List of Top 100 Universities by Highest Rank, 2020-21

This is a list of the highest ranking achieved for every university ranked in the top 100 in the world on any of the four prominent world university rankings (ARWU, QS, THE, and USNWR, i.e.). Thus, so long as a university appears on any one of the four rankings, then it appears on this list — and it appears at whichever spot it ranked highest on any one or more of those lists. You can think of this list in the following way: for each given university, its position on this list represents the highest opinion someone holds of it.

Notes —

  • In total, 154 universities representing 27 countries are ranked within the top 100 in the world between all four lists.
  • There are 16 top 10 universities, representing 3 countries which are (in order): the US (with 11 — 3 of which are Californian; 2 of which are Massachusettsan), the UK (with 4 — all of which are English), and Switzerland (with 1).
  • There are 30 top 20 universities, representing 7 countries which are (in order): the US (with 18 — 6 of which are Californian), the UK (with 5 — 4 of which are English; 1 of which is Scottish), Singapore and Switzerland (each with 2), and Canada, China, and France (each with 1).
  • There are 78 top 50 universities, representing 17 countries which are (in order): the US (with 34 – 7 of which are Californian), the UK (with 8 — 7 of which are English; 1 of which is Scottish), Australia (with 6), China and Hong Kong (each with 4), Canada and Germany (each with 3), France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland (each with 2), and Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden (each with 1).
  • The United States is the 1st most represented country, with 51 universities represented (~33%).
  • The United Kingdom is the 2nd most represented country, with 18 universities (15 of which are English; 3 of which are Scottish) represented (~12%).
  • The Netherlands is the 3rd most represented country, with 9 universities represented (~6%).
  • The countries placing 4th – 8th in representation are (in order): Australia (with 8), Germany (with 7), China and Japan (each with 6), Canada, Hong Kong, and Sweden (each with 5).
  • There are 32 listed universities outside the western world (~21%).
  • Universities represent 5 continents.

And finally, some thoughts. It is interesting to note that 15 out of 18 ranked UK universities are highest ranked by QS — a UK-based ranking. This means, if nothing stronger, that QS has the highest opinion of British universities of any of the four prominent rankings. True — someone could object and say that whichever ranking truly has the highest opinion of British universities lists the greatest number of British universities, or has the highest average ranking of British universities, etc. But I think what captures the spirit of these lists is highest rank, and when you talk about highest rank, and look up a university to check its rank, the fact is, when its a UK university, QS will tell you that university is ranked more highly than any other ranking would tell you in ranks a large majority of the time. I might also endorse this stronger claim: QS has a bias for British universities. But this would require a more in-depth look at how it ranks universities in other countries, and also how other rankings rank British universities compared to other countries, etc., and I haven’t looked into it that deeply or in a sufficiently comparative way to fully endorse that claim. But nonetheless, this result is certainly suggestive, and looking for other indicators even superficially shows that a good number of the British universities ranked within the top 100 by QS don’t appear at all in other top 100s. This is definitely something that someone can and should look at further (and perhaps they have).

Along the same lines, 23 out of 27 East and Southeast Asian universities are highest ranked by QS (along with one additional such university ranked equally by THE). Thus, we can again conclude (as above) that QS has the highest opinion of universities in those regions. It’s still not strong enough for bias — but as with the above observation, this is suggestive and someone might be inclined to take a look.

Meanwhile, out of 47 U.S. universities which are highest ranked by only one ranking (i.e., for which there is no shared opinion about its highest placement), only 5 are highest ranked by QS. Meanwhile, ARWU accounts for 18 such rankings, USNWR 15, and THE 9. Thus, we can safely conclude that QS has the lowest opinion of U.S. universities of the four rankings. THE — at 9 — is closer to QS than to USNWR, but just barely. It’s clear that the UK rankings (QS and THE) have a lower opinion of U.S. universities than the Chinese (ARWU) and U.S. (USNWR) rankings.

To sum up:

  • QS has the highest opinion of British and East and Southeast Asian universities, and the lowest opinion of U.S. universities.
  • USNWR has the highest opinion of Australian universities.
  • And the strongest conclusion: British rankings (QS, THE) have a lower opinion of U.S. universities than Chinese and U.S. rankings (ARWU, USNWR) do.

