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QS University Rankings [UPSC Notes]

In the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, it has been reported that several universities in India have secured top positions for popular subjects, mainly in the STEM fields. The rankings reveal that 44 programs, an increase from 2022’s 35, have made it to the top 100 globally across various campuses.

What are the QS University Rankings? What are the positions of Indian institutions in this ranking? Read on for more details about this topic for the IAS exam current affairs segment.

QS World University Rankings

QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). QS is a British company specializing in education and study abroad. 

  • The rankings evaluate universities on various factors such as academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international-faculty ratio, and international-student ratio. 
  • The QS World University Rankings are considered to be one of the most widely recognized university rankings in the world. The rankings cover a range of subjects, including arts and humanities, engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, natural sciences, and social sciences and management.
  • QS also publishes subject-specific rankings, such as the QS World University Rankings by Subject. These rankings aim to help students and academics make informed decisions about where to study or work.

Highlights of QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023

According to the 13th edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, several Indian universities have shown significant improvements in their rankings in various subjects. 

  • Out of the 158 entries from India in the QS World University Rankings, the 11 Institutes of Eminence account for 44% of them. The universities with the highest number of entries in the rankings are the University of Delhi with 27 entries, IIT-Bombay with 25 entries, and IIT-Kharagpur with 23 entries.
  • For instance, the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi has entered the top 50 for electrical and electronic engineering, securing the 49th rank, which is seven places higher than the previous year. 
  • Moreover, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Madras have also improved their rankings in mathematics, with IIT-Bombay securing the 92nd rank (up 25 spots) and IIT-Madras securing the 98th rank (up 50 spots). 
    • Additionally, IIT-Kanpur’s electrical and electronic engineering program now ranks 87th globally, while its computer science and information systems program is ranked 96th. IIT-Kharagpur has also made it to the top 100 globally in computer science and information systems, securing the 94th rank, which is 15 spots higher than the previous year. 
  • In the case of Universities, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Delhi have made it to the top 100 globally in sociology, securing the 68th and 91st ranks, respectively.
  • For the second year in a row, the dentistry program at Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences has been recognized as the top-performing program among Indian institutes, securing the 13th rank globally. Last year, the program was ranked 18th. The QS World University Rankings highlighted that Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences is the only Indian university to have achieved a perfect score (100/100) in both Citations per Paper and H Index. 
  • The next highest-ranked universities in these categories are the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), which secured the 21st rank in Petroleum Engineering (up by 9 places), and the Indian School of Mines (ISM) University, Dhanbad, which secured the 25th rank in Engineering – Mineral and Mining (up by one place).
  • India’s research output has witnessed a significant growth of 54% between 2017 and 2022. India has emerged as the world’s fourth-largest producer of research, having published 1.3 million academic papers during this period. China and the United States are the leading producers of research, having published 4.5 million and 4.4 million academic papers, respectively. The United Kingdom is ranked third, having published 1.4 million academic papers.
QS World University Ranking 2023
QS World University Ranking 2022

Steps taken by the Indian government to improve the global ranking of higher educational Institutions:

  • Institutes of Eminence (IoE): The Indian government has launched the Institutes of Eminence (IoE) scheme to improve the quality of higher education in the country and to make Indian universities world-class. This scheme aims to identify and support 20 universities in the country to achieve global ranking.
  • National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF): The NIRF is a ranking framework launched by the Indian government in 2015 to rank higher education institutions in the country. The ranking is based on various parameters such as teaching, research, outreach, perception, and others. More on the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) in the linked article.
  • Attracting Foreign Faculty: The government has introduced several initiatives to attract foreign faculty to Indian universities. The Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty Scheme, the Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN), and the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) are some of the initiatives introduced to attract foreign faculty.
  • Research Funding: The government has increased funding for research and development in higher education institutions to encourage innovation and research. The government has also launched various schemes such as the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) and the Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) to promote research.
  • Industry-Academia Collaboration: The government has encouraged collaboration between industry and academia to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications. Several initiatives have been launched to promote collaboration between higher education institutions and the industry.
  • Autonomy: The government has granted autonomy to higher education institutions to encourage them to take independent decisions and to promote excellence in teaching, research, and innovation.


  • In the coming years, Indian higher education institutions are likely to witness even more growth and development. With the government’s focus on promoting innovation, research, and internationalization, Indian universities are poised to become major players in the global academic arena. 
  • The Institutes of Eminence scheme and other initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining top talent, promoting interdisciplinary research, and strengthening industry-academia collaboration are likely to yield positive results.
  • With India’s increasing research output, the country is likely to become a leading hub for scientific and technological advancements. As Indian universities continue to climb up the global rankings, they are likely to attract more foreign students and faculty, leading to greater diversity and cross-cultural exchange. The future of Indian higher education is bright, and it is poised to make significant contributions to the world of academia, the nation’s growth story.

QS University Rankings :- Download PDF Here

Related Links
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UPSC Calendar 2023 UPSC Eligibility Criteria


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