Best Universities from Europe in International Rankings 2019-2020

If you want to study abroad in Europe at some of the best universities in the world, a good place to start should be the top 4 most prestigious international rankings that get updated every year. Just make sure you have the right finances and academic achievements to be admitted.

In case you didn’t already know, the most well-known university rankings worldwide are: 

  • World University Rankings by Times Higher Education
  • Academic Ranking of World Universities by the University of Shanghai
  • QS World University Rankings by TopUniversities
  • Best Global Universities Rankings by US News & World Report

To make your study choice for 2020 easier, we are going to present to you the lists with the top 10 universities from Europe, as they were created by these top 4 world university rankings.

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You may wonder why do we need more than one university ranking and why are they different? Because each ranking system considers different criteria and data when putting together their annual university list. Find out more information about ranking criteria after every university list below. 

Best universities in Europe - Times Higher Education Rankings 2019

In 2019, 450 out of more than 1250 universities ranked by Times Higher Education Rankings are from Europe. 35 European countries are present in the 2019 European ranking, so there are plenty of universities and locations to choose from.

These are the top 10 universities in Europe according to Times Higher Education:

World University Rankings decides on its top universities mainly by their focus on the research and quotes in academia, internationality, and student-teacher ratio. 

Best universities in Europe - Shanghai Rankings 2019

In 2019, the UK has 61 universities listed in the top 1000 universities of Shanghai Rankings. Although some of the best universities in Europe are from the UK, there are plenty of other institutions from other European countries lower on the list.

  • University of Cambridge (UK)                          
  • University of Oxford (UK)    
  • University College London (UK)                       
  • ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)       
  • Imperial College London (UK)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • The University of Edinburgh (UK)     
  • The University of Manchester (UK)
  • University of Paris Sud (France)
  • Karolinska Institute (Sweden)

Academic Ranking of World Universities places the most importance on scientists who won awards, cited researchers, published articles and overall university performance.

Best Universities in Europe - QS World University Rankings 2020

QS Rankings create their rankings earlier in the year compared to other global rankings. That's why they've already released their list for 2020. A total of 381 European universities appear in QS Rankings 2020. This means about 38% of all the universities included in the rankings. Here is the top 10 European university list from QS:

  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)
  • University of Cambridge (UK)            
  • University College London (UK)
  • Imperial College London (UK)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • The University of Edinburgh (UK)     
  • The University of Manchester (UK) 
  • King's College London (UK)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)

When compiling their university list, QS Rankings takes into consideration feedback from higher education experts, companies which hired graduates, teaching quality, the ration of teachers to students, and research papers mentioned in academia.

Best Universities in Europe - US News Global Universities Rankings 2019

62 universities from Germany have made it in the US News Global Rankings in 2019. As underlined by the US News Rankings press release, the growing number of universities that make it on the list emphasises the fact that international education is becoming more global, with more options available for students worldwide.

  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Imperial College London (UK)
  • University College London (UK)
  • ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland)
  • The University of Edinburgh (UK)     
  • Paris-Saclay University (France)
  • University of Copenhagen (Denmark)            
  • King's College London (UK)
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (Switzerland)

US News Rankings base their top university list decision on the rate of students still studying in the university after the first year of studies, graduation rates, university performance, university resources and student satisfaction.

What students are saying about the best universities in Europe

If you also want to know how students feel about some of the best universities in Europe check out their reviews: 

Other great universities in Europe that didn’t make the top 10

The following universities might not be in the European university top 10, but they still rank pretty high in Europe and are even present in the top 200 global rankings. These international universities are definitely not something to ignore:     

Conclusions for European international university rankings

  • Different rankings have different criteria with which they decide on the best universities.
  • Some rankings place more emphasis or research activities in universities, while others take student satisfaction more into account.
  • In some cases, universities that appear in multiple rankings in the top 100, might be better than ones that appear in top 10 just in one ranking.
  • The UK, Switzerland and Germany are leaders in European rankings, followed by universities from the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Bottom line, Europe is a great continent to study on! You can find plenty more universities in Europe where you can study abroad, whether higher or lower in global university rankings.

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