Many of the world’s top engineering schools lost ground in this year’s rankings, and Australian universities were no exception.
Monash has retained its title as the number one Australian institution in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings for engineering and technology – but dropped four places compared to overseas competitors.
Last year, Monash was ranked 57th in the world. This year, it shares 63rd place with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which has dropped from 59th place in the 2018 list. This follows a previous drop in rankings from the 2017 list, when Monash was ranked 45th in the world.
According to Times Higher Education (THE), the rankings were based on subjects including general, electrical and electronic, mechanical and aerospace, civil and chemical engineering.
Six other Australian universities were in the global top 100. Of the best-performing national institutions for engineering, only University of Wollongong gained ground – rising nine positions from last year. The rest fell between two and 17 spots:
- University of Melbourne: 70th (down from 63rd)
- University of NSW: 71st (down from 69th)
- Australian National University: 76th (down from 66th)
- University of Queensland: 85th (down from 73rd)
- University of Wollongong: 87th (up from 96th)
- University of Sydney: 93rd (down from 76th)
Australia wasn’t the only nation that saw a drop in engineering rankings. Top US performers Stanford University and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) both lost ground, with Oxford University knocking Stanford out of the top global position.
The US, Japan and China were the most represented countries on this year’s list, ahead of the UK, Germany, Australia and Canada.
More fish in the pond
There is increased global competition in the engineering subject area this year, following an adjustment to the eligibility criteria that put more institutions in the running. In the latest list, the number of universities included nearly doubled – up to 903 from 501.
The engineering and technology rankings are based on the same performance indicators that are used to place global institutions on their overall performance, weighted to reflect an engineering focus.
The highest weight was placed on the quality of the teaching environment and the volume, income and reputation of the university’s research. Each of these factors contributed 30 per cent to the overall score. Research citations accounted for 27.5 per cent, and international outlook and industry for 7.5 and 5 per cent respectively.
Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8) universities also fell in the overall THE rankings, released in September. In her analysis of the overall results, Global Rankings editor Ellie Bothwell warned that the Commonwealth government’s freeze on undergraduate course contributions was a cause for concern.