Ranking of Universities in the European Union, 2021

*The flag of the European Union.
RankInstitutionChange from 2020ARWUQSTHEUSNWRAverage World Rank
URParis Sciences et Lettres (PSL) University 🇫🇷 NA384440NR~ 40.67
URKarolinska Institute 🇸🇪NA42NR394843
🥇Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich 🇩🇪4864324647.5
🥈Technical University of Munich 🇩🇪5250387453.5
🥉Heidelberg University 🇩🇪5763425454
4Sorbonne University 🇫🇷+13572884660.25
5University of Copenhagen 🇩🇰-13079963760.5
6Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven 🇧🇪+18770424861.75
7University of Amsterdam 🇳🇱-110155653864.75
8Paris-Saclay University 🇫🇷NA13861176069
9Utrecht University 🇳🇱-150110694869.25
URCharité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin 🇩🇪NANRNR73NR73
10Leiden University 🇳🇱83112718287
11Wageningen University & Research 🇳🇱+2101123538089.25
12University of Groningen 🇳🇱-164128808890
URHumboldt University of Berlin 🇩🇪NANR1287478~ 93.33
13University of Helsinki 🇫🇮-4821041019495.25
14Ghent University 🇧🇪-2711419692100
URFree University of Berlin 🇩🇪NANR1278395~ 101.67
15Erasmus University Rotterdam 🇳🇱1011797262103.5
16Aarhus University 🇩🇰71155104103108.25
17Uppsala University 🇸🇪-378124131113111.5
18Lund University 🇸🇪-11518711695112.25
19Delft University of Technology 🇳🇱-11515775174114.25
20Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 🇳🇱10120911584127.25
Figure 1. Ranking of universities in the European Union for the year 2021.

This is a ranking of the top 20 universities in the European Union ranked relative to each other by average world rank for the year 2021.

Overview and methodology

The ranking was created by averaging ranking placements 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 checked on each list for every EU university ranked on each of the lists. 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, as shown above. The leftmost column shows the final rank (which is relative placement based on average rank, i.e.). The next, institution, column shows the institution ranked along with the flag of the country in which it is located. The next, change from 2020, column shows the distance moved for each institution compared to the 2020 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 Rank”) 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, Humboldt University of Berlin is shown between the 14th and 15th ranked universities, as it would have ranked 15th if it appeared on all four rankings (and maintained its average from the ranking 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.

Observations

  • German universities take the top three spots (again).
  • Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) University would have placed 1st. It had roughly the 41st ranking placement in the world; yet it is still unranked by USNWR, and thus does not qualify. See more about this here.
  • Meanwhile, Karolinska Institute would have placed 2nd, with a 43 average (unranked by QS).
  • The Netherlands has the most universities appearing in the top 20, with 8. The Nordic countries, together, have 5. Belgium and France each have two. No other countries make the top 20.
  • Wageningen University & Research advanced the most places compared to any university which made the list in 2020 and 2021, moving up to 11th from 13th.
  • Paris-Saclay University debuts for the first time in the top 20, at 8. This marks the largest advancement of any university on the list.
  • University of Helsinki has moved downward the most places compared to last year, moving out of the top 10, to 13th.
  • Overall, European Union universities have advanced in world university rankings in 2021. Whereas last year ranked EU universities average sum came out to 1768.25 (2020), this year the sum is 1679 (2021) — a roughly 90 place difference upward. One major contributor to this upward movement is the appearance of Paris-Saclay University at #8. Last year, it was not even near the top 20.
  • The top 14 EU universities all average within the top 100 worldwide.
  • Just one EU university — LMU Munich — averages within the top 50 worldwide.
  • THE 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.

*The header image used in the article is, to the best of my knowledge, in the public domain. If this is in error, please let me know and I will remove it immediately. To report errors, please email me at tuulifunctional@snmcgannon.com.

Permalink to this article: https://snmcgannon.com/2021/10/28/ranking-of-universities-in-the-european-union-2021/

Ranking of Universities in the EU, 2020

*This ranking is for the year 2020. See the newest, 2021, ranking here: https://snmcgannon.com/2021/10/30/ranking-of-universities-in-the-european-union-2021/

RankInstitutionARWUQSTHEUSNWRAverage World Rank
1LMU Munich 🇩🇪 5163324648
2Heidelberg University 🇩🇪 5764425454.25
3Technical University of Munich 🇩🇪 5450417655.25
4University of Copenhagen 🇩🇰 3376843456.75
5Sorbonne University 🇫🇷 3983874363
6University of Amsterdam 🇳🇱 10161664067
7Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 🇧🇪 9784454868.5
8Utrecht University 🇳🇱 52121755475.5
9University of Helsinki 🇫🇮 74104988690.5
10Leiden University 🇳🇱 80128708691
11University of Groningen 🇳🇱 69128809292.25
12Ghent University 🇧🇪 661351038597.25
13Wageningen University & Research 🇳🇱 1511156283102.75
14Uppsala University 🇸🇪 77124111101103.25
15Erasmus University Rotterdam 🇳🇱801977268104.25
16Aarhus University 🇩🇰69147106105106.75
17Lund University 🇸🇪 1519710399112.5
18Delft University of Technology 🇳🇱1515778172114.5
19University of Freiburg 🇩🇪 10117583168131.75
20Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 🇳🇱10123611680133.25

This is a ranking of the top 20 universities in the European Union ranked relative to each other by average world rank for the year 2020-2021. 

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), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE), and U.S. News & World Report (USNWR).

