2018 QS Philosophy Rankings


The 2018 “QS World University Rankings” have been published, including rankings of philosophy programs.

 

Clare Graham, Yardstick Art

The rankings are conducted by the London-based education firm Quacquarelli Symonds. They take into account academic reputation, employability of graduates, research citations per faculty paper, and h-index. You can read more about the methodology here.

The rankings do not specify whether they are intended to assist prospective undergraduate or graduate students, though much of the materials seem oriented towards the former.

Several criticisms of the rankings, along with responses from QS, are discussed here and here. These rankings are far from uncontroversial, as, of course, is the very idea of fine-grained rankings of places to study philosophy.

 

You can view last year’s rankings here.

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Mohan Matthen
3 years ago

This is a pretty intuitive ranking from a global perspective. (And this has not always been true of the QS rankings. I’d disagree with a few entries, but concede that even these might be close given the quality of undergraduate education. Report

Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Carolyn Dicey Jennings
3 years ago

Interestingly, despite apparently being dominated by reputation, the results of this measure seem to differ quite a bit from those of the PGR. The majority of programs in the QS top 50 are not even in the PGR worldwide top 50, including several English-speaking programs (e.g. Bristol, Auckland, McGill, Boston University, Sydney…). For the minority that are included by the PGR, there are considerable deviations between the rankings, with an average difference of 7 rank steps between them. Looking at just the top 10 listed by QS, the PGR rankings are as follows: 7, 1, 3, 2, 7, 19, 3, 38, 11, NA. Yet, the correlation coefficient between the rankings is .5 (p=.01), indicating moderate agreement between the measures in cases of overlap. I am not sure what to make of this without knowing more about those surveyed by QS, but I find it interesting. Perhaps if we can get enough of these reputational surveys someone can run some sort of meta-analysis to determine the consistency and value of reputational surveys. Report

pseudoo
pseudoo
Reply to  Carolyn Dicey Jennings
3 years ago

Do these rankings also use snowball sampling as the PGR does?Report

Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Reply to  pseudoo
3 years ago

Yes, of a sort. It contacts the universities on its list and asks them to supply names and contact information:

“QS encourages universities and other higher education stakeholders to help us build the universe of respondents to our academic and employer reputation surveys. Each institution is welcomed to submit its lists of contacts on an annual basis directly to the QS Intelligence Unit (QSIU) as part of the data collection cycle.

In exceptional circumstances where this is not possible, then subject to approval by QSIU, an institution will be able to circulate the link to the Sign-Up facility among their contacts of academics and employers.”Report

Mohan Matthen
Reply to  Carolyn Dicey Jennings
3 years ago

Reputation does indeed play a very important role in the ratings, as you say, Carolyn. But the people surveyed are different from those in PGR. Academics are surveyed, and for subject rankings it might be that only philosophers’ opinions count, but employers are surveyed as well, and presumably there is no subject-based filtering here. Additionally, there are two citation based measures—citations per paper and h-index. (The first penalizes published but less cited papers; the second gives weight to overall influence.) So it’s not surprising that there should be broad divergences from PGR.Report

Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Reply to  Mohan Matthen
3 years ago

Great point, Mohan. And you are right about employer reputation. But I think it is likely reputation overall counts for 85% of the score in this case: “As research cultures and publication rates vary significantly across academic disciplines, the QS World University Rankings by Subject applies a different weighting of the above indicators in each subject. For example, in medicine, where publication rates are very high, research citations and the h-index account for 25% of each university’s total score. On the other hand, in areas with much lower publication rates such as history, these research-related indicators only account for 15% of the total ranking score.”Report

Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Carolyn Dicey Jennings
Reply to  Carolyn Dicey Jennings
3 years ago

Actually I just looked it up and academic reputation is 75% of the score for philosophy. Employer reputation is only 5%. http://www.iu.qs.com/university-rankings/subject-tables/Report

Brian
Brian
3 years ago

There’s a simple explanation of the problems with their academic reputational surveys here:
http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2017/03/the-qs-rankings-ie-the-quirky-silliness-rankings-are-back.htmlReport

Mohan Matthen
Reply to  Brian
3 years ago

Well, Brian, you do admit that things have gotten better with the survey, and that’s what I think too. But there are a couple of points you make that I am more hesitant to accept. First, you say that German programs are over-ranked. Maybe, but there have been dramatic improvements in Germany, maybe because the market is a bit more normal there. Second, you say that Cambridge does better than it ought to relative to Oxford, and you put this down to a halo effect. Again, I don’t disagree, but from an undergraduate education point of view, Cambridge is a lot higher than it would be from other points of view.Report

Brian
Brian
Reply to  Mohan Matthen
3 years ago

The surveys don’t actual specify anything about undergraduate experience, they just ask about research and about teaching (and the latter is not specifically about undergraduate teaching–and, of course, hardly anyone has any basis for judging).Report

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Brian
3 years ago

Why should the (mostly) American perspective be preferred to, say, German or French or Italian perspective on philosophy? Report

Ze german
Ze german
Reply to  Joe
3 years ago

I’d like to hear more about the German perspective on philosophy. Could you explain?Report

Joe
Joe
Reply to  Ze german
3 years ago

Brian Leiter on his website points out that, in his view, the rankings discussed here were produced by including many academics from Europe and esp. Germany, where, as he says, Pittsburgh is big. Since he thinks these rankings are quite odd and not reflective of the state of the art, as it were, as opposed to PGR, I wonder whether PGR, being heavily US leaning, and almost entirely anglophone, is, on that account, better than rankings that would be produced by German/French what have you speaking academics, or in general, more international. Report