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Swiss top THE most int’l universities list

ETH Zurich and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne top the 2017 Times Higher Education list of most international universities.
February 1 2017
2 Min Read

ETH Zurich tops the 2017 Times Higher Education list of international universities, a table based on THE’s ‘international outlook’ component in its World University Rankings and its academic reputation survey.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne comes second in the rankings followed by the University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore and Imperial College London.

The list gives equal weighting to a university’s proportion of international students, international staff, and journal publications with at least one international co-author.

However, this year, only institutions in the top 500 of the World University Rankings were included and a university’s international reputation, based on THE’s annual Academic Reputation Survey, was added to the rankings, making up 25% of the total score.

“It is simply not possible to achieve high levels of excellence without being open to the world”

The UK dominates half of the list’s top 20 institutions with the University of Oxford (6th), University of Cambridge (8th), University College London (9th) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (10th) sitting in the top 10 alongside the Australian National University at 7th.

In the overall rankings of 200 universities, the US has the strongest presence with 64 institutions however only one makes it to the top 30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 22nd place.

Germany has the second strongest representation with 15 universities, led by the Free University of Berlin, ranked 44th, and the UK third, with 13 institutions in total.

Last year’s list was topped by Qatar University. However, the change in methodology for this year’s rankings means the institution, placing between 501-600 in the World University Rankings, is not present this year.

“The huge global interest in our data, and the importance placed globally on internationalising higher education, we have developed a new, bespoke methodology to more formally rank the world’s most international universities,” commented Phil Baty, THE World Rankings editor.

“We only include universities that appear in the top 500 of the most recent World University Rankings, to ensure all universities pass a basic quality threshold overall. We also draw on the results of our annual global Academic Reputation Survey of 10,000 senior scholars, to ensure that the ranked universities have a substantial global reputation — specifically a reputation outside their home country.”

Immigration has become the centre of political debates in the world’s two leading study destinations, the US and the UK, since last year’s list. Commenting on the success of both to attract international students, Baty said part of it is the result of their ability to draw in the brightest and the best.

“Restrictions to the mobility of academic talent in these countries will inevitably harm their position, while other countries welcome talented immigrants with open arms, and their universities strengthen.”

And Lino Guzzella, president of ETH Zurich, remarked: “I know of no top university that does not have a substantial percentage of its faculty, students and workforce that are international.

“It is simply not possible to achieve high levels of excellence without being open to the world.”

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