A strong performance by UNSW Science has helped UNSW climb four places to 45 in the QS World University Rankings for 2017-18.

The result places UNSW as the highest-ranked university in Sydney and in NSW, and third in Australia, behind the University of Melbourne (=41) and Australian National University (20).

Four Science disciplines were ranked in the top 50, with UNSW placed 15th in the world for Environmental Science.

Psychology was ranked 18th in the world, Materials Science 37th and Earth and Marine Science came in at 42nd.

Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, said the stronger ranking reflected UNSW’s drive to be Australia’s global university.

“We are now ranked the number one university in NSW and in Sydney, Australia’s global gateway city. This steady rise in the QS rankings shows our UNSW keystone 2025 Strategy is already delivering major advances in terms of academic excellence, social engagement and global impact,” Professor Jacobs said.

“Congratulations to our staff, students and graduates whose hard work is paying off. This latest result is a strong vindication of the Strategy which aims to position UNSW among the world’s leading universities, with a focus on improving lives both in Australia and around the world.”

Since 2014, UNSW has moved up seven places in the respected rankings, compiled by global education analysts, QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

The University scored a maximum 100/100 on the QS International Faculty Index, based on its proportion of international faculty members.

Typically, universities located in places with large expatriate populations, like UAE, Hong Kong and Switzerland, score highly on this measure, so UNSW’s perfect score highlights its attractiveness to overseas staff.

QS also gave UNSW high marks for its proportion of international students (97.8/100) and academic reputation (96.4/100), which is judged from a survey of academics around the world.

UNSW’s best performing area was employer reputation, where it ranked 26 globally.

Employer reputation was judged from an annual survey of employers around the world, which asked for their views on which institutions provide the best professionals. About 40,400 responses were analysed.

Ms Fiona Docherty, Vice-President International, Marketing and Communications, said it was pleasing to see the high regard for UNSW education in the minds of employers worldwide and the recognition of UNSW’s global outlook.

“We already know that UNSW graduates are highly employable, both in the competitive jobs market here in Sydney and nationally and abroad, and the QS employer survey confirms this,” Ms Docherty said.

“UNSW is a university of choice not only for students but for staff. The rankings reveal the early success of our intensive global academic recruitment efforts, and our growing reputation for academic excellence.”

The QS World University Rankings have been published since 2004. This year, 959 universities were judged on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, student to faculty ratio, international faculty and international students.

US and UK-based universities continued to vie for the top rankings with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, Harvard, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), Cambridge and Oxford taking out the top places in the league table.

QS noted that Australian institutions made the most progress in the rankings than any other nation of similar size and standard for a number of reasons, including institutional performance and shocks to the global higher education system over the past year.

“Higher internationalisation scores certainly reflect coherent international outreach efforts made by university marketing departments,” QS Research Director Ben Sowter said in a statement.

“However, they also reflect the increased desirability of Australian higher education in the light of current political situations in the United States and United Kingdom – typically Australia’s main Anglosphere competitors.”

A methodological change also influenced the results, with QS changing the way that domestic and international responses are counted. Previously, international responses to the employer survey received greater weight, however they are now weighted equally.