The University of Melbourne has jumped two places to No 36 - and  again is the only Australian university to have all surveyed disciplines in the Top 30 in the world - in the Times Higher Education-QS (THE-QS) 2009 World University Rankings, released today.

In the overall ranking, Melbourne has come in ahead of highly-respected international universities such as the University of California Berkeley, Trinity College Dublin, New York University and the London School of Economics.

The University has moved up three spots to No 6 in the world for the employability of its graduates in a survey of major global and national employers across both the public and private sectors.

It has also received excellent endorsements of its international research standing, ranked by its peers at No 20 - moving up from No 21 in 2008 - in a survey of more than 9300 academics around the world. Academics cannot vote for their own university.

Melbourne leads the rankings for Life Sciences & Biomedicine - jumping up 13 spots to No 13 - and Engineering & IT at No 29.

Melbourne's two biggest Melbourne Model faculties - Arts and Science - have performed outstandingly.

Arts is at No 17 in the world in the THE-QS Arts & Humanities ranking and at No 19 for Social Science.  Science has moved up to No 23 from 27 in 2008 and 33 in 2007 for Natural Science and up 13 spots to No 13 for Life Sciences.

The THE also reports a student: staff ratio for Melbourne at 10.3:1.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis says that although many are critical of these rankings, the University's strong performance this year is a pleasing recognition of the strength of its international standing in research and of its innovative teaching and curriculum reform, such as the Melbourne Model.

Professor Davis says it is a serious challenge for Australian universities to compete in these volatile rankings with better-resourced UK, US and Japanese universities. It's therefore extremely welcome to see the University of Melbourne, and a number of other Australian universities, moving up a list where the universities at the top enjoy significantly better funding.

Each year, these rankings show us just how critical good funding is to the international success of our universities.  The Commonwealth Government's promise of better funding beginning in 2012 hopefully will help to redress this issue.

Dean of the University's Faculty of Economics and Commerce, Professor Margaret Abernethy, says it is very pleasing to see that the University's Social Sciences rank remains at No 19.

This demonstrates the strength of the Faculty's research in its disciplines and the research in other social sciences disciplines in the University.  And it reflects the importance that the Faculty places on publishing research in hi-impact journals.

Professor Abernethy noted that the Faculty also works closely with industry groups to ensure all its programs - undergraduate and graduate - meet the needs of industry and government.

Dean of Arts, Professor Mark Considine, says it is indeed welcome to see Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences at Melbourne ranked in the Top 20 in the world. 

This result is extremely encouraging for the Faculty of Arts.  In the past two years we have been successfully bedding down our New Generation Arts degree - which has proved to be the most popular in Australia - and this year launched our new Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences. This success is a tribute to the fine contributions of staff to the mission of the Faculty.

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor James Angus believes that the breadth, depth and quality of the science at Melbourne is the telling factor in this independent ranking of Life Sciences and Biomedicine. 

This excellent ranking comes with the wonderful news that one of our graduates in biochemistry, Elizabeth Blackburn, has won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

With this record it would be a great time for the community and government to celebrate by raising the support for research in Australia.  We should be a magnet to the best and brightest to come here to study and carry out world class research.

Dean of Science Professor Robert Saint is delighted to see the strength of science at the University of Melbourne recognised in the very significant rise in the 2009 rankings in the Life and Natural Sciences.

While within the Faculty we know that the University is a true powerhouse in the world of science, these rankings provide clear independent evidence in support.  It is a testament to our gifted, dedicated and hard-working academics, researchers and students.

The rankings which are published in the weekly Times Higher Education in the United Kingdom are carried out by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a global career and education network.  They are derived from calculations based on data gathered from the following indicators -

  • Academic peer review
  • Employer review
  • International academic staff ratio
  • International student ratio
  • Student:academic staff ratio
  • Citations per academic staff member (citation data supplied by Scopus)

Discipline rankings:

Life Sciences & Biomedicine - 13
Arts & Humanities - 17
Social Sciences - 19
Natural Sciences - 23
Engineering & IT - 29