Two Swiss universities among the three most international in the world

Two Swiss universities among the three most international in the world

A new ranking by Times Higher Education (THE) has found that two universities in Switzerland are among the 10 most international in the world. The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich were found to be two of the world’s most attractive places for international students to study

THE Most International Universities in the World 2023

To create the study, THE looked into the “universities that are most connected across borders” via student exchange programmes and international research. In practice, this meant ranking universities through the following factors:

  • The proportion of international students and staff (including those on exchanges)
  • Most research published using global partners
  • The international reputation of the university - based on the THE World Reputation Ranking

When asked why they were ranking institutions of higher education in this way, THE student editor Seeta Bhardwa explained that “universities, by their nature, are global institutions... they tackle some of the globe’s most pressing problems through research. Research suggests that diverse communities of students improve the teaching and learning experience, while opportunities for students to spend time abroad better prepare them to become global citizens.”

Swiss universities bag second and third in 2023

In 2023, universities in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom dominated the ranking, with the University of Hong Kong taking the top spot. THE praised the university for its high proportion of international students, the number of courses it offers in English and its international outreach programmes, symbolised by its stated aim to become “Asia’s global university.”

The rest of the podium was occupied by Swiss universities, with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) usurping ETH Zurich to become the second most international university in the world in 2023. Despite a slight fall in the ranking, ETH Zurich still managed to round out the top three.

EPFL and ETH Zurich praise for international student numbers

The study noted that of the 11.000 students that study at EPFL, 62 percent are not Swiss citizens. What's more, “Students at the institution are given numerous opportunities to participate in exchange programmes with other universities and it also offers students at other universities the opportunity to spend up to three months at one of its campus laboratories”, THE noted.

At ETH Zurich, the study found that over 120 different countries are represented in the more than 22.000 student population. Not only is the university the best in continental Europe - 21 Nobel prizes have been awarded to students and teachers connected to the institution - the cosmopolitan city also makes it an attractive destination for international students, despite the high cost of student housing.

10 most international universities in the world in 2023

In all, here are the 10 most international universities in the world in 2023:

  1. University of Hong Kong
  2. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
  3. ETH Zurich
  4. City University of Hong Kong
  5. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  6. Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  7. Imperial College London
  8. University of Oxford
  9. University of Cambridge
  10. National University of Singapore

To find out more about the ranking, please visit the official website.

Image: / EQRoy

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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