U-Multirank is a multidimensional, user-driven approach to international ranking of higher education institutions. It compares the performances of higher education institutions – in short: universities – in the five dimensions of university activity: (1) teaching and learning, (2) research, (3) knowledge transfer, (4) international orientation and (5) regional engagement. The U-Multirank web tool enables comparisons at the level of the university as a whole and at the level of specific study programmes. Based on empirical data, U-Multirank compares institutions with similar institutional profiles (‘like-with-like’) and allows users to develop their own personalised rankings by selecting indicators in terms of their own preferences.
Based on the results of a feasibility study covering 150 universities which was carried out in 2010/11, the European Commission decided to fund the implementation of U-Multirank. This roll out is carried out by a consortium led by Professor Frans van Vught of the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), University of Twente in the Netherlands and Professor Frank Ziegele of the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in Germany as well as the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) from Leiden University, Fundacion CYD and Folge 3. U-Multirank is funded by the European Commission, the Bertelsmann Foundation and Banco Santander. The consortium also works closely with a range of national ranking partners and stakeholder organisations.
The first U-Multirank ranking was the 2014 edition, covering more than 850 higher education institutions from more than 70 countries. It provided a ranking at the institutional level as a whole as well as at the level of specific fields of study. For the latter, the fields of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, business studies and physics were covered in the 2014 edition. Thereafter, the coverage of institutions and subject areas was expanded each year.
U-Multirank world university rankings can’t help you pick what to study – only you can decide that – but it can help you compare different subjects at different universities, the same subject at different universities, or even different subjects at the same university.
In the online tool, you’ll be asked to select a subject you want to study. So far, we’ve collected data about 30 different subject areas and we’re adding more each year. That allows you to compare universities on the basis of rankings in that subject area rather than looking at the whole institution. That’s important, because all universities have their strengths and weaknesses and the variation between different subjects can be huge. You can also choose to compare universities that specialise in just one subject or a small selection, those with a broader range, or those that cover a comprehensive set of subjects. This makes a difference because specialist institutions tend to be smaller and will often have a particular reputation for their subject area. In comprehensive universities on the other hand, there may be a wider mix of students and greater opportunities for study that spans across disciplines.