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4th Mar 2024

EU climbs university league, but US still dominates

  • University officials in Cambridge, the EU's top-ranked university, chat in front of a student protest over rising fees (Photo: rubberpaw)

The number of European Union universities considered among the 100 best in the world climbed this year, but the United States remains the champion in the realm of academia, utterly dominating the list.

With 27 universities in the EU (and 32 in Europe overall, including Switzerland, Norway and Russia, which are not members of the bloc) in the top 100 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the bloc beat its score for last year, when it came in with 26 entries, and comes second overall as the best place in the world to study.

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The US beat all comers on the list with 54 spots in the top 100 and eight out of the top 10. One of the most respected and transparent university rankings in the world, the list is collated by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.

Universities in the EU won just two of the top 10 spots, and both were British institutions: Cambridge, which came fifth, and Oxford, which came tenth.

Havard University however was named the best university in the world, according to the ranking, which uses six indicators, including the number of Nobel Prize winners and the number of publications in Nature and Science, adjusted for size.

The US academic journal, the Chronicle of Higher Education says that the ARWU "is considered the most influential international ranking."

One has to drop down to number 21 to find the next EU university in the rankings after Oxford: University College London. The first non-British top-ranked institution comes in at 39: France's Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris 6).

Britain won the most top rankings out of EU universities, with 11 of their schools in the top 100. Germany comes next, with five. France and Sweden both have three universities in the listing; Denmark and the Netherlands two a piece, and Finland and Belgium one each.

Outside the US and EU, Switzerland also scored well, with three spots, Moscow State University is the Russian Federation's sole entry, in at 74th place, with Japan and Canada also performing respectably with five and four entries, respectively, while Australia had three.

The rankings have been conducted annually since 2003.

The top 10 overall

1. Harvard


2. University of California, Berkeley


3. Stanford University


4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


5. University of Cambridge


6. California Institute of Technology


7. Princeton University


8. Columbia University


9. University of Chicago


10. University of Oxford

EU and European rankings

5. University of Cambridge (UK)

10. University of Oxford (UK)

21. University College London (UK)

23. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (Switzerland)*

26. Imperial College London (UK)

39. Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris 6) (France)

40. University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

42. Karolinska Institute (Sweden)

44. University of Manchester (UK)

45. University of Paris Sud (Paris 11) (France)

50. University of Utrecht (Netherlands)

51. University of Zurich (Switzerland)*

52. University of Munich (Germany)

54. University of Edinburgh (UK)

63. King's College, London (UK)

66. University of Bristol (UK) (tie)

66. University of Uppsala (Sweden) (tie)

70. University of Leiden (Netherlands)

71. Ecole Normale Superieure - Paris (France)

72. University of Helsinki (Finland)

74. Moscow State University (Russia)*

75. University of Oslo (Norway)*

79. University of Stockholm (Sweden)

86. University of Basel (Switzerland)*

88. University of Sheffield (UK)

90. University of Ghent (Belgium)

93. University of Bonn (Germany) (tie)

93. University of Goettingen (Germany) (tie)

98. University of Aarhus (Denmark)

99. University of Birmingham (UK)

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The UK hosts all the "world class" universities in Europe according to a fresh study, with the US top overall and French and German schools far behind.

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