Israel’s six leading universities decline in global rankings

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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem remains Israel’s leading university, according to the rankings published Wednesday.

Students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (photo credit: YORAM ASCHHEIM/THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM)

Students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

(photo credit: YORAM ASCHHEIM/THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM)

All six of Israel’s leading universities have declined over the last year, according to the latest edition of the annual QS World University Rankings.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem remains Israel’s leading university, according to the rankings published Wednesday, staying in the top 200 but slipping 15 places from 162th globally to 177th place. Tel Aviv University dropped 11 places to 230th, and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology also remained in the top 300 but fell from 257th to 291st place.

Ben Gurion University of the Negev was ranked 446th, followed by Bar-Ilan University (551 down from 560) and the University of Haifa, which saw the largest drop of 49 places (701 from 750).

The decline in the rankings, QS researchers said, is primarily attributable to a drop in academic reputation and employer recognition received by the universities.

The world’s top four universities remain American institutions, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) named the world’s best university for a ninth consecutive year, followed by Stanford University, Harvard University, and California Institute of Technology.

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The University of Oxford is Europe’s leading university, ranked fifth globally, followed by ETH Zurich (sixth), the University of Cambridge (seventh) and Imperial College London (eighth).

“This year’s edition of the QS World University Rankings indicates that the traditional global higher education hierarchy is in a state of flux, with record-breaking successes for universities in Asia, the Middle East, Russia, Malaysia, and Latin America’s top institutions – while we find that the American higher education sector is, as a whole, feeling the effect of this intensifying global competition,” said QS Director of Research Ben Sowter.

“Israel’s higher education sector remains characterized by outstanding knowledge production, with four of its six featured universities achieving top-200 scores for our measure of research impact. To improve further, increases to teaching capacity and engagement with industry to boost employer recognition are necessary.”

While academics surveyed by QS believe that Israel’s best university is the Hebrew University, ranked 223rd globally for academic reputation, employers state that Israel’s best graduates emerge from Tel Aviv University, which is ranked 326th for employer reputation.

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Based on citations per faculty, the nation’s top research university is Tel Aviv University.

The rankings showed a collective decline for American universities, too, with 112 of 153 institutions falling in the index and only 34 recording improvements. The trend is attributed to declining academic reputation and citations per faculty scores.

Meanwhile, a record 26 Asian universities were ranked among the top 100 institutions. Six leading universities are found in both Mainland China and South Korea, followed by five each in Hong Kong and Japan, two in Singapore, and one in both Malaysia and Taiwan.

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