University Ranking Methodology and Criteria

In GPA Ranking, GPA stands for:

  • Globalized
  • Perception (and)
  • Achievement.


It is significant different than other ranking in the sense that it focuses on academic quality as well as the perception given to observers based on such factors as:

  • name recognition and notoriety; positive association of institution’s name
  • global reach of the institution in terms of global presence and partnerships
  • web presence of the institution (using tools such as SearchMetrics)
  • ability of the institution to catapult graduates to the¬†higher level of professional excellence and achievement.

Selecting the world’s Top 50 universities remains a somewhat subjective exercise. For instance, “Sorbonne” is a very recognized and esteemed name internationally, but one may graduate from Sorbonne-Paris-Cit√© without being academically excellent. In the same country (France), Polytechnique (“X”) is academically one the most advanced institutions in the world due to its extremely rigorous and selective preparation. It certainly belongs to the world’s Top 50 but has yet to achieve the same level of global recognition as Oxford or Princeton. Another interesting example of the impact of name perception is the United Nations University which is very recent degree-granting institution (2010) yet already enjoying tremendous prestige and name recognition on account of its endorsement by and relationship with the United Nations.

The GPA is organized on a regional (continental) basis, so ensure that every continent is represents, although it is quite clear that the USA (“Americas”) and Europe enjoy massive and enduring domination. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the GPA index which favors global perception works against these institutions. In Africa for example, South Africa is the only country which remains globally credible in the area of higher education, although this factor is have been declining for years and is reaching critical levels. In the middle East, the main issue is perception and the lack of international access to leadership positions.

For each proposed institution, survey participants are given 10 minutes of online time with required visit to the institution’s official site and WIKI page before being asked to give a GPA score to each institution:

G (perception of globalization): 1 – 5

P (perception of name recognition and institutional reputation, taking also into account web visibility and quality of presentation): 1 – 5

A (perception of achievement based on global career outlook for graduates): 1 – 5

  • 1 = highly positive perception
  • 2 = good but not world-class perception
  • 3 = weak positive perception
  • 4 = neutral perception
  • 5 = negative perception

For each institution, we provide a brief overview and highlights for inclusion. In many cases, we often provide pros and cons for the institution being considered.

The GPA Ranking is revised annual during the summer months. This ranking has been updated as of June 2016.