Do university rankings have to look different in the future? The corona pandemic suddenly gave a boost to digital teaching. Not every university was prepared for that. It would therefore be obvious that rankings in the future would specifically take into account the scope and quality of online courses. In any case, the experts of the “Times Higher Education” rankings expect that the Covid-19 crisis could spur the academic rise of the People’s Republic.
The current “Times Higher Education” list of the best universities around the world still reflects the academic world before the height of the Corona crisis. The experts of the British weekly magazine last evaluated the quality of teaching between November 2019 and February 2020. 30 percent of this factor was included in the final grade. Research (volume, revenue, reputation) and its influence (measured by the number of citations) each accounted for 30 percent. The internationality of a university and its income were also taken into account.
“Times Higher Education” said it examined more than 1,500 universities in 93 countries and regions for the 2021 ranking. The international top spot went to the University of Oxford for the fifth time in a row. With Tsinghua University, an Asian university was able to make it into the top 20 for the first time using the current methodology.
48 German universities were able to place themselves in the top 1000. According to the ranking, these are the best universities in Germany.
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# 10 Free University of Berlin
Universities can achieve a maximum of 100 points in the ranking. Freie Universität Berlin ranks 118th worldwide with 60.4 points. That was one place lower than in 2020 and was enough for tenth place among the best universities in Germany, ahead of Göttingen, Hamburg and Mannheim. The Free University, founded in 1948, achieved its best result in the “International Orientation” category. The lowest value was found for earnings per employee.
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# 9 University of Bonn
The university ranking also went down for the University of Bonn. It fell from 105th to 114th place worldwide with 60.9 points. The analysts at the University of Bonn saw the greatest strengths in looking at the research carried out there. The institution got 84.9 points for the number of citations from its research. “Times Higher Education” recognized the institution as one of the leading research universities in the world.
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# 8 RWTH Aachen
The Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen is continuing its gradual decline in the ranking. It climbed to 78th place in 2017, but has fallen continuously since then. In 2021, it was only 107th place worldwide in the methodology of the university comparison. RWTH achieved an almost perfect value with 98 points in the “Income” category.
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# 7 University of Freiburg
The Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg is the first university in this top 10 to improve in the “Times Higher Education” ranking. With 64.7 points she climbed from 86th to 83rd place. The university’s experts confirmed the greatest strengths in the areas of income (100 points), citations (87.3 points) and internationality (77.8 points). In teaching, however, it was only enough for 48.4 points.
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# 6 Humboldt University of Berlin
Teaching at the Humboldt University in Berlin began in 1810. The university on the boulevard Unter den Linden was able to increase its total number of points by a minimal 0.1. In view of the strong international competition, it fell from 74th place to 80th place. The analysts see the greatest weakness in revenue (37.6 points). The Humboldt University achieved more than 60 points in all other categories.
# 5 University of Tübingen
The University of Tübingen saw a steep rise in the ranking of the best German universities in 2021. It improved from 91st place (62.7 points) to 78th place (65.2 points). According to the Times Higher Education, the importance of research is the university’s greatest strength (81.9 points). It is said to be associated with eleven Nobel Prize winners, most of them from the fields of medicine and chemistry.
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# 4 Charité – University Medicine Berlin
With over 3000 beds, the Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. It goes back to a pest house created in 1710. Today, her chief virologist Christian Drosten is one of the most important voices in science in the corona pandemic. The Charité rose five places in the ranking with 65.4 points to 75th place. It is the first university in the German top 10 to achieve over 90 points in two categories (citations, income). But she stayed below 50 points in teaching and research.
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# 3 Heidelberg University
The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg was founded in 1386 and is the oldest university in Germany. In the “Times Higher Education” ranking, it improved by two places to 42nd place. That means third place in a national comparison. The experts gave more than 55 points in all categories, with the highest value given for the number of citations (96.6 points).
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# 2 Technical University of Munich
The Technical University of Munich was able to hold second place among the best universities in Germany. It is catching up with the front runner. 74.8 points were enough for 41st place worldwide in 2021, two places better than the previous year. The results in the various categories were between 63.8 points (teaching) and 100.0 points (income).
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# 1 LMU Munich
The Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich defended its title as the best university in Germany in the “Times Higher Education” ranking. As in the previous year, it was ranked 32nd worldwide (78.2 points). The analysts gave at least 68 points in all categories. The LMU, founded in 1472, achieved the perfect number of points in terms of revenue.