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France climbs international rankings

French higher education institutions are making their way up international rankings analysis from Campus France has shown. 

French higher education institutions are making their way up international rankings. Photo: Pexels

"In 2020, France was ranked 3rd in the world in the Top 20 of the best institutions (after the US and UK) in the Shanghai ranking"

The organisation, which promotes higher education, international student services and international mobility in France, noted that French institutions were doing increasingly well in both the Shanghai and Times Higher Education rankings. 

“France is now ranked in very respectable positions in most rankings”

“Even though the ranking methodologies used by leading international rankings generally favour English-speaking countries, a quick overview shows that this trend is ending,” Campus France said.  

“University pooling and closer ties between research and higher education entities may have accelerated the trend, because France is now ranked in very respectable positions in most rankings.”

Campus France said that on closer look at the Shanghai and Times Higher Education rankings over the last two years, the presence and progress of French institutions is “definitely gaining momentum”. 

In 2020, France was ranked third in the world in the Top 20 of the best institutions (after the US and UK) in the Shanghai ranking. 

In the THE rankings five French institutions were ranked in the Top 200 in 2020:  Paris Sciences et Lettres (45th rank), Sorbonne University, Ecole Polytechnique, University of Paris and Télécom Paris. There had been no no French institution in the Top 50 since 2011.

In 2021, five French institutions entered the Top 200 again. The first three are the same: University of Paris Sciences et Lettres, Sorbonne University and École Polytechnique, closely followed by the University of Paris and the University of Paris-Saclay.

“Whether in rankings by themes or discipline, the French presence and/or its progress are even more notable. Other less known rankings (but just as interesting), also show France occupying top positions,” Campus France added. 

Campus France also noted an increased presence in all themed rankings – these rankings take into account one specific discipline or follow a specific treatment. 

The THE ranking focused on “junior” higher education institutions, which are those under 50 years of existence, France has 26 ranked institutions, including 12 in the Top 100. 

The same goes for QS, which already published its own ranking of institutions under 50 years old. In this ranking, six French institutions are present in the Top 50.

In the Shanghai 2020 thematic ranking and its Top 50 of the best universities worldwide, there were 18 French institutions and 34 French institutions in the Top 100. 

In total, 86 French institutions were distinguished in this thematic ranking, including 37 institutions in the top 100 worldwide for at least one subject.

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