Ranking of Nordic Universities, 2021

* This ranking is for the year 2021. See the newest, 2022, ranking here: https://snmcgannon.com/2022/11/02/ranking-of-nordic-universities-2022/

Ranking of Nordic Universities 2021
RankInstitutionChange from 2020ARWUQSTHEUSNWRAverage World Rank
URKarolinska Institute 🇸🇪NA42NR394843
🥇University of Copenhagen 🇩🇰3079963760.5
🥈University of Oslo 🇳🇴+1611021199093
🥉University of Helsinki 🇫🇮-1821041019495.25
4Aarhus University 🇩🇰+171155104103108.25
5Uppsala University 🇸🇪-178124131113111.5
6Lund University 🇸🇪1518711695112.25
7Stockholm University 🇸🇪74148176123130.25
8Technical University of Denmark 🇩🇰15199185161149
9University of Gothenburg 🇸🇪101180185134150
10KTH Royal Institute of Technology 🇸🇪20189201212175.75
11University of Bergen 🇳🇴301199201183221
12Aalto University 🇫🇮+1301112201275222.25
13Aalborg University 🇩🇰+1301326201241267.25
14Chalmers University of Technology 🇸🇪-2401121251339278
15University of Southern Denmark 🇩🇰+1301309251255279
URSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences 🇸🇪NA201NR301348~283.3
16Norwegian University of Science and Technology 🇳🇴-1101369401266284.25
URReykjavík University 🇮🇸NANRNR301NR301
17Linköping University 🇸🇪+2301329251350307.75
18University of Turku 🇫🇮-1301295351327318.5
19University of Oulu 🇫🇮NA401377251422362.75
20Umeå University 🇸🇪-2401365351335363
Figure 1. Ranking of Nordic Universities 2021-2022

This is a ranking of the top 20 Nordic universities of 2021.


The ranking was created by using metadata sourced from the four prominent rankings of world universities (each ranking released in 2021): Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE), and U.S. News & World Report (USNWR).

Rank was determined on each list for every Nordic university ranked on each list. If a ranking used a range, the highest possible rank was chosen (e.g., if a university was ranked within a 201-250 bracket, 201 was chosen). Then for each university all its rank placements were averaged across lists to create the new list of average ranking for each university. The universities were then ranked according to their average ranking. The university with the highest average is thus ranked 1st, the one with the second highest average 2nd, and so on.

Finally, the results were tabled, and are shown above (Figure 1). The leftmost column shows rank based on average, the “institution” column shows the institution ranked, the “Change from 2020” column shows the change in ranking placement from last year’s ranking (Ranking of Nordic Universities, 2020), the next four rightward columns (ARWU, QS, THE, USNWR) show the rank for each given institution in each of those selected world rankings, and the rightmost column (“Average World”) averages the four ranking lists’ rank placement for each university.

Only universities which were ranked on all four lists are counted. Universities which would have appeared had they been ranked by all the rankings are displayed in the ranking where they would have ranked if their average rank was the result of an average across all four rankings. Thus, for example, Karolinska Institute is shown above the #1 ranked University of Copenhagen, as it would have ranked #1 if it appeared on all four rankings (and maintained its average from the rankings it did appear on). Rather than receiving a ranking placement, universities appearing in these positions are marked “UR” (unrankable) in the rank column, and “NR” (not ranked) in rankings lists in which they were not ranked.


  • ARWU best predicts the summed average.
  • QS worst predicts the summed average.

In my opinion, global university rankings are not a measure of how “good” a university is. They are, centrally, a measure of university reputation among people in administrative positions in academics. How good a university is for you depends on what your goals are. It is almost entirely contextual. Thus, the rankings I do — which are based on average placements in world university rankings — ought to be seen not as a measure of how good a university is, but as a measure of the average opinion of an academic administrator you’ll get if you ask them to talk about a given university from a global perspective. In this spirit, I offer you a deflationary university ranking.

If anything appears to be in error, please email me at tuulifunctional@snmcgannon.com.

Permalink to this article: https://snmcgannon.com/2021/10/26/ranking-of-nordic-universities-2021/

2 responses to “Ranking of Nordic Universities, 2021”

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