Swiss universities rocket up the latest Times University ranking

Swiss universities rocket up the latest Times University ranking

Four universities in Switzerland have been ranked in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education (THE) university rankings for 2023. Many Swiss universities improved their scores from last year, with ETH Zurich being named the best university outside of the UK and US.

World University Rankings 2023

With students in Switzerland having already returned to campus, THE has published its latest ranking of universities designed to help future applicants choose the best institution for their specialism and interests. In their largest and most diverse ranking yet, the ranking for 2023 featured 1.799 different universities across 104 nations, which were analysed through the following categories:

  • Teaching - Reputation survey, staff-to-student ratio, doctorate-to-bachelor ratio, doctorates awarded to academic staff ratio and institutional income.
  • Research - Reputation survey, research income and research productivity.
  • Citations - How many times a universities’ work is cited by scholars globally.
  • Industry income - Transfer and value of invention given from a university to entrepreneurs.
  • International outlook - The proportion of international students and staff, and whether the university collaborates with institutions abroad.

Each university featured in the top 500 was given a rating out of 100 in each category. A weighted average score is then calculated to determine each institution's place in the overall ranking.

The 10 best universities in the world for 2023

As has been the case since 2018, the top 10 in 2023 was dominated by universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. This year, the University of Oxford was ranked top of the list, mainly due to its world-beating research output and the sheer number of Oxford citations used by academics each year.

The top 10 universities for 2023 were:

  • 1. University of Oxford (96,4)
  • 2. Harvard University (95,2)
  • =3. University of Cambridge (94,8)
  • =3. Stanford University (94,8)
  • 5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (94,2)
  • 6. California Institute of Technology (94,1)
  • 7. Princeton University (92,4)
  • 8. University of California, Berkeley (92,1)
  • 9. Yale University (91,4)
  • 10. Imperial College London (90,4)

ETH Zurich named the best university in continental Europe

However, it isn’t much further down the list until you arrive at a Swiss institution, with ETH in Zurich gaining four places to rank joint 11th in the 2023 ranking. With a score of 89,4 points overall, the highest-ranking university outside the UK and US was only one point away from breaking into the top 10, something a non-UK / US university hasn't done since ETH did it in 2018.

ETH’s highest scores were in the International outlook, Research and Citation categories with 97,7, 95,4 and 90,7 points out of 100 respectively. However, the university was let down by its Industry income score of just 59,1 out of 100.

The 2023 list also saw one more Swiss university join the top 100. ETH was joined in the higher echelons by its sister university - the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (41st) - as well as the University of Zurich (=82nd) and Bern (94th), with Basel just missing out in joint 101st.

All universities in Switzerland ranked for 2023

In all, here is how every university in Switzerland did on the 2023 list:

  • = 11. ETH Zurich (89,4)
  • 41. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (75,4)
  • = 82. University of Zurich (65,3)
  • 94. University of Bern (63,7)
  • = 101. University of Basel (63)
  • 135. University of Lausanne (58,7)
  • 201-250. University of Geneva (51,2-54,3)
  • 201-250. University of Italian Switzerland (51,2-54,3) 
  • 301-350. University of St. Gallen (47-48,7)
  • 501-600. University of Fribourg (39,3-42)
  • 501-600. University of Neuchâtel (39,3-42)
  • 801-1000. University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland (29,8-33,9)

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

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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