ETH Zurich ranked as the second best university in Europe by QS

ETH Zurich ranked as the second best university in Europe by QS

A brand new ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has named two Swiss universities among the 10 best in Europe. In a list that was dominated by British universities, ETH Zurich managed to nab a place on the podium, while six other Swiss institutions ranked in the top 100.

QS releases first Europe-focused university ranking

For the first time ever, QS has published a ranking that focuses solely on universities in Europe, with 688 institutions from across the continent analysed as part of the list. Much like their global ranking, QS uses a number of metrics to determine each university’s score. These are:

  • Academic reputation
  • Employer reputation 
  • Citations per academic paper
  • Faculty-to-student ratio
  • International faculty and student ratio, and student diversity
  • International research network
  • Outbound exchange students
  • Employment outcomes
  • Sustainability

Each institution was given a score out of 100 in each category, with a weighted average used to generate an overall score. Unlike the Times Higher Education rankings, QS’s report focuses solely on the quality of teaching rather than the overall student experience.

ETH Zurich ranked ahead of Cambridge

In the first-ever ranking of its kind, the University of Oxford clinched the top spot with a perfect score of 100. This was thanks to its perfect reputation with employers and academics, alongside its world-beating research output.

However, unlike the global ranking, the top 10 was not solely dominated by American and British universities, with ETH Zurich ranked as the second-best university in Europe, above the likes of Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London. What’s more, ETH is only 0,6 points off the top spot with a score of 99,4.

Seven Swiss universities among Europe's top 100

Alongside a perfect academic reputation score and near-perfect reputation score with employers, ETH was also given high scores for its research output and actually beat Oxford in the papers per faculty, citation per faculty and international student diversity categories. However, it will have to improve its reputation with employers and boost the number of faculty on staff before it will be able to compete with the pride of Oxfordshire.

ETH’s sister university, EPF in Lausanne, placed ninth, making it just one of three universities in the top 10 that aren’t based in the UK - the other being Université PSL in Paris. Five other Swiss universities also featured in the top 100, those being the Universities of Zurich (35th), Geneva (60th), Bern (76th) and Lausanne (98th).

10 best universities in Europe

Here are the top 10 universities in Europe, according to the latest QS ranking:

  1. University of Oxford (100)
  2. ETH Zurich (99,4)
  3. University of Cambridge (98,7)
  4. Imperial College London (97,6)
  5. University College London (97,5)
  6. University of Edinburgh (96,5)
  7. Université PSL (96,2)
  8. University of Manchester (94,6)
  9. EPF Lausanne (93,2)
  10. King’s College London (93,1)

To see the rest of the list, check out the QS website.

Thumb image credit: Wren Field Productions /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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