Research News

Research at UCD contributes to major rise in QS world rankings

  • 07 June, 2024


UCD has made significant gains in the QS World University Rankings, announced this week, placing at 126th in the world, which represents a jump of 45 places since being ranked 171 last year.

This is UCD’s highest performance since 2011, placing UCD in the top 9% of the institutions ranked in the QS World University Rankings.

Research activity contributed to half the rankings performance, with gains in both Citations per Faculty and International Research Network (IRN). 

Output and citations from UCD faculty increased, based on citations calculated from the Scopus database over six years from 2018 to 2023. UCD ‘Normalised Citation’ figure has increased this year by over 17,100 citations and 18.0 citations per faculty, causing an increase of 56 places in the rank for this indicator – UCDs highest score in this indicator since 2018.

UCD also saw a gain in its IRN ranking, up 97 places compared with the previous year. This index reflects the ability of institutions to diversify the geography of their international research network by establishing sustainable research partnerships with other higher education institutions. This metric considers only sustained partnerships, i.e. those which result in three or more joint papers indexed by Scopus in a five-year period. In 2024, SciVal shows UCD has 466 international research partners and 51 research partner locations.

At 30%, Academic Reputation is the most heavily weighted individual indicator in the QS World University Rankings. In 2025 UCD’s score in this indicator increased by 1.6 points with a corresponding increase in rank by 4 places.

Furthermore, UCD was ranked number one in Ireland for Sustainability and Employment Outcomes. The sharp increase for 2025 marks the second year in a row of upward movement for UCD in these indicators.

Commenting on the results, UCD President Professor Orla Feely said: "Our greatly improved position reflects the dedication and achievements of our faculty, researchers and staff. It is very heartening to see that our score has increased in eight of the nine components of the ranking, showing the breadth as well as the depth of our achievements."

The Sustainability ranking is a new indicator, with 5% weighting in the overall institutional ranking. It evaluates the social and environmental impact of universities as centres of education and research. UCD saw an improved score and ranking from 70.1 points and a rank of 204 in 2024 to 95.6 points and a rank of 50 in 2025, placing UCD number one overall in Ireland.

The nine indicators used by the QS World University Rankings to measure performance are: International Faculty, Sustainability, Employment Outcomes, International Research Network, International Students, Academic Reputation, Citations per Faculty, Employer Reputation, and Faculty Student Ratio.

For its latest World University Rankings edition, QS evaluated some 5,663 institutions and ranked 1,503 globally. There were no changes to the methodology or weightings used between the 2024 and 2025 rankings.