3 UAE universities rise in global education rankings, surpass last year's performance

Khalifa University tops the country ahead of United Arab Emirates University, with the University of Sharjah also sealing its spot


Nandini Sircar

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Pictured: Khalifa University. File photo
Pictured: Khalifa University. File photo

Published: Mon 13 May 2024, 10:30 AM

Last updated: Mon 13 May 2024, 4:52 PM

Three UAE universities, led by Khalifa University, made it to the 2024 edition of the Global 2000 list by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR).

Khalifa University tops the country ahead of United Arab Emirates University, with the University of Sharjah also sealing its spot.

Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa University has risen 16 spots to 876 from last year’s 892nd, with an improvement in research performance and places in the top 4.2 per cent worldwide.

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United Arab Emirates University rises 65 spots to 1113rd from last year’s 1178th , hile University of Sharjah climbs 146 spots to 1253rd.

These figures by CWUR, the publisher of the largest academic ranking of global universities, analysed 62 million outcome-based data points to rank universities from around the world.

Overall, the UAE is improving against rivals worldwide, with its three leading universities all rising in the standings on the back of a stronger showing in research performance.

There were several yardsticks like quality of education, employability, quality of faculty, and research performance, against which these universities have been ranked.

This year, 20966 universities were ranked, and those that placed at the top made the Global 2000 list – which includes institutions from 94 countries.

The methodology

CWUR uses seven objective and outcome-based indicators grouped into four areas to rank the world’s universities.

25 per cent is attributed to quality of education; another 25 per cent has been attributed to employability, with 10 per cent and 40 per cent given to the faculties' quality and research performance respectively.

Dr Nadim Mahassen, President of the Center for World University Rankings commented on the national picture, saying: “It is encouraging to see the United Arab Emirates making gains in the rankings. In the last five years, the UAE’s global share in scientific research grew by an astonishing 79 per cent. Additional investment in research and development will allow the country to be even more competitive in the international arena of science and technology.”

Dr Mahassen highlighted while this year’s rankings confirm the world-class standing of the US higher education sector, the decline of nearly two-thirds of American institutions is concerning, amid stiff competition from Chinese universities.

He also added that the overall slide of US institutions mirrors those of UK, Russian, and Japanese universities, while France saw improvements as a result of the growing number of mergers between its institutions.

"China’s remarkable rise is due to heavy investment in research and development, and recruitment of talented researchers in classified areas, such as semiconductors, from the US and elsewhere through the Qiming program. With Chinese universities challenging their Western counterparts, American and European institutions cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.


The US

The US, despite claiming eight of the top ten places globally, is struggling to maintain its dominance against rivals worldwide,. n the Global 2000, only 90 US institutions improve from last year, with 23 maintaining their spots, and 216 falling down the standings.

All Ivy League institutions are included in the global top 70 this year. Berkeley stands as the leading public university in the US, ranking 12th globally, just one position behind Chicago. In total, the US has the highest representation in the Global 2000 with 329 institutions, which is three fewer than the previous year. Meanwhile, Canada boasts 39 institutions on the list, with the University of Toronto leading at number 23.


Europe retains its significance as a key player in global rankings, boasting 639 institutions within the top 2000. However, the outlook for 2024 appears bleak amidst escalating international competition.

In the United Kingdom, Cambridge and Oxford’s success masks the decline of nearly sixty percent of UK institutions in the rankings. In the Global 2000, only 28 universities improve from last year, with 7 maintaining their spots, and 57 falling down the standings.

Of the Russell Group’s 24 research-intensive universities, 2 institutions rank better compared to last year, 6 maintain their spots, and 16 rank lower. Overall, the UK has 92 representatives – one less than last year – in the Global 2000.


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