Below you can view the list. If you should find something here is in error, please contact me at

1Harvard University 🇺🇸 (ARWU, USNWR)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 🇺🇸 (QS)
University of Oxford 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (THE)
2Stanford University 🇺🇸 (ARWU, QS, THE)
3University of Cambridge 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (ARWU)
4California Institute of Technology 🇺🇸 (QS)
University of California, Berkeley 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
6Columbia University 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
ETH Zürich 🇨🇭(QS)
Princeton University 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
8Imperial College London 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
University of Washington 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
Yale University 🇺🇸 (THE)
9University of Chicago 🇺🇸 (QS)
10Johns Hopkins University 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
University College London 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
11National University of Singapore 🇸🇬 (QS)
12Cornell University 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
13Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 🇸🇬 (QS)
University of California, Los Angeles 🇺🇸 (ARWU, USNWR)
University of Pennsylvania 🇺🇸 (THE)
14Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne 🇨🇭(QS)
University of Paris-Saclay 🇫🇷 (ARWU)
15Tsinghua University 🇨🇳 (QS)
University of California, San Fransisco 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
17University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
University of Toronto 🇨🇦 (USNWR)
18University of California, San Diego 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
20Duke University 🇺🇸 (THE)
University of Edinburgh 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (QS)
22University of Hong Kong 🇭🇰 (QS)
23Peking University 🇨🇳 (QS, THE)
Washington University in St. Louis 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
24Northwestern University 🇺🇸 (THE, USNWR)
University of Tokyo 🇯🇵 (QS)
25University of Melbourne 🇦🇺 (USNWR)
26New York University 🇺🇸 (THE)
27Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 🇭🇰 (QS)
London School of Economics 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (THE)
University of Manchester 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
University of Sydney 🇦🇺 (USNWR)
28Carnegie Mellon University 🇺🇸 (THE)
30University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
31Australian National University 🇦🇺 (QS)
King’s College London 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
McGill University 🇨🇦 (QS)
University of British Columbia 🇨🇦 (USNWR)
32LMU Munich 🇩🇪 (THE)
University of Wisconsin-Madison 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
33University of Copenhagen 🇩🇰 (ARWU)
34Fudan University 🇨🇳 (QS)
Kyoto University 🇯🇵 (ARWU)
36Karolinska Institute 🇸🇪 (THE)
Paris Sciences et Lettres University 🇫🇷 (ARWU)
University of Queensland 🇦🇺 (USNWR)
37Seoul National University 🇰🇷 (QS)
38Georgia Institute of Technology 🇺🇸 (THE)
University of Texas at Austin 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
39Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology 🇰🇷 (QS)
Sorbonne University 🇫🇷 (ARWU)
40University of Amsterdam 🇳🇱 (USNWR)
University of Minnesota 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
41Technical University of Munich 🇩🇪 (THE)
42Heidelberg University 🇩🇪 (THE)
King Abdulaziz University 🇸🇦 (USNWR)
43Chinese University of Hong Kong 🇭🇰 (QS)
Rockefeller University 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
University of Pittsburgh 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
44University of Colorado at Boulder 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
University of New South Wales 🇦🇺 (QS)
45Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) 🇧🇪 (THE)
Ohio State University 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
47Shanghai Jiao Tong University 🇨🇳 (QS)
48City University of Hong Kong 🇭🇰 (QS)
Monash University 🇦🇺 (USNWR)
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
49University of California, Santa Barbara 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
52Utrecht University 🇳🇱 (ARWU)
53University of Maryland, College Park 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
University of Southern California 🇺🇸 (THE)
Zhejiang University 🇨🇳 (QS)
54Boston University 🇺🇸 (THE)
56Tokyo Institute of Technology 🇯🇵 (QS)
University of Zürich 🇨🇭 (ARWU)
57Delft University of Technology 🇳🇱 (QS)
58University of Bristol 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
59University of Geneva 🇨🇭 (ARWU)
University of Malaya 🇲🇾 (QS)
60Brown University 🇺🇸 (QS)
University of Oslo 🇳🇴 (ARWU)
61École Polytechnique 🇫🇷 (QS)
62Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
University of Warwick 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
Vanderbilt University 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
Wageningen University and Research 🇳🇱 (THE)
64University of California, Davis 🇺🇸 (THE)
65University of Paris 🇫🇷 (ARWU)
66Ghent University 🇧🇪 (ARWU)
National Taiwan University 🇹🇼 (QS)
University of Buenos Aires 🇦🇷 (QS)
67University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
68Erasmus University Rotterdam 🇳🇱 (USNWR)
69Aarhus University 🇩🇰 (ARWU)
Korea University 🇰🇷 (QS)
McMaster University 🇨🇦 (THE)
Stockholm University 🇸🇪 (ARWU)
University of California, Irvine 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
University of Groningen 🇳🇱 (ARWU)
70Leiden University 🇳🇱 (THE)
71Emory University 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
72Osaka University 🇯🇵 (QS)
73University of Adelaide 🇦🇺 (USNWR)
University of Montreal 🇨🇦 (THE)
University of Science and Technology of China 🇨🇳 (ARWU)
74Lomonosov Moscow State University 🇷🇺 (QS)
University of Helsinki 🇫🇮 (ARWU)
75Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin 🇩🇪 (THE)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University 🇭🇰 (QS)
Pennsylvania State University 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
77Pohang University of Science and Technology 🇰🇷 (QS)
University of Glasgow 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (QS)
Uppsala University 🇸🇪 (ARWU)
78University of Tübingen 🇳🇱 (THE)
79Purdue University 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
Tohoku University 🇯🇵 (QS)
University of Western Australia 🇦🇺 (USNWR)
80Humboldt University of Berlin 🇩🇪 (THE)
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 🇳🇱 (USNWR)
81University of Auckland 🇳🇿 (QS)
University of California, Santa Cruz 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
83Nagoya University 🇯🇵 (ARWU)
University of Freiburg 🇩🇪 (THE)
85Yonsei University 🇰🇷 (QS)
86Durham University 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
87University of Birmingham 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
University of Bonn 🇩🇪 (ARWU)
88University of Basel 🇨🇭 (ARWU)
University of Florida 🇺🇸 (ARWU)
Sungkyunkwan University 🇰🇷 (QS)
89Rice University 🇺🇸 (QS)
90University of Barcelona 🇪🇸 (USNWR)
University of Southampton 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
91University of Leeds 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
93University of Sheffield 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
Weizmann Institute of Science 🇮🇱 (ARWU)
96University of St. Andrews 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (QS)
97Lund University 🇸🇪 (QS)
University of Arizona 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
98KTH Royal Institute of Technology 🇸🇪 (QS)
99Université Grenoble Alpes 🇫🇷 (ARWU)
University of Nottingham 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 (QS)
100Michigan State University 🇺🇸 (USNWR)
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 🇲🇽 (QS)
Table 1.


