The Australian National University has broken back into the top 30 and outperformed all other Australian universities in the QS World University Rankings but experts say students shouldn't pay much attention to ranking systems.
The ANU moved from equal 31st spot to equal 27th in the 2022 edition of the rankings, while the University of Canberra moved up 20 places to equal 436th.
However, ANU professor in the practice of higher education policy Andrew Norton said undergraduates should pay little attention to global ranking systems.
"[The rankings] are mostly about the research productivity and prestige of the university, which doesn't really correlate with the student experience. It's often measuring the achievements of academics that they'll never see," he said.
The QS World University Rankings are based on six criteria, including academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per faculty, faculty to student ratio and the proportion of international students and faculty members.
Director of research at QS Ben Sowter said in a statement that Australian universities performed particularly well in the international staff and student measures.
Mr Norton said this criteria was a rough indicator that people were prepared to pay for an Australian education but didn't necessarily speak to quality.
"It's kind of a market indicator, but for domestic students, a class full of Mandarin or Hindi speakers may not be such a positive at all and therefore it's quite ambiguous if you're looking at it from the perspective of an undergraduate student."
The ANU climbed four places because of improvements to the employer reputation score, which is based on survey responses about graduate employability, its research performance and a perfect score for the international faculty criteria.
ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said it was nice to be recognised externally but improving global rankings was not the goal at the university.
"We are focused in our role as Australia's national university - and a destination where Australian students can get one of the best educational experiences in the world. We strive to be excellent at all of the research we do, and are standing up to make sure that we translate the frontiers of knowledge into tangible benefits for Australia in as many ways as possible," Professor Schmidt said.
"If we can continue to get these basics of our mission right, then indeed, we will continue to be recognised as one of the world's great universities."
University of Canberra's deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation Leigh Sullivan said international ranking were important and could lead to institutions being invited to participate in opportunities overseas.
However, Professor Sullivan said the rankings weren't totally reliable and might not say much about the quality of educational offerings.
"The rankings don't dictate what we do, but certainly a lot of them are pretty well aligned to just where we as a university want to go and what our mission is as a university," he said.
Professor Sullivan said his university saw more merit in the Times Higher Education young university ranking which compares universities that are less than 50 years old.
Mr Norton said most ranking systems were quasi-commercial and most universities would find a way to perform well in one or more sub-categories.
"They break it down by geographic region, they break it down by age of the university, they break it down by disciplines so that means the number of potential winners escalates enormously, and therefore you see that universities that have absolutely zero chance or even desire to be in top 100 will nevertheless find some way where they're ranking reasonably well."
The QS World University Rankings 2022 edition placed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the first place for the tenth consecutive year. University of Oxford was ranked second and Stanford University and University of Cambridge were ranked equal third.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: