September 17, 2010

London Times Ranks the Universities: Aarhus tops Copenhagen

After the American Century

The Danish media have not yet taken much notice, but according to the prestigious London Times ranking of world universities, Aarhus University is better than Copenhagen University. This is not surprising to those of us who know both institutions, but few in Copenhagen will want to admit this is true.

However, there is worse news for Copenhagen. For in 2010 it has fallen considerably in the world rankings, and is now at 177. (Aarhus University is ranked at 167, Denmark's Technical University is ranked highest at 122, but the other Danish universities did not make it into the top 200.)

Copenhagen has fallen 126 places in a single year, after the Times methodology changed. In 2009 Copenhagen was ranked number 51 in the world, but many criticized the way the rankings were compiled. Teaching now has a higher priority and there are many other changes as well. But the more nuanced study has certainly knocked Copenhagen down the list.
Looking only at European Institutions, Aarhus is now ranked 62nd, Copenhagen 70th. Both are a long way from where the Danish government says it wants the universities to be. The best ranked Swedish University is Lund, at 22nd, with Stockholm 41rst. The best in Norway is Bergen, 43rd, while Oslo did not make it on to the list at all. In short, in all three Scandinavian countries the highest ranked university is not in the capital city.

As usual, no matter what factors are counted and regardless of who makes the list, the same universities are at the top of the world rankings. The first five are all American - Harvard, California Institute of Technology, MIT, Stanford, and Princeton. Then come Cambridge and Oxford, tied for sixth place. The whole list can be viewed here.

For the 2011 results, see this blog for October, 2011.