Rankings and Quality Assurance in Higher EducationRankings have become a widespread phenomenon in an increasingly competitive world of higher education. They differ with regard to their aims, objectives, target groups and with regard to their relationship to quality and quality assessment. Generally rankings are an external assessment of the performance of higher edu-cation institutions; the produce transparency about systems of higher education. This paper discusses the relationship of rankings and quality assurance on an in-stitutional and a system level. A clear conception of the differences between rank-ings and other forms of assessment of HEIs helps to understand the usefulness as well as the limitations of rankings and helps to prevent false or unrealistic expectations to rankings.