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March 10, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Nice Unis Finish Last

Victoria University has downplayed the findings of an international university-rankings body which two weeks ago downgraded Victoria’s Law School, along with Modern Languages, Computer Science, Psychology and Political Science.

Salient reported on the rankings, released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), in last week’s issue. Victoria’s Law rankings dropped from 19th in the world in 2013 to 49th in the world in 2014.

Under the 2013 rankings, Victoria was the highest-ranked university for Law in New Zealand; in 2014, it has fallen to third, behind University of Auckland and University of Otago.

Law was not the only subject at Victoria whose rankings took a dive. Modern Languages, Computer Science, Psychology and Political Science all dropped in both New Zealand and international rankings. Notably, Victoria is no longer in the top 50 universities in the world for Psychology or Political Science.

Professor Rob Rabel, Pro Vice-Chancellor International, called the QS rankings system “volatile”, and said that rankings were measured and interpreted in many different ways.

“One reason for the change in ranking for Victoria’s Law School may be citation rates, which vary from year to year and depend on when publications come out,” Rabel said.

He added that it was “important to note that Victoria’s Law programme remains in the top 50 in the world”, and that Victoria’s rankings in some subject areas had improved.

Victoria is now ranked 31st in the world, and second in New Zealand, for English Language and Literature. It has also shown improvements in History, Chemistry and Sociology.

Rabel also said that Victoria’s position in university rankings has “remained relatively stable in recent years”, and he did not expect the rankings changes to lead to fewer students enrolling in Law.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject have existed since 2011. According to the organisation, “the methodology for QS World University Rankings by Subject has been narrowed to include only those indicators that bypass the direct involvement of institutions.”

QS Subject Rankings are determined through analysing academic reputation, employability of graduates, citations per paper, and the h-index, which measures the productivity and impact of the published work of academics.

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