ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) was ranked ahead of the University of Tokyo in the list which continues to be dominated in the upper echelons by American institutions, headed by first-ranked Harvard, followed by Stanford, University of California, Berkeley, MIT and the University of Cambridge.
The Zurich technical university’s 20th place ranking marked an improvement from 23rd in the 2012 Shanghai list.
Among other Swiss institutions, the University of Zurich dropped to 60th place from 59th, the University of Geneva remained unchanged at 69th, while the University of Basel edged up to 83rd place from 85th.
Lauanne’s Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) failed to rank in the top 100 and was grouped without a precise number among universities rated among the top 101st to 150th.
ETH Zurich, which was founded in 1854 with a mission to educate engineers and scientists, frequently appears as the top-ranked Swiss university in comparative assessments.
Last year, QS World University Rankings rated it the best university in continental Europe, ranking it 18th in the world.
The Zurich engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management university has produced 23 Nobel laureates, while its famous former students include renowned physicist Albert Einstein.
With an enrolment of around 17,200 students on two campuses, it offers an extensive number of courses in English in addition to German.
The Shanghai university ranking, one of several produced annually, was first launched in 2003.
While its list is highly regarded, it has faced criticism for its methodology, which gives a lot of weight to hard science to the detriment of teaching, which is harder to evaluate, according to an AFP report.
It also emphasizes such factors as the number of Nobel Prizes won by universities as well as the number of articles published in Anglo-Saxon academic journals, such as Nature and Science.