National Ranking Systems and Related Resources

When U.S. News & World Report began its ranking of American colleges in 1983, publishers in other countries quickly followed with their own hierarchical measures, providing consumer information (and opportunities for institutional marketing) while attempting to impact the quality of higher education. In the course of the last two decades, higher education ranking systems and “league tables” (as they are referred to in the United Kingdom and elsewhere) have emerged in dozens of countries. These rankings are conducted not only by media in the private sector, but also by professional associations and governments.

Rankings are increasingly being used as a measure of quality, which may be defined in different ways and may be measured by a variety of indicators, depending on the perspective of a ranking’s creators. Thus, the goals of rankings systems may differ by region, by the higher education system’s stage of development, and by the entity conducting the ranking. Given the impact on the structure of higher education systems throughout the world, as well as their role as a tool of accountability, it is essential to think about rankings within the context of national goals.

Country Resources by Region

Below are links to information about the over 30 countries with national ranking systems, grouped by region, providing direct access to the ranking systems and resources about those rankings when available.



Australia and Pacific Islands


North America

South America

Multi-Country Resources

Below are resources that reference multiple countries and summarize a number of ranking resources.