Cube Rankings is a product of UniCurve.com. It was created to produce consensus rankings. These combine the lists of global rankings agencies. Cube Rankings also has the job of presenting national rankings where good national rankings are available.
Why university rankings are interesting
World university rankings are actually a bit of a joke. You could learn just as much about microeconomics by taking a first-year course at York University in Canada (world ranking: 311) as by studying a similar course at the University of Toronto (world ranking: 18). The Toronto lecturer may be better or worse — no-one can really say. How much you learn would be up to you and how committed you are to studying economics.
At the University of Toronto, there is more world-class academic research done than at York University and more world-class academics. That's what the relative rankings tell you. But it doesn't mean that Toronto is therefore a better university for students. World rankings don't demonstrate that teaching standards are higher at Toronto. They just indicate how well academics of the university are performing in the competitive world of university research.
Value of prestige
We think the main reason why rankings are interesting is because they quickly sum up several or more qualities of a university. You can fairly sure a high-ranking university:
- is hard to get into (has high course entry requirements);
- charges high tuition fees;
- has classes full of high performing (and/or rich) students;
- confers degrees that people (including employers) think are valuable; and
- has good study and research facilities.
We know that all these things are true because students want to attend high-ranking universities. There is prestige attached to a high ranking. Prestige allows the university to be more selective in admitting students and to charge more. It also helps the university attract research funding.
Some consensus please
Which global rankings agency produces the best rankings? This is hard to say. All the rankings measure different things and offer something a little different. Notably, the rankings are all quite similar anyway.
When discussing the ranking of a university, it is nice to be able to just say "Harvard is the top university according to consensus rankings" or "the University of Toronto is generally considered to be number one in Canada". This is better than quoting one ranking agency or having to quote multiple agencies. Consensus rankings are good for summarising ranking lists.
Consensus ranking method
The method for calculating consensus ranking is straightforward. For the world's top 100 universities, there is a points system. A university gets more points according to how high it appears in the top 100 ranking lists.
For universities outside the world's top 100, we average the published rankings for the university. While this method does not produce a strict ordering, it gives a good indication of where a university is normally ranked.