4 German universities among top 100 in the world in new ShanghaiRanking

4 German universities among top 100 in the world in new ShanghaiRanking

Four of Germany’s higher education institutions have been ranked among the 100 best in the world according to the newest annual assessment by Chinese company ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. 

ShanghaiRanking of World Universities 2023

Unlike the QS and Times University rankings, which focus on student life and the experience of studying, the annual ShanghaiRanking judges universities based their on contributions to the academic world, i.e. the number of papers published or cited in journals and the number of accolades alumni have received.

To create the 2023 study, the firm ShanghaiRanking Consultancy analysed 2.500 universities from around the world. Each institution was ranked by six key indicators which the firm uses to determine the quality of teaching provided. These include:

  • Number of Nobel Price and Field Medal-winning staff and alumni,
  • Number of highly cited researchers selected by Clarivate
  • Number of articles published in Nature and Science journals
  • Per capita academic performance of the university
  • Number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index on the Web of Science platform

Universities were then given scores out of 100 in each of these categories, with a weighted average of all six used to place each institution on the overall list.

UK and US institutions still dominate the ranking

As is the case with many university rankings, the top spots on the ShanghaiRanking for 2023 were dominated by institutions in the United Kingdom and the United States. As was the case in 2022, and indeed for the 22nd time since the ranking was created, Harvard University found itself in first place with a perfect score of 100. The rest of the top 10 was filled with the usual suspects:

  1. Harvard University (100)
  2. Stanford University (74,8)
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (69,1)
  4. University of Cambridge (67,9)
  5. University of California, Berkeley (63,4)
  6. Princeton University (60,1)
  7. University of Oxford (59,5)
  8. Columbia University (55,3)
  9. California Institute of Technology (54,5)
  10. University of Chicago (53,8)

The ranking claimed Harvard was home to the best academic departments in 15 different subjects, ranging from biomedical engineering to political science. The company placed Paris-Saclay University in 15th, the highest place in the ranking which was awarded to a university outside of the UK and US.

Four German universities rank in the top 100

Unsurprisingly, Germany’s most ancient and esteemed university, Heidelberg, was the best-ranked among those included in the study from the federal republic. Coming in 54th place, Heidelberg was followed closely by the Technical University of Munich and the University of Munich, which came in joint 57th. The last of the four to make it into the top 100 was Bonn, which along with the previous three is considered one of Germany’s 11 “Universities of Excellence”.

Heidelberg received particular commendations for its Medical Technology and Clinical Medicine departments, which were respectively awarded 14th and 17th place in the firm’s separate but related Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, which helps determine the wider ShanghaiRanking. All of the Heidelberg departments which were included in this ranking were connected to STEM subjects.

Best universities in Germany according to the ShanghaiRanking

Overall, these are the 10 German universities that faired best in the ShanghaiRanking: 

  • 54. Heidelberg University 
  • =57. Technical University of Munich
  • =57. University of Munich
  • 66. University of Bonn
  • 101-150. University of Freiburg
  • 151-200. Goethe University in Frankfurt
  • 151-200. University of Cologne
  • 151-200. University of Göttingen
  • 151-200. University of Tübingen
  • 201-300. RWTH Aachen University

For more information about how the ranking was calculated, check out the ShanghaiConsultancy website.

Thumb image credit: nitpicker /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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