Dutch universities do well in Shanghai Rankings

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (also known as Shanghai Rankings) released its annual list of the world’s top 500 universities last week, awarding top place again to Harvard University, as it has done for the ten years of the rankings’ existence.

Universities from the United States again dominated the top 20, admitting only three universities from other countries: University of Cambridge (5), University of Oxford (10) and University of Tokyo (20).

Dutch universities

The top-ranked university in the Netherlands was Utrecht University, placed at 52 (and in 13th place in Europe), up from 53 last year. Leiden University also made it into the top 100, at 74, while the University of Groningen broke into the top 100 for the first time at 92.

As well as the general ranking, the survey also released rankings for the top 500 universities in particular study areas.

Utrecht University is ranked highly in Natural Sciences and Mathematics at 42, while Leiden University is ranked 35th for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy and 45th for Physics, and the University of Groningen is ranked 49th in Chemistry.

Wageningen University, while not appearing in the top 100 general universities, was ranked at 32 for Life and Agricultural Sciences.

Amsterdam University and VU University of Amsterdam both made it into the top 50 for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy, while Erasmus University and Tilburg University were in the top 50 for Economics.

Highest-ranked countries

Of course, the country with the most highly ranked universities is the United States, with 17 institutions in the top 20 and 52 in the top 100.

Second is the United Kingdom (with two and nine) and third Switzerland (with one and five). The Netherlands is ranked at nine, with seven Dutch universities in the top 150.

How they score it

The ARWU is more commonly known as the Shanghai rankings, as the research is conducted at the Centre for World-Class Universities at Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University.

The rankings use six objective indicators: the number of Nobel Laureates and Fields Medallists among alumni and staff, the number of Highly-Cited Researchers, the amount of articles published in the journals Nature and Science, the amount of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index - Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance.

Every year, more than 1.200 universities are ranked and the best 500 are published.

The Shanghai rankings are one of two global lists used to rate tertiary institutions. The other is the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which ranked five Dutch universities in the top 100 of its world reputation rankings earlier this year.

Top 10 world universities

1 Harvard University United States
2 Stanford University United States
3 Uni. of California, Berkeley United States
4 Mas. Inst. of Tech. (MIT) United States
5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
6 California Uni. of Tech. United States
7 Princeton University United States
8 Columbia University United States
9 University of Chicago United States
10 University of Oxford United Kingdom


Top 10 Dutch universities

NL rank   World rank
1 Utrecht University 52
2 Leiden University 74
3 Uni. of Groningen 92
4-7 Radboud University 101-150
4-7 Uni. of Amsterdam 101-150
4-7 Uni. of Wageningen 101-150
4-7 VU Uni. of Amsterdam 101-150
8 Erasmus University 151-200
9-10 Delft Uni. of Tech. 201-300
9-10 Uni. of Maastricht 201-300

* Institutions within the same rank range are listed alphabetically.

Source: ARWU


Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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