4 Swiss universities among the 80 best in the world in ShanghaiRanking for 2023

4 Swiss universities among the 80 best in the world in ShanghaiRanking for 2023

The latest Academic Ranking of World Universities has named ETH Zurich as the 20th-best university in the world and the second-best in continental Europe. The report for 2023 saw Swiss universities climb the ranking, but most still can’t compete with the high scores given to British and American institutions.

Academic Ranking of World Universities 2023

To create the study, the firm ShanghaiRanking Consultancy analysed 2.500 universities from around the world, to see which institutions have the best academic output and offer their students the highest quality education - unlike the QS and Times University rankings, which have more of a focus on student life and experience. 

Each institution was ranked by six key indicators in order to determine the quality of teaching provided. These include:

  • Number of Nobel Price and Field Medal-winning staff and alumni
  • Number of highly cited researchers selected by Clarivate
  • Number of articles published in Nature and Science journals
  • Per capita academic performance of the university
  • Number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index on the Web of Science platform

Universities were then given scores out of 100 in each of these categories, with a weighted average of all six used to place each institution on the overall list.

Top 10 dominated by UK and US universities

Like last year and the year before, the top of the Shanghai ranking for 2023 was dominated by universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. For the 22nd time since the ranking was created, Harvard University found itself in first place with a perfect score of 100. The rest of the top 10 was filled with the usual suspects:

  1. Harvard University (100)
  2. Stanford University (74,8)
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (69,1)
  4. University of Cambridge (67,9)
  5. University of California, Berkeley (63,4)
  6. Princetown University (60,1)
  7. University of Oxford (59,5)
  8. Columbia University (55,3)
  9. California Institute of Technology (54,5)
  10. University of Chicago (53,8)

The ranking claimed Harvard was home to the best academic departments in 15 different subjects, ranging from biomedical engineering to political science. The company placed Paris-Saclay University in 15th, the highest place in the ranking which was awarded to a university outside of the UK and US.

Four Swiss universities in top 80

Once again, ETH Zurich has found itself ranked 20th on the list with a slightly worse score of 44,1. The study found that while the best university in Zurich has eight departments that are among the 10 best in the world, some departments - like clinical medicine, education and psychology - fall well below the standards of other highly ranked institutions.

Nevertheless, the university’s highest-rated subjects, civil engineering and water resources, were rated as the second best of their kind in the world.

The ranking for 2023 represented a general improvement for most Swiss universities, with the University of Zurich improving its score to rank 57th in the world. The University of Geneva and the University of Basel were also featured in the top 80. By contrast, only nine of the 11 universities in Switzerland were ranked in 2023.

Best universities in Switzerland according to ShanghaiRanking

In all, here’s how each Swiss university faired on the latest ShanghaiRanking:

  • 20. ETH Zurich
  • 57. University of Zurich
  • 61. University of Geneva
  • 80. University of Basel
  • 101-150. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)
  • 101-150. University of Bern
  • 101-150. University of Lausanne
  • 501-600. University of Italian Switzerland
  • 501-600. University of Fribourg

For more information about how the ranking was calculated, check out the ShanghaiConsultancy website.

Thumb image credit: Mikadun /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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