Auckland and Otago tumble in top world university rankings

New Zealand’s top two world-ranked universities, Auckland and Otago, have taken sharp drops in the latest annual QS World University rankings, although Auckland remains in the top 100 at 94th.

Otago’s was the most precipitous fall, dropping 22 places to 155th ranking, while Auckland dropped 11 places from 83 in last year’s survey.

On the bright side, all New Zealand universities are in the top 200, as measured by QS, although there are four Australian universities in the top 50 and every major Australian university ranks ahead of Auckland, bar Adelaide, on 104.

In some subject areas, Auckland scored strongly, placing well in the top 50 at 38th for computer science and information systems, Canterbury University ranked 21st in the world for civil and structural engineering, where Auckland placed 42nd equal.

Its medical faculty was judged 43rd equal, whereas Otago was ranked only in the top 51 to 100 medical schools.

The top 50 universities are dominated by the English-speaking world and Asia, with only two European institutions, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the Paris-based Ecole Normale Superieure, making the top 50, at 12th and 27th respectively.

Massachussetts Institute of Technology ranked top again this year, while Harvard nudged out Cambridge University for the number two slot. The top-ranked Asian universities were the National University of Singapore at 24th and the University of Hong Kong at 26th.

The top-ranked Australian university is Australian National University in Canberra, which ranked 27th, down from 24th in 2012. Melbourne improved five places to 31st, Sydney was up one place to 38th, and Monash at 69th was off the pace, having scored 61 in last year’s edition of the widely watched survey.


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