Ranking of Nordic Universities, 2020

*This ranking is for the year 2020. See the newest, 2021, ranking here:

RankInstitutionARWUQSTHEUSNWRAverage World Rank
1University of Copenhagen 🇩🇰 3376843456.75
2University of Helsinki 🇫🇮 74104988690.5
3University of Oslo 🇳🇴 601131279097.5
4Uppsala University 🇸🇪 77124111101103.25
5Aarhus University 🇩🇰 69147106105106.75
6Lund University 🇸🇪 1519710399112.5
7Stockholm University 🇸🇪 69181183114136.75
8Technical University of Denmark 🇩🇰 151103187155149
9University of Gothenburg 🇸🇪 101202191135157.25
10KTH Royal Institute of Technology 🇸🇪 20198201205176.25
11University of Bergen 🇳🇴 301194201166215.5
12Chalmers University of Technology 🇸🇪 301139201342245.75
13Aalto University 🇫🇮 401127201264248.25
14Aalborg University 🇩🇰 301305201250264.25
15Norwegian University of Science and Technology 🇳🇴 101360401281285.75
16University of Southern Denmark 🇩🇰 301353251301301.5
17University of Turku 🇫🇮 301287351322315.25
18Umeå University 🇸🇪 401333351322351.75
19Linköping University 🇸🇪 301362401358355.5
20Tampere University 🇫🇮 501409301361393

This is a ranking of the top universities in the Nordic countries ranked relative to each other for the year 2020.

The ranking was created by using metadata sourced from the four prominent rankings of world universities (each ranking released in 2020): Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), Times Higher Education (THE), U.S. News & World Report (USNWR), and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). 

Rank was determined on each list for every Nordic university ranked on each 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 below. The leftmost column shows rank based on average, the “institution” column shows the institution ranked, the next four rightward columns (ARWU, THE, USNWR, QS) 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. Notably, Karolinska Institute is unranked by QS, otherwise it would have placed 1st. Other universities which would have appeared (had they been ranked by all the rankings) are: Reykjavík University (Iceland) and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sweden).

If anything appears to be in error, please email me at

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