University rankings, i.e. a comparison according to certain criteria, have also found their way into the German university sector and are supposed to help prospective students choose the right education institution. However, the rankings differ strongly in terms of method, focus, and scope. Consequently, they have to be analyzed in detail.
On behalf of the journal “WirtschaftsWoche,” a consulting company annually interviews human resources managers in particular of larger companies, but also of smaller and medium-sized enterprises. The results of this survey reflect the opinions of human resources managers as to which universities prepare their graduates best for meeting the needs of the companies, which criteria are important for the selection of an applicant, and training of which soft skills should be enhanced at the universities.
Since 2009, KIT has always been in the top 5 of the best German universities in the area of informatics. Between 2010 and 2014, KIT reached first place five times in succession. After slight fluctuations in the following years, the KIT Department of Informatics again reached the first place of all universities offering computer science programs in 2018.
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The CHE University Ranking is issued every three years by the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” and represents the most comprehensive and most detailed ranking of German universities and universities of applied sciences for more than 30 subjects. The results are based on data about studies, education, equipment, and research as well as on a qualitative survey of students regarding their studies conditions and – for some subjects – a survey of professors regarding the reputation of their subject areas.
The CHE University Ranking, hence, is no absolute university ranking, but classifies the performance of a university in a certain subject according to a certain criterion in a top group, a center group, and an end group.
In the 2017/2018 ranking, KIT’s Informatics Department is ranked in the top group in the categories of job orientation, international orientation of the master’s program among others and for all indicators relating to “research”. As regards criteria, such as “support of studies abroad,” “rooms” or “contact to professional practice (bachelor),” the KIT Department of Informatics is ranked in the midfield.
The “QS World University Ranking by Subject“ is issued annually and wants to provide student beginners with orientation regarding the universities worldwide. It is based on criteria, such as the university’s reputation in academia and among employers, the frequency of citations of scientific publications, and the Hirsch index reflecting the research achievements of scientists.
Worldwide, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is ranked in the top 100 in the area of “Computer Science and Information Systems.” In 2018, as in 2017, KIT reached the top 5 of all German universities in this area. Once per year, QS also publishes a total ranking of the best universities in the world. It covers more than 700 universities. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, KIT was ranked around place 100. In Germany, it was among the four best universities.
The Times Higher Education (THE) Ranking has been issued since 2004. It is based on five indicators (research, education, citation frequency, internationality, third-party funds (from industry)) that are given different weightings. The resulting ranking of the best international universities is complemented by subject-specific rankings that are supposed to help young people choose the right subject.
In 2017, the KIT Department of Informatics reached place 26 of a total of 100 international universities considered. In Germany, it was found to be the second best education institution in the area of computer science.
In the current 2018 ranking, the KIT Department of Informatics, in comparison with 300 other international universities or departments, reaches place 36. In Germany, it is again ranked in second place.
Once per year, the US company Clarivate Analytics publishes the “Highly Cited Researchers” ranking. It measures how often and how many publications of a scientist in the areas of natural and social sciences as well as medicine are cited by other researchers. In science, citation frequency is considered to reflect the scientific impact of the scientist’s work. The ranking considers all articles published within a period of eleven years. The publications are classified into 22 different subject areas to which the cited scientists are assigned.
For the publications to be classified as “highly cited”, they have to rank in the top 1% of total citations in their area and publication year.
In 2017, KIT Professor Alexandros Stamatakis was ranked among the highly cited researchers in the area of computer science for the second time in succession. Hence, he belongs to the most influential researchers in this area. For the current list of “Highly Cited Researchers,” the publications of the years 2005 to 2015 were evaluated.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) scores excellently in the current subject ranking of ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities), also known as Shanghai-Ranking. In informatics, materials science, and metallurgical engineering, KIT finishes second of all German universities. In physics, nanotechnology, and water resources, KIT is in the same ranking group with other universities. In engineering sciences alone, KIT ranks among the top 100 with ten subjects, in natural sciences with three subjects. Meteorology and energy sciences are two of the subjects where KIT is among the best German universities.
Since 2009, the ARWU ranking has been published once every year by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Ranking is based on five differently weighted metrics: the number of published scientific articles per subject, citations, international co-publications, publications in top international scientific journals as well as the number of research award winners among the scientific staff.