At 13th, Switzerland’s leading university was the only institution outside the UK and North America to rank inside the world’s top 20, according to this year’s league table, which was topped for the fourth year running by the California Institute of Technology.
The Zurich institution, founded in 1855 and famous for producing many Nobel Prize winners including Albert Einstein, was also the only university outside the UK and North America to make the top ten in the subject-specific category of engineering and technology.
As last year, Switzerland has a total of seven universities in the world’s top 200.
The Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) rose three places on last year to claim 34th place.
The university of Basel slipped one place to 75th, while both Zurich and Geneva made significant leaps up the table to rank 103 and 107 respectively. Bern university jumped 25 places to 132 while Lausanne’s UNIL slipped four places to 136.
As last year, EPFL also claimed second place in the THE’s additional list of the 100 best universities under 50 years old.
Now in its 11th edition, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings claim to be “the only global university performance tables to judge research-led universities across all their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.”
The rankings are closely monitored around the world by academics and strategy makers as well as students.
Phil Baty, editor of the THE rankings, said in a statement: “We’ve spent a lot of time working with the universities themselves trying to define the characteristics that make a great world class university.”
At a time when students are faced with spiralling costs, the most important focus of the rankings, he said, is teaching environment.
As usual, the higher echelons of the tables were dominated by UK and US universities.
Harvard narrowly beat Oxford to second place, with Stanford and Cambridge taking fourth and fifth place respectively.