International university rankings: Australian institutions that make it to top 50

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University students walk on the campus of University of Sydney following a graduation ceremony in Sydney, Australia, April 22, 2016.
University students walk on the campus of University of Sydney following a graduation ceremony in Sydney, Australia, April 22, 2016. Reuters/Jason Reed

The QS World University Ranking has revealed that the Australian National University is the highest ranked in the country and one of the world's top 20 universities. Five Aussie universities were named among the top 50 higher education institutions.

The University of Melbourne ranked at 41 and was followed by the University of New South Wales at 45. The University of Queensland made it to the 47th spot, while the University of Sydney is at 50.

Seven Aussie universities were able to make it to the top 100 this year. The number was up from six in last year's list.

Six Aussie universities advanced their ranks from 2016. The University of Sydney was the only higher education institution in Australia that dropped down the list from 46 last year. Monash University ranked at 60, the University of Western Australia at 93.

Universities' international reputations measured

The QS World University Ranking is a measure of universities' international reputations. The research team unit of QS, an international education and employment company, compiles the data every year.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds’ London-based head of research Ben Sowter said there are several ways to determine global university rankings and Australia's tertiary education sector is doing well in all accounts. The company assessed university reputation across various areas which are teaching, research, internalisation and employability outcomes.

Over 75,000 academics and more than 40,000 employers participated in QS’s survey. Sowter assured that Australia has a great year in terms of the company’s metrics.

Chief executive of peak sector body Universities Australia Belinda Robinson said the ranking is specifically essential to international students in selecting a university. "Global rankings are a major factor for many international students in deciding where to study, so they're also very important to the $22.4 billion a year that international students bring into Australia's economy," the Sydney Morning Herald quotes her as saying.

But Robinson warned the proposed government funding cuts might damage the reputation of Australia's education system in the international scene. In the Budget, the Turnbull government announced its intention to entail an "efficiencies dividend" on higher education.

For sixth consecutive years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been hailed the top ranked university in the world. Stanford University, Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Chicago and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology are next on the list.

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