MAASTRICHT. Dutch universities still count among the world’s top institutions, according to the international ranking agency QS. Just not among the top fifty – not this year at least. And it is Maastricht University that has suffered the biggest drop.
Twelve Dutch universities appear in the latest QS ranking of the world’s best two hundred universities. Five even make the top one hundred. The highest placed Dutch institution is the University of Amsterdam at number 55, five spots lower than last year.
Maastricht University has seen the biggest plunge of all Dutch institutions, from 118 to 169. The differences compared to last year’s list can be attributed to QS’s new methodology, according to its website. The weight previously accorded to research (i.e. citations) in the natural and life sciences gave an extra edge to universities with strong departments in those fields, such as UM. The new methodology aims to do more justice to the humanities and social sciences. Universities like Tilburg, which climbed from 367 to 293, seem to be the main beneficiaries.
Not all reshuffles in the ranking can be explained by the new approach. However, the degree to which other factors have played a part – in UM’s fall, for one – is unclear.
Forty per cent of the QS ranking is based on the reputation of institutions among 75,000 academics. The remainder is made up of employers’ opinions and factors such as researchers’ citation scores, the ratio of students to tutors and the number of international students and staff.
The number one spot was claimed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and number two by Harvard University.