Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

University of Auckland climbs rankings

University of Auckland. Photo / Chris Skelton
University of Auckland. Photo / Chris Skelton

The University of Auckland has gained ground in a table ranking universities from around the world.

Times Higher Education's world university rankings, revealed today, show Auckland sitting in 161st spot, up 12 from last year, when it was ranked in 173rd place.

It is the only New Zealand institution to appear in the top 200.

Vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon said varying factors, including an improvement in academic performance and the fact that an increasing number of overseas students were choosing Auckland University over other overseas institutions, had helped to make it a better place to study.

"We're attracting more and more international students from around the world - something we really spent the last four or five years focusing on," he said.

"Twelve per cent of our student population are international students from 105 countries. It's a cosmopolitan campus and that's also what we see at graduation, that diversity. We are seeing more positive experiences from overseas students and it's attracting more."

Professor McCutcheon said new building developments and a $1 billion expansion plan for the next 10 years had also helped to attract more local students.

A new $51 million residence hall that opened in February brought in 900 applications - well in excess of the 442 rooms available to students.

The university's move to acquire the old Lion Breweries site in Newmarket this year was also a strategic move, Professor McCutcheon said, to not only accommodate the huge numbers of students coming in, but to draw in high achievers from everywhere.

"Our strategy is about holding our undergraduate numbers constant, but also ... looking to grow international student numbers, postgrad students and bringing research and knowledge to Auckland."

Other New Zealand universities were not included in the Times Higher Education top 200 list, which is one of a number of ranking systems. However good results for Australian universities mean the region has stacked up well against other institutions in the United States and Britain.

The University of Melbourne is ranked 28th this year - up two spots from last year - while the University of Sydney slid from 58th last year to 62nd this year.

Times Higher Education noted there had been "major gains across Asia-Pacific countries, with falls for leading institutions in the West".

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said Auckland's success was encouraging for New Zealand.

"It's good progress. I know they're working hard with their competitiveness internationally."

Top universities in the Times Higher Education's supplement ranking:
1. California Institute of Technology
2= University of Oxford
2= Stanford University
4. Harvard University
5. Massachusetts Inst of Tech
6. Princeton University
7. University of Cambridge
8. Imperial College London
9. University of California, Berkeley
10. University of Chicago

NZ universities:
161. University of Auckland
226-250. University of Otago
251-275. Victoria University of Wellington
301-350. University of Canterbury
301-350. University of Waikato
351-400. Massey University

Go here for the full table.

- NZ Herald

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