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The German Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) extended its Excellence Ranking with the fields of political science, psychology, and economics in 2009. As an improvement of the previous ranking in 2007, which focused on the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, the newly-published results cover 19 countries with around 100 higher education institutions and measure 180 departments.
How does this ranking differ from others? Firstly, CHE Excellence Ranking evaluates only European higher education institutions. Secondly, it identifies its Ranking as “multidimensional” which focuses on the disciplines and the competitive strengths of the universities by giving them ‘stars’. These indicate the quality of a concrete characteristic (e.g. highly cited books, teaching staff mobility, international master’s students) instead of nominating one single institution as an absolute winner. In addition, the CHE also gives “not ranked” information such as the size of faculties, conditions of admission, accommodation possibilities, and study fees. This ranking is committed to function as a decision supporting tool for bachelor students who aim at continuing their academic studies with master or PhD courses.
Compared to other international rankings, the CHE Excellence Ranking has an explicit advantage of empowering the student to choose universities according to their needs and priorities. Besides of the current fields it would be useful to have further popular disciplines, such as social sciences, informatics or management studies, ranked in the future.