Ranking of Finnish Universities, 2021

* This ranking is for the year 2021. See the newest, 2022, ranking here: https://snmcgannon.com/2022/10/25/ranking-of-finnish-universities-2022/

Helsingin tuomiokirkko. Kuva: Steven McGannon.
RankInstitutionChange from 2020ARWUQSTHEUSNWRAverage World Rank
🥇University of Helsinki (Helsingin yliopisto)821041019495.25
🥈Aalto University (Aalto-yliopisto)301112201275222.25
🥉University of Turku (Turun yliopisto)301295351327318.5
4University of Oulu (Oulun yliopisto)+1401377251422362.75
5Tampere University (Tampereen yliopisto)-1501414251354380
URUniversity of Vaasa (Vaasan yliopisto)NANRNR401NR401
6Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT-yliopisto)+2NR414251635~433.33
7University of Jyväskylä (Jyväskylän yliopisto)701358351556491.5
8University of Eastern Finland (Itä-Suomen yliopisto)-2601521501441516
9Åbo Akademi University (Åbo Akademi)NRNR601947774
Figure 1. Ranking of Nordic Universities 2021-2022

This is a ranking of the top universities in Finland ranked relative to each other for the year 2021-22.

Overview and methodology

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 Finnish university ranked on any list. 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, 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 at least two 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, University of Vaasa is shown between the 5th and 6th ranked universities, as it would have ranked 6th if it appeared on at least two rankings (and maintained its average from the ranking it did appear on). Rather than receiving a ranking placement, universities appearing in these positions (in this case, only Vaasa) are marked “UR” (unrankable) in the rank column, and “NR” (not ranked) in rankings lists in which they were not ranked.


  • Overall, Finnish universities have advanced in world university rankings in 2021. Whereas last year ranked Finnish universities average sum came out to 3697.5 (2020), this year the sum is ~3593.58 (2021) — a roughly 104 place difference upward. In addition, University of Vaasa appears on one of this year’s ranking lists, whereas last year it was unranked across lists.
  • Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology was the biggest gainer, moving from 575.5 to approx. 433.33 — a gain of about 142 places.
  • Another indicator of the success of Finnish universities is seen in University of Oulu taking over the 4th spot from Tampere University. Tampere University’s seeming downward movement is actually merely because University of Oulu has improved more quickly: both universities have made significant advances in the rankings. University of Oulu moved upward from 415.75 to 362.75 (+53), and meanwhile, Tampere University moved upward from 393 to 380 (+13). Thus, Oulu moved ahead of Tampere in the Finnish rankings, but both universities moved upward in the world rankings.
  • Aalto University has continued to improved as well, moving from 248.25 to 222.25. It could well become a top-200 staple in a few years’ time.
  • In a negative point for Finnish universities, Finland’s traditionally strongest university — the University of Helsinki — continues to move downward in world university rankings. This continues a trend starting in 2015 or so. This year it moved downward from 90.5 to 95.25. It is unclear if it will maintain top-100 status for much longer.

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-finnish-universities-2021/

2 responses to “Ranking of Finnish Universities, 2021”

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