focused on this priority.
Ranking echoes other assessments
The QS World University Rankings are published once per year based on billions of data points. They are considered “the world’s most viewed and most significant university ranking,” CEO Jessica Turner said. This is the 20th edition.
The QS Rankings mark the second time in recent weeks that Western has ranked among the world’s best universities. The Times Higher Education 2023 Impact Rankings, which measure work on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, placed Western among the top 10 universities in the world on June 1.
Earlier this year, QS also awarded Western “five-plus stars” status, the only Canadian university to achieve the highest possible QS Stars rating.