Trinity climbs into top 100 universities worldwide as others slip down rankings

Most Irish universities lose ground in latest QS World University Rankings for 2023

Trinity College Dublin has climbed into the world’s top 100 universities, according to the latest global rankings, while most other Irish colleges have slipped down the league table.

The 2023 QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) world rankings compare the performance of the world’s top 1,400 universities across 100 countries.

The latest edition shows Trinity is up three positions to 98th, breaking a five-year run outside the top 100.

The college’s improvement was due to a rise in citations — a measure of academic impact — as well as a strong performance in academic and employer reputation surveys, according to the rankings.


Most other universities in Ireland, however, have lost ground. University College Dublin (UCD) is down eight places to 181st, while NUI Galway is down 12 places to 270th.

There is also disappointment for University College Cork (UCC), which is out of the top 300 after slipping five places to 303rd place.

Dublin City University (DCU) bucked the trend and is Ireland’s most improved university, climbing 19 places to 471st place.

However, University of Limerick (UL) has dropped into the 531-540 category (down from 501-510 last year), as is Maynooth University, which is into the 801-1,000 category (down from 751-800 last year). Technological University Dublin remains in the 801-1,000 category.

Overall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranks number one globally, while University of Cambridge is in second place and Stanford University remains in third.

While many critics say university rankings are flawed and do not accurately capture the impact of teaching and learning, most in the higher education sector acknowledge they remain influential internationally.

The QS rankings use six indicators: academic and employer reputation; citations per faculty; faculty/student ratio; international faculty ratio; and international student ratio.

The rankings indicate many Irish universities are struggling to keep pace with improved performances among the world’s best across a number of key areas including academic impact, employer reputation and student-staff ratios.

QS senior vice-president Ben Sowter said the obstacles to further improvement for Irish universities are clearest in the areas that require consistent investment, such as teaching capacity.

“In many respects, Ireland’s institutions are performing well. However, in an increasingly competitive global environment, the limits to their success will be defined by investment.”

Trinity’s provost Linda Doyle said the university is delighted to be back in the top 100 and it was “great news for Ireland’s global reputation”.

“Rankings have shortcomings in how they measure all that is happening in a university, but they are watched closely internationally. It is hugely important for Trinity and for Ireland that we are in the top-100,” said Dr Doyle.

“Further Government funding to tackle our staff-student ratio is key to ensuring we remain in the top 100.”

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent