Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

Focus

UK and Swiss universities fare well in global ranking

  • Students at ETH Zurich, the 9th best university according to Times Higher Education (Photo: t-mizo)

Four UK universities and one Swiss university represent Europe in the top-20 of this year's World University Ranking, published in the Times' Higher Education magazine Wednesday (30 September).

The University of Oxford, which occupied third place last year, ousted Harvard from second place. Harvard is now in #6 position.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Students at Oxford, which snatched second place from Harvard (Photo: skittledog)

The top of the list is still dominated by US educational institutions, as has been the case for years.

California Institute of Technology once again took first place honours, followed closely by Stanford University, which took the #3 position. Massachusetts Institute of Technology crept in at #5.

Other high-scoring European universities are University of Cambridge (UK, #4, up from #5), Imperial College London (UK, #8, up from #9), ETH Zurich (Switzerland, #9, up from #13), and University College London (UK, #14, up from #22).

The first university from an EU country outside of the UK is Karolinska Institute in Sweden, occupying place 28.

The list is compiled by a methodology determined by Times Higher Education, a London-based magazine. Between 2004 and 2009 it collaborated with company Quacquarelli Symonds, but QS has since come up with its own list – and there are several others out there with different methodologies.

'Simplistic' ranking

The European Commission has in the past criticized the rankings for failing to "represent the diverse and multifunctional nature of universities and their research activities accurately."

"The Commission is of the opinion that many existing rankings do not really fulfil this purpose, for example because they focus on research aspects rather than teaching, and on entire institutions rather than programmes and departments", it said in 2010.

Four years later, it launched an alternative ranking system called U-Multirank.

"The idea is to avoid simplistic league tables which can result in misleading comparisons between institutions of very different types or mask significant differences in quality between courses at the same university", the commission said at the time.

Nevertheless, Wednesday's "simplistic" list can be expected to be cited by European universities that perform well, or by countries with a relatively high number of listings.

The top-200 list includes 63 universities from the United States, 34 from the UK, 20 from Germany, 12 from the Netherlands, 7 from Switzerland, 6 from Sweden, 5 from France, 4 from Belgium, and 3 each from Denmark, Italy, and Spain.

China only has two universities listed in the top-200: Peking University (#42, up from 48) and Tsinghua University (#47, up from 49).

The twenty best-scoring European universities are:

2. University of Oxford (UK)

4. University of Cambridge (UK)

8. Imperial College London (UK)

9. ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland)

14. University College London (UK)

23. London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)

24. University of Edinburgh (UK)

27. King's College London (UK)

28. Karolinska Institute (Sweden)

29. LMU Munich (Germany)

31. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)

35. KU Leuven (Belgium)

37. Heidelberg University (Germany)

47. Wageningen University and Research Center (The Netherlands)

49. Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany)

53. Technical University of Munich (Germany)

54. École Normale Supérieure (France)

56. University of Manchester (UK)

58. University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

62. Utrecht University (The Netherlands)

US and UK universities top world rankings

American and British universities continue to dominate in the global rankings with the next best faculty in a EU member state trailing a distant 24.

EU to test new university ranking in 2010

The European Union is developing a new worldwide ranking system of universities to rival currently established league tables in a bid to improve the ranking of European universities and improve Europe's economic power.

Education inequalities remain high in EU

Less people leave school prematurely, but socio-economic status, immigrant background and gender are still factors of underachievement, a commission report says.

Supported by

News in Brief

  1. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  2. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  3. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  4. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  5. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal
  6. French government rules out Corsican autonomy
  7. Salmonella food poisoning on rise in Europe
  8. EU institutions agree to start talks on lobby register

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  2. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  3. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  4. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  5. Romania searching for EU respectability
  6. Last chance for Poland to return property to rightful owners
  7. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  8. VW to EU: We will fail on recall promise

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  3. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  4. Bio-Based IndustriesRegistration for BBI JU Stakeholder Forum about to close. Last chance to register!
  5. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  6. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  7. EU2017EEEAS Calls for Eastern Partnership Countries to Enter EU Market Through Estonia
  8. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know
  9. World Vision7 Million Children at Risk in the DRC: Donor Meeting to Focus on Saving More Lives
  10. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level