What are the best universities in the world? To find out, we decipher the results of international rankings: the Shanghai Ranking, the reference for universities worldwide, but also those of Times Higher Education and QS.
What methods of making a ranking of the best universities in the world?
To define the best universities in the world, there are different rankings: that of Shanghai is taken as a reference, but we can also appreciate the Times Higher Education ranking or the QS ranking. Each of them has its own methodology that explains their differences.
The Shanghai Ranking focuses its ranking on research. The Shanghai ranking therefore evaluates six criteria related to research activity:
- Number of Nobel Prize or Fields Medal Teacher Researchers (20% of the score)
- Number of “Highly Cited Researchers” (20%)
- Number of articles published in Nature and Science journals from 2017 to 2021 (20%)
- Number of articles in the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index in 2021 (20%)
- Number of Nobel Prize or Fields Medal graduates (10%)
- Academic performance per capita: a score calculated from the five previous indicators divided by the permanent academic staff (10%).
The criteria maintained by the time higher education are close to those of Shanghai and can be summarized as follows:
- Teaching: Reputation survey, supervision ratio, ratio of doctoral students to bachelor graduates, ratio of excellent doctoral students to academic staff, institutional income.
- Search: Reputation Survey, Search Revenue, Search Productivity.
- Scientific Publication Citations: The average number of times published work is cited by scientists.
- International: Percentage of international students and employees, international cooperation.
- Industry: Knowledge transfer to industry.
To create its annual ranking, the QS World University Ranking also based on criteria of reputation and the international student-teacher relationship:
- Academic Reputation (Research)
- reputation on the employer side
- Student Supervision Rate
- Percentage of international teachers
- Percentage of international students
- Citation rate of publications per teacher.
The Shanghai Ranking lists the 1,000 best universities in the world
According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Arwu), the Shanghai Ranking is one of the “world’s top 1,000 research universities”.
In this world ranking, American and Anglo-Saxon universities have dominated the top of the ranking since it was founded in 2003. At the top: Harvard remains number one, ahead of Stanford University and MIT, then the British University of Cambridge.
The United States takes 15 spots in the Shanghai top 20 and the United Kingdom, three!
World Top 10 Shanghai 2022 World Ranking
|furnishings||country||Rank 2021||Rank 2022||Development 2021-2022|
|Harvard University||United States||1||1||0|
|University at Stanford||United States||2||2||0|
|University of Cambridge||United Kingdom||3||4||-1|
|University of California, Berkeley||United States||5||5||0|
|Princeton University||United States||6||6||0|
|University of Oxford||United Kingdom||7||7||0|
|University of Columbia||United States||8th||8th||0|
|California Institute of Technology||United States||9||9||0|
|University of Chicago||United States||10||10||0|
Which place for France in the Shanghai ranking?
Paris-Saclay Universitythe leading French university, remains in the top 20 in the world but loses three places and comes in 16th place in 2022. Three other French institutions are in the top 100:
- Paris Sciences and Letters (40th),
- Sorbonne University (43rd),
- University of Paris-Cité (78th).
A total of 28 French companies appear in the Shanghai ranking.
The 10 best universities in the world according to Times Higher Education (THE)
The world ranking published by the British monthly magazine Times Higher Education (THE) since 2010 evaluates universities according to their research and teaching activities as well as their impact.
|Top 10 universities according to THE 2023|
|University of Oxford (England)|
|Harvard University (USA)|
|University of Cambridge (England)|
|Stanford University (USA)|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)|
|California Institute of Technology (USA): the university where the characters of The Big Bang Theory series work|
|Princeton University (USA)|
|University of California (USA)|
|Yale University (USA)|
|Imperial College London (England)|
Which place for French universities in the THE ranking?
France has 42 institutions among the 1,799 ranked by THE for 2023, three more than in the 2022 edition.
Four French institutions are among the top 100 in the world for 2023: the University of Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL), 47th; Sorbonne University, 90th; University of Paris-Saclay, 93rd; and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, 95.
World universities at the top of the QS World University Rankings 2023
Among the 1,500 establishments audited around the world is the QS ranking presents a top ranking similar to other world university rankings, namely:
1st place: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2nd: University of Cambridge
3rd: Stanford University
Once again, American or Anglo-Saxon universities occupy the first places in the international rankings.
Global Top 10 QS Ranking 2023
|1||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||United States|
|2||University of Cambridge||United Kingdom|
|3||University at Stanford||United States|
|4||University of Oxford||United Kingdom|
|5||Harvard University||United States|
|6||California Institute of Technology (Caltech)||United States|
|7||Imperial College London||United Kingdom|
|8th||UCL (University College London)||United Kingdom|
|9||ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)||Swiss|
|10||University of Chicago||United States|
In this new edition of the ranking, two French universities consolidate their position in the top 50 of the QS Ranking 2023: the University of Paris Saclay and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris. A total of 32 French universities appear in the overall table and position France in 7th place worldwide in the QS ranking.