Utrecht University in rankings

Since 2003, international rankings compare universities from all over the world. Together, all rankings provide an indication of a university's achievements. What do they say about Utrecht University?


What does Utrecht University score with in the international rankings?

Most worldwide rankings primarily look at research. The number and the importance of scientific publications are crucial factors, as are 'Highly cited researchers': researchers who belong to the 1 % most-cited scientists.


The ranking bureaus also look at specific fields of expertise. Below, you can find some of the rankings in which Utrecht University receives good scores.

Utrecht University connects these and other fields of expertise in interdisciplinary research themes. Within these strategic themes, researchers from various fields collaborate with each other, with social partners and with corporations. In doing so, they are looking for sustainable solutions to the challenges of this generation and future generations.


Besides the worldwide rankings that look at research, the Netherlands also have a number of education rankings. These look at specific degree programmes and at student satisfaction, among other things. In that regard, Utrecht University is a powerful player in the field of innovation and interdisciplinarity. In these rankings, Utrecht University is usually in the top 3.



Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai ranking)

This was the first big ranking. It started in 2003. The order is determined by a number of indicators for good research. For example, consider the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals won by staff members and alumni, the number of citations and the number of articles published in ‘Nature' and ‘Science'.

World Universities Ranking of Times Higher Education

Education, impact of citations and research play important roles in this ranking. On top of that, Times Higher Education also looks at international perspectives and research income from corporations.

CWTS Leiden ranking

This ranking is based on research achievements. Among other things, CWTS includes the share in the 10 % most cited publications.

National Taiwan University ranking (NTU)

The NTU fully focuses on scientific output: the number of scientific publications, the number of citations and the number of 'highly cited papers' and publications in 'high impact journals'.

QS Ranking World Universities Ranking

The compilers of the QS Ranking look at scores for research quality (citations and peer review), the staff-to-students ratio, the number of international scientific staff members and students, and the reputations of universities among employers.

Scimago Institutions Ranking

This ranking is completely based on research results. The indicators are: the number of articles in Scopus, the normalised citation score, the share of publications in top-level magazines, international collaboration, the degree of thematic focus of the output and the share of publications with someone from the university as primary author.

Webometrics Ranking

Since the beginning of this ranking in 2004, Utrecht University has the highest score of all Dutch universities on the ranking of Webometrics, which is focused on the visibility of universities on the Internet, or openness.

U.S. News: Best Global Universities ranking

This list is compiled based on research reputation, primarily of publications and the impact they have.

Nature Index Global

As of 2014, the Nature Publishing Group publishes a top-200 ranking of institutions that publish in 68 selected top-level magazines in the field of Natural Sciences. This index takes the number of publications in these magazines in the past 12 months into account.

CWUR - Center for World University Rankings

The Center for World University Rankings is located in the United Arab Emirates and publishes a ranking that measures both education (indirectly) and research. They use public data: recognition and awards of scientific staff members and alumni; the number of alumni who are CEOs at international high-ranking corporations; the number of publications and patents; and citations of both.

Nationale Studenten Enquête

Studiekeuze123 holds a survey among several hundreds of thousands of students at applied-science universities and universities. Among other things, they test the content of the education programmes, the quality of the lecturers, the education facilities and how challenging education is.

Elsevier Beste Studies

The Nationale studentenenquête asks students to 'Indicate how satisfied you are with your education in general.' This forms the basis of Elsevier's ranking. This opinion magazine takes the average of the answers provided by full-time students. Of the number of degree programmes rated in this way, Elsevier observes how many of them were rated more positive than the average.


The Keuzegids (Choice Guide) converts results of the Nationale Studenten Enquête into a mark and takes the average from among several degree programmes. The factors they measure are education, communication, art and culture, law and governance, economics, social, health, Earth and environment, exact sciences and ICT, engineering and interdisciplinarity.


Within the Netherlands, university education scores very high compared to other countries. The universities are all within the best 2 % of the world, the VSNU reports. This is why people occasionally call it a 'plateau'. The universities do not often avoid each other's company on the rankings and primarily differ in regards to terms of directions of and approaches to education and research. Besides that, the Netherlands are one of the few countries in which nearly all universities appear in the international rankings. The VSNU keeps a record of this.