Why is St Andrews ranked so differently in rankings?

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Ravenclaw21
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#1
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Hello. I have been researching a lot about the University of St Andrews since I want to apply to a postgraduate degree there. I am an international student. I found out that many UK rankings for example league of tables, UKUNI, and others rank it in top 5 UK unis, while international rankings like QS Global and the Times rank it at around 15th best in UK. Any ideas? P.S. I am applying regardless, just curious.
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la_banane_verte
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The length of time it took me to find this post I'd've been quicker just retyping it...

(Original post by la_banane_verte)
If anyone's curious about why St A does well in UK league tables for things like Physics, but not in the world league tables, it's because UK table emphasise things to do with undergraduate teaching more, and world ones emphasise things to do with research citations and research grants. St Andrews is so tiny that it struggles to rank highly in those areas.
So basically the tables that only rank UK unis use NSS (how happy are students with the teaching etc at the uni), number of staff per students, how much they spend on facilities, and how they did in the UK's research rating thing (REF). The worldwide league tables are based hugely on these "reputation surveys" of university staff and employers, which are a sort of vicious circle because if a league table tells you X is the best in the world, then next year if you're an academic or employer and you're asked "who's the best in the world" you're more likely to say the ones that did well last year...so it's basically a perception ranking rather than an actual experience-based ranking like the UK-only ones.
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Ravenclaw21
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#3
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(Original post by la_banane_verte)
The length of time it took me to find this post I'd've been quicker just retyping it...



So basically the tables that only rank UK unis use NSS (how happy are students with the teaching etc at the uni), number of staff per students, how much they spend on facilities, and how they did in the UK's research rating thing (REF). The worldwide league tables are based hugely on these "reputation surveys" of university staff and employers, which are a sort of vicious circle because if a league table tells you X is the best in the world, then next year if you're an academic or employer and you're asked "who's the best in the world" you're more likely to say the ones that did well last year...so it's basically a perception ranking rather than an actual experience-based ranking like the UK-only ones.
Thank you so much!
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Ravenclaw21)
Thank you so much!
There's an even simpler answer.

National league tables rank how good universities are as a seat of learning whereas Global league tables rank how good universities are as as a centre of academic research
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penguinstudent
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It's also worth noting that St Andrews is a tiny University. This means that it can't churn out as many papers or spend as much money as larger unis, which consistently penalizes it quite heavily in international rankings. If you're looking at the metrics considered by UK only rankings, Student Satisfaction or Spending per Student then (largely speaking) St Andrews performs extremely similarly to other UK top 5 unis, when compared to universities abroad.
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