Rank was checked on each list for every EU university ranked on each of the lists. 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, as shown above. The leftmost column shows the final rank (which is relative placement based on average rank, i.e.), the “institution” column shows the institution ranked along with the flag of the country in which it is located, 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 Rank”) averages the four ranking lists’ rank placement for each university. 

There were 4 institutions which were ranked on three of the four lists which averaged higher (by those three lists) than at least one university which was ranked having been averaged by all four lists. In some cases, had these averages remained given all four lists, the list would look significantly different. Further details:

  • Karolinska Institute 🇸🇪 (43 average; unranked by QS) would have placed 1st.
  • Paris Sciences et Lettres University (PSL) 🇫🇷 (~45 average; unranked USNWR) would have placed 2nd (counting Karolinska). (UPDATE: see * below for further evaluation.)
  • Humboldt University of Berlin 🇩🇪 (93 average; unranked by ARWU — find further discussion about why that is here) would have placed 14 (counting Karolinska and PSL).
  • Free University of Berlin 🇩🇪 (~120 average; unranked by ARWU — find further discussion about why that is via the same link as for Humboldt) would not have placed in the top 20 counting the three institutions above, however, its average is higher than those universities currently placing 19th and 20th (Freiburg and VU Amsterdam, respectively).

Additionally, one institution — Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin 🇩🇪 — was ranked such that it would have appeared in the top 20 (given the above additions: 10th), however, this was only based on its placement of 75 on a single ranking (THE).

Finally, some observations about the final ranking —

  • Netherlands has the most intuitions in the top 20 in the EU, with 8.
  • Germany has the second most, with 4, and the Nordic countries together have 5.
  • Belgium and France are the only two countries with at least one university which makes the list outside of the aforementioned regions.
  • The top 12 universities in the EU all average within the top 100 in the world.

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

* Since creating this list I’ve written an article looking at how USNWR ranks PSL constituents. Ultimately, based on the average of those constituents, PSL’s ranking would place outside the 20 appearing on this list. There are many caveats to this outcome, however. The full article can be found here.

Permalink to this article: https://snmcgannon.com/2021/04/08/ranking-of-universities-in-the-eu-2020-21/

Ranking of Universities in the non-English Speaking World, 2020-21

This is a ranking of the top 25 universities in the non-English speaking world ranked relative to each other by average world rank for the year 2020. In this ranking the “non-English speaking world” is defined as all countries excluding the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

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), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), Times Higher Education (THE), and U.S. News & World Report (USNWR).

Rank was checked on each list for every university in the non-English speaking world ranked on all the lists. 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 (Figure 1). The leftmost column shows the final relative placement (relative placement based on average rank, i.e.), the “institution” column shows the institution ranked along with the flag of the country in which it is located, 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 Rank”) averages the four ranking lists’ rank placement for each university.

Some observations —

  • No list predicts the top 10.
  • Every list predicts ETH Zurich as 1st.
  • Germany is the most represented country in the top 10, with 3 universities.
  • China is the most represented country overall, with 5 universities.
  • No university outside Europe, China, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong or South Korea makes the list.

Finally, I want to note that Karolinska Institute (Sweden) averages 43 — good for 6th — between ARWU, THE, and USNWR. However, it is unranked by QS, and is thus left off the ranking. Additionally, Paris Sciences et Lettres University (France) averages ~44 — good for 6th (or 7th if Karolinska Institute is included) — between ARWU, QS, and THE. However, it is unranked by USNWR (though some of its subdivisions are, strangely, individually ranked), and is thus also left off the ranking.

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

Ranking of Universities in the non-English Speaking World, 2020-21

RankInstitutionARWUQSTHEUSNWRAverage World Rank
1ETH Zurich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich)🇨🇭206142616.5
2Tsinghua University (清华大学) 🇨🇳 2915202823
3Peking University (北京大学) 🇨🇳4923235136.5
4National University of Singapore 🇸🇬 8011253237
5University of Tokyo (東京大学) 🇯🇵 2624367339.75
6Nanyang Technological University 🇸🇬 9113473847.25
7LMU Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) 🇩🇪5163324648
8Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)🇨🇭8314435849.5
9Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg) 🇩🇪5764425454.25
10Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München) 🇩🇪5450417655.25
11University of Copenhagen (Københavns Universitet) 🇩🇰 3376843456.75
12Kyoto University (京都大学) 🇯🇵34385412562.75
13Sorbonne University (Sorbonne Université) 🇫🇷3983874363
14University of Zurich (Universität Zürich)🇨🇭5669736265
15University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam) 🇳🇱10161664067
16Catholic University of Leuven (Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven) 🇧🇪9784454868.5
17University of Hong Kong (香港大學) 🇭🇰15122398373.75
17Chinese University of Hong Kong (香港中文大學) 🇭🇰10143569573.75
19Utrecht University (Universiteit Utrecht) 🇳🇱52121755475.5
20Seoul National University (서울대학교) 🇰🇷101376012981.75
21Shanghai Jiao Tong University (上海交通大学) 🇨🇳634710012283
22Zhejiang University (浙江大学) 🇨🇳58539413585
23University of Helsinki (Helsingin yliopisto) 🇫🇮74104988690.5
24Leiden University (Universiteit Leiden) 🇳🇱80128708691
24Fudan University (复旦大学) 🇨🇳100347016091
Figure 1.

Permalink to this article: https://snmcgannon.com/2021/02/09/ranking-of-universities-in-the-non-english-speaking-world-2020-21/