PhD Choice Factors

How international PhD students choose top universities and interpret reputation and rankings


The World 100 2013/14 research project focused on international PhD students, and considered recruitment, use of rankings, university choice and reputational understanding. We conducted qualitative interviews with international PhDs at 21 of our member institutions across 12 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Spain, Scandinavia, Ireland and the UK. Moreover, quantitative surveys were distributed to all universities in the world’s top 200, with over 1,000 current and aspiring International PhDs responding.

The project considered how top students choose top universities for PhD study and what role reputation plays in attracting the best PhD students relative to the utilitarian factors such as location, facilities, price etc.

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2013/14 W100 Members can access the complete set of project files in the Research Library. Other members can download the Summary only.

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