Penn State rises 10 places in 2024 QS World University Rankings

Penn State ranks No. 83 globally and No. 24 in U.S., placing highly in new metrics — international research network, sustainability, and employment outcomes

June 28, 2023

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Penn State News. PlantVillage, which includes work by Chaopeng Shen, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and the LiMC2 center, which is led by Zoubeida Ounaies, professor of mechanical engineering, were recognized as part of the University’s highly ranked international research output. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State ranked No. 83 in the world — a jump of 10 positions from No. 93 last year — in the recently released 2024 QS World University Rankings, placing the University in the top 6% worldwide among the 1,500 institutions ranked by QS. Penn State also placed, out of 199 ranked U.S. institutions, at No. 8 among public universities nationally and No. 4 among Big Ten institutions. Penn State rose to No. 24 among all U.S. universities, up from No. 26 last year.

The QS rankings are considered one of the three most respected international university ranking systems, along with the rankings compiled by Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, according to Roger Brindley, vice provost for Penn State Global.

“At a time of increasing excellence in higher education around the world, notably in the emerging economies of Asia, it is increasingly difficult to maintain a well-earned global reputation. Given this context, it is highly unusual to see an institution already in the top 100 in the world rise 10 points in one year,” Brindley said. “It is a great credit to our faculty who teach our students to be the next generation of global leaders. It also is a testament to the faculty who not only conduct extraordinary research around the critical challenges we face in society today, but then carefully and diligently document that work so that we can accurately portray the remarkable and broad scholarship of Penn State.”

Penn State placed highly in new metrics added by QS for the 2024 rankings: international research network, sustainability, and employment outcomes. Other performance indicators that comprise the QS methodology include academic reputation, citations per faculty, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, international faculty ratio, and international student ratio.

“Penn State’s positioning in this competitive ranking highlights the exceptional quality of our faculty, staff, students and alumni, and the work they are doing to advance the University’s mission and standing on a global stage,” said Justin Schwartz, Penn State executive vice president and provost. “It is gratifying to see Penn State recognized among so many outstanding global institutions. This ranking speaks to important focus areas for the University, including the employability of our graduates, the global reach of our research enterprise, our reputation for academic excellence, and our University-wide commitment to sustainability.”

The strength of the University’s international research network placed the institution at No. 36 in the world among those ranked by QS. Penn State has many strong international research initiatives, among them PlantVillage, which recently was awarded $4.96 million by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat crop loss in Africa; the USA – Colombia WEF Nexus, which recently partnered with Amazon on a project to promote water security in the Chingaza region of Colombia; and the LiMC2 center, which partners on research in living materials with the livMATs cluster at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

Penn State's efforts in sustainability placed it at No. 52 worldwide among those ranked by QS — continuing a trend of consistently high international rankings for the University in this area. Recently, Penn State’s sustainability efforts were recognized by Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings, where the University ranked No. 3 in the U.S. and No. 40 worldwide, and last fall the QS sustainability rankings placed Penn State No. 38 in the world. The University’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its strategic plan, as well as in such initiatives as its Sustainability Institute and the Student Sustainability Advisory Council.

Penn State’s strong academic reputation, as measured by the annual QS Academic Reputation Survey, ranked No. 76 in the world. Earlier this year, QS recognized Penn State’s excellence in its 2023 World University Rankings by Subject — based partly on academic and employer reputation surveys —where Penn State ranked in the top 25 in eight subject areas and in the top 50 in 19 areas.

Penn State also placed in the top 10% worldwide in employer reputation and employment outcomes. The University’s graduates gain employment in sectors across industry, government, education and nonprofit organizations, and are highly sought after by employers — in a 2019 survey, corporate recruiters ranked universities based on which best trained, educated and prepared graduates for career success, and Penn State tied with MIT for fifth in the nation. Penn State also graduates the second-highest number of CEOs in the United States, according to a LinkedIn study. In addition, Penn State has a strong record as one of the top U.S. universities for supporting students on Optional Practice Training, a temporary employment authorization for international students related to their area of study.

QS describes itself as “the world’s leading provider of services, analytics and insight to the global higher education sector, whose mission is to enable motivated people anywhere in the world to fulfill their potential through educational achievement, international mobility, and career development.” According to QS, this year’s ranking reflects an increase in participating institutions, survey responses and comparative data. There were 85 new entrants, with impact continuing to grow from Canada and Europe. In total, nearly 3,000 institutions were evaluated for inclusion in the ranking, with 1,500 universities ultimately making the list. Read more about the methodology for the 2024 QS World University Rankings.


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