x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE University continues to rise in world rankings

Institution goes from 372nd to 338th in world league table.

Learning curve: students at UAE University, which has just been moved up the world-rankings chart.
Learning curve: students at UAE University, which has just been moved up the world-rankings chart.

ABU DHABI // UAE University has risen to its highest ranking in an international league table of universities, and remains the only UAE institution to gain a place in any such chart.

It rose from 372nd last year to 338th in the QS World University Rankings, which chart the world's top 500 institutions and name and rank the best 400.

Not all subjects fared so well, however; in medicine and life sciences, UAEU dropped from 202nd to 299th place, and in arts and humanities it fell from 235th to 367th.

The university's provost, Prof Rory Hume, said: "We did even better in life sciences and medicine last year, but it is still our best area and very notable when you consider all of the great medical schools in the world."

UAEU was first ranked in the top 500 four years ago, gaining a nominal equal 401st place - the ranking given to all institutions in the top 500 but outside the best 400.

Prof Hume added: "For 2009/10 we were 374 and for 2010/11 372, so it felt a bit like being stalled - so it is nice to be moving up again."

Prof Hume put the decline in arts and humanities down to fluctuations in the number of publications by its academics and the fact they have not appeared in such high-profile publications.

He added: "The most reliable figure is the overall ranking. It takes everything into account; employer satisfaction, class size, international nature of faculty and student body, in addition to assessment of research publications." With its increased emphasis on research and having introduced doctoral degrees last year, the university, founded in 1976, is putting maximum effort into raising standards.

Dr Fatima Abdulla, an education consultant and managing director of Global Consulting Associates, said the international recognition was something to be proud of, adding that any slide in position should not be a cause for too much concern.

"It is not clear where QS are getting their criteria," she said, "and it is easy to manipulate rankings like this so the fact that UAEU is still the only institution showing up in the rankings, is still a very good thing."

Two thousand universities were considered for the league table, one of several used by academics and students around the world. The rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research citations. The UK's Cambridge came out as the world's best university, with Harvard in the US topping the league for medicine and life sciences.

While the improvement in rankings is impressive for the Al Ain based institution, Dr Abdulla Al Khanbashi, its vice chancellor, added there is more work to be done.

"We will need to continue our efforts to reach our goal of being a top 100 university," he said.

mswan@thenational.ae