UCD President Andrew Deeks used the release of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018 to praise staff and call out the lack of higher education funding provided by the government.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject has 48 different ranking categories. UCD ‘offers 45 of those subjects and was ranked in 34 across the five broad subject areas.’ Veterinary Science placed 24th, the highest subject ranking for the university. Nursing rose up to 31st place. In total, Deeks observed how UCD ‘have 12 subjects in the top 100 and 30 subjects in the top 200.’ He thanked ‘faculty and staff throughout the University who are responsible for the improvement and maintenance of our performance, particularly given the continuing funding and employment constraints under which we operate.’

UCD had two top 50 rankings last year, with Veterinary Science at 29th and English Language and Literature at 45th. There were 13 top 100 rankings in 2017, with Modern Languages and Politics being the ones to drop into the 101-150th place rankings this year. Architecture/Built Environment and Social Policy and Administration were the two risers into the top 100. English Language and Literature dropped back into the 51-100th place spots this year.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) had four top 50 rankings; Classics and Ancient History, English Language and Literature, Politics, and Nursing. The Irish Times reported that by excluding the TCD rankings, Irish universities saw 22 drops compared to just 10 increases in rankings.

While cautious about their calculation methods, Deeks has tended to prefer the QS rankings as opposed to the Times Higher Education World Rankings (where UCD is stuck in the 201-250th zone), and regularly uses their release to call for more government funding. UCD is currently ranked at 168th for 2018, which marked a slight increase from 176th in 2017. It was ranked at 131st back in 2012, before a gradual decrease over the past number of years. UCD shot up to 75th place for graduate employability, compared to last years ranking of 151-200th place.

Commenting on UCD’s 168th place ranking last June, Deeks claimed that ‘because of the failure of the Government to address the funding issue facing the sector, the only way for the university to increase the number of staff has been through using non-exchequer income raised primarily by recruiting additional non-EU students.’

Cian Carton – Editor