BlueSky Ranking Of University Rankings 2022/23 – Europe
The dominance of UK universities at the top of the European league table has not diminished since Brexit. Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College and UCL continue to fill the top 4 places as they did five years ago, with Edinburgh, King’s and Manchester ensuring that 7 of the top 9 universities in 2022/23 are from the UK.
The transformation of the French higher education system in the last decade has seen the merger of many smaller prestigious institutions to create a number of mega-universities whose combined reputations and research output have been rewarded in the four global university rankings of THE, QS, US News and ARWU Shanghai.
Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) is now among the top 10 universities in Europe, climbing 5 places since 2018, followed by Paris-Saclay University (formerly University of Paris-Sud among others) that has risen over 30 places to #14, and Sorbonne University (that now includes University Pierre et Marie Curie and has ties with INSEAD) which has seen a similarly dramatic rise of 36 places among European universities to this year rank #15.
The BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings aggregates the performance of schools across the four major global rankings. Each of them uses a different methodology and measures different things with the inherent limitations of each assessment, so doing particularly well in one ranking and less well in another is reflected in the overall average score.
The exception is Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, whose anomalous 2018 ranking by QS below 1,000 ensured that this year’s QS position at #89 catapulted the school to #12 in the overall BlueSky Ranking of Rankings – Europe.
Comparing the combined results of 2022/23 with 2017/18, universities in Germany have made steady progress among the top 50, with TU Munich, Free University of Berlin and the University of Bonn making advances. But elsewhere in Switzerland and Northern Europe, the great majority of universities have slipped, sometimes dramatically.
Other than the University of Oslo, which climbed 9 places to #26, Scandinavian institutions have slumped. Uppsala University and Lund University in Sweden fell 18 and 16 places respectively, While Finland’s Helsinki University fell 8 places, and Denmark’s Aarhus University fell 8 places and the University of Copenhagen fell 5 places. Stockholm University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology also lost ground.
Switzerland, with a population of 8.7 million hosts a remarkable number of world-class academic institutions for countries their size. But in the past 5 years their universities have struggled in the international league tables. The University of Geneva has fallen 19 places, the worst performer among the top 50 universities in Europe. EPF Lausanne has also struggled, falling 8 places while the University of Zurich and the University of Basel both slipped.
The Netherlands, with a population of 17.5 millions is another remarkable university hotspot, with 8 universities among the top 50 in Europe. But Leiden University has lost 9 places compared to European peers since 2018, and Erasmus University (down 8 places), Wageningen University and Delft University of Technology (both down 4 places) add to the rankings decline, with the universities of Groningen, Amsterdam, Utrecht and VU also nudging lower.
There are winners and losers in every ranking of course, and all of the institutions in the top 50 are leading lights for European research, academic reputation and learning. But in a competitive higher education landscape, the BlueSky Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 highlights fascinating international shifts over the past five years.
Global Top 100: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Global
N.America Top 50: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – N.America
Asia & Oceania Top 30: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Asia & Oceania
BlueSky Ranking of the University Rankings 2022/23 – Europe
|Rank in Europe 2022/23||Rank in Europe 2017/18||Institution Name||Country||THE 2023||QS 2023||USNews 2022/23||ARWU 2022||5-year Change|
|1||1||University of Cambridge||UK||3||2||8||4||0|
|1||2||University of Oxford||UK||1||4||5||7||1|
|3||3||Imperial College London||UK||10||6||13||23||0|
|6||6||University of Edinburgh||UK||29||15||34||35||0|
|7||7||King’s College London||UK||35||37||33||48||0|
|8||13||Université Paris Sciences et Lettres||France||47||26||48||40||5|
|9||9||University of Manchester||UK||54||28||63||38||0|
|11||12||Technical University of Munich||Germany||30||49||79||56||1|
|16||8||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||Switzerland||41||16||69||125||-8|
|19||14||University of Copenhagen||Denmark||114||82||42||39||-5|
|20||18||University of Amsterdam||Netherlands||60||58||39||125||-2|
|21||19||University of Zurich||Switzerland||82||83||67||59||-2|
|22||15||University of Bristol||UK||76||61||93||81||-7|
|23||26||University of Glasgow||UK||82||81||74||125||3|
|24||23||Humboldt University of Berlin||Germany||86||131||61||–||-1|
|25||22||University of Groningen||Netherlands||75||145||88||66||-3|
|26||35||University of Oslo||Norway||126||101||89||67||9|
|27||34||University of Southampton||UK||108||78||104||104||7|
|28||33||Free University of Berlin||Germany||91||118||87||–||5|
|29||21||University of Helsinki||Finland||110||106||99||92||-8|
|31||38||University of Birmingham||UK||108||91||89||125||7|
|33||25||Erasmus University Rotterdam||Netherlands||80||208||65||87||-8|
|34||42||University of Bern||Switzerland||94||120||107||125||8|
|35||31||Wageningen University & Research||Netherlands||59||124||89||175||-4|
|36||40||London School of Economics and Political Science||UK||37||56||236||125||4|
|37||32||University of Warwick||UK||104||64||163||125||-5|
|39||36||University of Sheffield||UK||114||96||134||125||-3|
|40||39||University of Basel||Switzerland||101||136||150||83||-1|
|41||37||Delft University of Technology||Netherlands||70||61||169||175||-4|
|43||41||University of Leeds||UK||128||86||140||140||-2|
|45||46||University of Bonn||Germany||89||201||138||76||1|
|46||27||University of Geneva||Switzerland||225||125||109||62||-19|
|48||54||Université Paris Cité||France||114||248||–||78||6|
|49||48||VU University Amsterdam||Netherlands||121||214||82||175||-1|
|50||44||Queen Mary University||UK||124||125||100||250||-6|
University Rankings Methodologies
Each of the major university rankings uses a different methodology and weights the use of different data to produce their league tables, so it is important to understand what is being measured. In simple terms:
THE – the performance indicators are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International Outlook (staff, students and research); and Industry Income (knowledge transfer).
Teaching (30%); Research (30%); Citations (30%); International Outlook (7.5%); Industry Income (2.5%).
QS– six indicators looking at four broad categories: research reputation, the learning and teaching environment, research impact, and internationalisation.
Academic Reputation (40%); Employer Reputation (10%); Citations per Faculty (20%); Faculty Student Ratio (20%); International Student Ration (5%); International Faculty Ratio (5%)
ARWU – considers every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, universities with a significant amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included.
Quality of Education (10%); Quality of Faculty (40%); Research Output (40%) Per Capita Performance (10%)
US News – calculates the rankings using 13 indicators and weights that U.S. News chose to measure global research performance.
Global Research Reputation (12.5%); Regional Research Reputation (12.5%); Publications (10%); Books (2.5%); Conferences (2.5%), Normalized Citation Impact (10%); Total Citations (7.5%); Number Of Publications Among 10% Most Cited (12.5%); Percentage Of Total Publications Among 10% Most Cited (10%); International Collaboration – Relative To Country (5%); International Collaboration (5%); Number Of Highly Cited Papers Among Top 1% Most Cited In Respective Field (5%); Percentage Of Total Publications Among Top 1% Most Highly Cited Papers (5%)
About the author
Matt Symonds is Chief Editor of BlueSky Thinking. He is the S of QS, co-founding QS Quacquarelli Symonds, publishers of the QS World University Rankings and numerous business school rankings.
In 2010 Matt was the media consultant for Times Higher Education to support the launch of their own THE World University Rankings, and has subsequently worked for THE and WSJ for business school rankings.
Matt writes about Higher Education and management for Forbes, BBC, Times of India and formerly The Economist and Bloomberg.