Times Higher Education

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Times Higher Education
The Times Higher Education cover.jpg
No. 2,048 ( 3–9 May 2012)
CategoriesHigher education
First issueOctober 1971 (as Times Higher Education Supplement)
CompanyInflexion Pvt. Equity Partners LLP
CountryUnited Kingdom
Website www.timeshighereducation.com OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
ISSN 0049-3929

Times Higher Education (THE), formerly The Times Higher Education Supplement (The Thes), is a British magazine reporting specifically on news and issues related to higher education.



TPG Capital acquired TSL Education from Charterhouse in a £400 million deal in July 2013 and rebranded TSL Education, of which Times Higher Education was a part, as TES Global. The acquisition by TPG marked the third change of ownership in less than a decade for Times Higher Education, which was previously owned by News International before being acquired by Exponent Private Equity in 2005. [1]

In March 2019, private equity group Inflexion Pvt. Equity Partners LLP acquired Times Higher Education from TPG Capital, becoming THE's fourth owners in 15 years. [2] Following the acquisition by the private equity group, Times Higher Education was carved out as an independent entity from TES Global. The investment was made by Inflexion's dedicated mid-market buyout funds. [3]

The exclusive advisor for the acquisition by Inflexion was Houlihan Lokey, an investment company which has previously assisted several private equity groups acquire for-profit education al organisations. Post-acquisition, Houlihan Lokey noted that the existing Times Higher Education team will work to meet the demand for data and branding products, and look at cross-selling to existing clients. [4]


From its first issue, on 15 October, 1971, until 2008, The Times Higher Education Supplement (The Thes) was published weekly in newspaper format and was born out of its sister paper, the Times Educational Supplement (TES) and affiliated with The Times newspaper.

Its founding editor, Brian MacArthur, recruited a team of talented young reporters to chart the expanding higher education sector, including Peter Hennessy (now Lord Hennessy) , David Henke, David Walker, Christopher Hitchens, and Peter Scott, who was appointed editor in 1976. Scott remained editor until 1992, leading a team of journalists that included Robin McKie, John O'Leary (who would later return as editor after a period at The Times), and Peter David. Other staff reporters in this period included Ngaio Crequer [5] and Judith Judd. Brian Morton, Lynne Truss and Olga Wojtas have established careers as writers.

In the 1980s, The Thes pioneered comparisons of the reputations of university departments through peer review conducted by consulting academics in the field under scrutiny. Managed by O’Leary, this become the foundation for the league table of United Kingdom universities that was launched under his stewardship as Education Editor of The Times.

The Thes was a supporter of the then “binary divide” between the established universities and the polytechnics and the links between the latter and the local education authorities, which ended with the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

The magazine features a fictional satirical column written by Laurie Taylor, the "Poppletonian", which reflects on life at the fictional Poppleton University. [6]

Under Scott’s editorship, it stood apart from other titles in Rupert Murdoch’s News International in endorsing the Labour Party at successive General Elections.

In 1992 Scott left for academe and was replaced by Auriol Stevens, who was editor until 2002. Under her editorship The Thes strongly supported the case for undergraduate students to contribute to their higher education through tuition fees.

The Thes was the first of Rupert Murdoch’s UK titles to put its text, archive and job ads on line, although the text was at that time behind a subscription wall. Stevens described the move as the "Murdoch empire's canary in the coal mine". [7]

With its elder sister publication, the Times Educational Supplement, it was acquired by venture capital group Exponent in October 2005 for £205m.

On 10 January 2008, it was relaunched as a magazine, published by TES Global. The magazine is edited by John Gill. Phil Baty is the editor-at-large, and is responsible for international coverage. He is also the editor of the magazine's World University Rankings.

In 2011, Times Higher Education was awarded the titles of "Weekly Business Magazine of the Year" and "Media Business Brand of the Year" by the Professional Publishers Association. [8]

In 2019, it was widely rumoured that Elsevier, who already partners with THE in order to compile their university rankings, [9] was planning to take over Times Higher Education completely. [10]

In August 2020, Times Higher Education announced partnerships with recruitment agency SI-UK and accommodation provider Casita, signalling its entry into the overseas student recruitment and student housing markets. [11]

On 11 September 2020, Netherlands-based Studyportals announced that it had inked an agreement with Times Higher Education, which will see the Times Higher Education website’s student visitors directed to the Studyportals student recruitment platform whenever students look into courses run by universities that THE ranks in its World University Rankings. [12]

University rankings

Times Higher Education became known for publishing the annual Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings , which first appeared in November 2004. On 30 October 2009 Times Higher Education broke with Quacquarelli Symonds, then its partner in compiling the Rankings, and signed an agreement with Thomson Reuters to provide the data instead. [13] The magazine developed a new methodology in consultation with its readers and its editorial board and the results were published annually from autumn 2010 to 2013, when THE signed a new deal with Elsevier. [9]

As well as its THE World University Rankings, Times Higher Education also publishes a number of other rankings: [14]

Launch yearRanking
2013Asia University Rankings
2014Emerging Economies University Rankings
2019Impact Rankings
2017Japan University Rankings
2016Latin America University Rankings
2011World Reputation Rankings
2011World University Rankings
2017WSJ/THE College Rankings
2012Young University Rankings


Times Higher Education runs a series of summits, forums and symposiums throughout the year. Chaired by THE's editorial journalists, these events bring together global leaders and influencers from across academic, government and industry to debate, discuss and drive forward the future of higher education governance, innovation and research. [15]


The magazine runs two sets of awards annually, the "Times Higher Education Awards" (launched in 2007) and the "Times Higher Education Awards Asia" (launched in 2019). The "Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards" (Thelmas) ran from 2011 to 2018.[ citation needed ]. [16] The Times Higher Education University of the Year 2020 Winners, nominated the educational universities in the UK for the 2020 University of the Year Awards.

THE Awards winner of 'University of the Year'
2020University of Glasgow
2019University of Strathclyde
2018University of Essex
2017Nottingham Trent University
2016London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
2015Coventry University
2014Edge Hill University
2013University of Huddersfield
2012University of Strathclyde
2011University of Sheffield
2010University of York
2009Teesside University
2008University of Leicester
2007Exeter University

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  2. Tezuka, Maera. "Inflexion purchases university data provider Times Higher Education". S&P Global Market Intelligence. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  3. Farrell, Stephen. "Inflexion acquires higher education specialist". Insider Media. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  4. "Houlihan Lokey Advises Inflexion Private Equity Partners" . Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. "Ngaio Crequer The Independent". The Independent. 5 October 2006. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  6. "The inside story of Poppleton University". News – Press Releases. University of Leicester, UK. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  7. Reisz, Matthew (13 October 2011). "On the Shoulders of Giants" . Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  8. "PPA Awards 2011". Archived from the original on 14 January 2013.
  9. 1 2 Elsevier. "Discover the data behind the Times Higher Education World University Rankings". Elsevier Connect. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  10. "RELX said to be planning £100mln takeover of Times Higher Education". Proactiveinvestors UK. 27 November 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  11. Stacey, Viggo. "THE moves into international student services". The PIE News. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  12. "Studyportals announces tie-up with THE". The PIE News. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  13. Baty, Phil (30 October 2009). "New data partner for World University Rankings". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  14. "THE World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 19 September 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  15. "THE Events". Times Higher Education (THE). 28 January 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  16. "THE Leadership & Management Awards". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 28 June 2021.