Most international student select their host university based on three criteria: the course they wish to study; the location of possible host universities; and the quality of education at different institutions.

There are two widely accepted ranking systems in the world: the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) World Rankings, produces in the United Kingdom at, and the Academic Rankings of World Universities, developed by the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

Although these ranking systems employ different methodologies and measures, both place an emphasis on universities’ research excellence. As most students are enrolling in an undergraduate course or do not have any interest in pursuing a postgraduate research degree, these ranking systems may have limited relevance when choosing a university. Instead, international students should consider the following criteria under the THES:

EMPLOYER REVIEW SCORE. Ratings by global recruiters and companies provide a measure of how the corporate sector rates the universities.

STAFF/STUDENT RATIO. A higher score means that more staff are available to cater to the needs of students

INTERNATIONAL STAFF SCORE. More international staff provide a more globalised education, but some staff may lack English proficiency.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SCORE. Reflects the university’s popularity with international students.

The academic Rankings of World Universities system is very research focused. The question is whether the staff is an excellent research-intensive university will have sufficient time to teach students while maintaining a high research output. You should compare this ranking with the staff/students ratio from the THES system to ensrue that the institution provides adequate teaching resources.


THE SUBJECT AREA (S) OR DISCIPLINE (S) YOU WISH TO SPECIALISE IN. For example, chemistry, sociology, law.


THE RELEVANCE OF A COURSE TO YOUR FUTURE EMPLOYMENT AIMS. Will this degree help you move into an interesting career?


THE ACADEMIC LEVEL REQUIRED WITHIN A COURSE. Will you be able to cope with high-level maths, science or English demands? This is important, particularly in courses where there is a progression in difficulty across several years.


 THE PREFERRED ASSESSMENT METHODS FOR THAT COURSE. Do the assessment methods seem appropriate to the subject matter? Will you be able to cope with the demands made?


In compiling your preferences you must of course consider carefully the entry requirement for the course, which may vary from year to year. Course in high demand at metropolitan universities can require extremely high entry scores, but entry requirements for similar courses at regional universities are often significantly lower than for metropolitan universities.