ETH Zurich again in seventh place

(Photograph: ETH Zürich / Gian Marco Castelberg)
(Photograph: ETH Zürich / Gian Marco Castelberg)
ETH Zurich maintains its excellent ranking from the previous year in the QS rankings just published. Alongside top scores for its academic reputation and international outlook, the university’s efforts in the area of sustainability have also helped it to retain seventh place. The faculty-student ratio remains the indicator in which the university scores lowest.

For the tenth time in succession, ETH Zurich is ranked among the world’s top ten universities by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Although such rankings should generally be regarded with caution, ETH President Joël Mesot wishes to take the opportunity offered by the seventh place in the latest rankings to express his thanks to the university’s members: "We can all be proud of this result as it is a further strong indication that we are doing a good job. I not only wish to thank all scientists but also the entire technical and administrative staff."

As in previous years, the Zurich university is outperformed solely by universities from the USA and UK. The rankings of more than 1,500 universities across the world are once again topped by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this year followed by the Imperial College London and the University of Oxford. The universities of Harvard, Cambridge and Stanford occupy the next places.

The other Swiss university in the global top 100 is EPFL, which is ranked 26th, up ten places on the previous year. The Universities of Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Bern and Lausanne and the Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) are classed among the top 500 universities, further highlighting Switzerland as a leading centre of education.

Good score for sustainability, challenges in terms of the faculty-student ratio

While ETH Zurich has so far excelled in terms of indicators such as international outlook and academic reputation, it has made significant progress in the area of sustainability in the latest rankings. The factors contributing to this include improved preparation of the sustainability data supplied by ETH to QS. Some indicators, however, have shown a decline compared to the previous year.

The area in which ETH Zurich faces the greatest challenge is the faculty-student ratio. Here it is only in midfield, including in a nationwide comparison. Although the faculty-student ratio has not deteriorated significantly in the latest rankings compared with the previous year, Joël Mesot points out: "Given the ongoing growth in student numbers and stagnating or even declining finances, we are facing a major challenge here". It would no longer be possible to simply offset a worsening of the faculty-student ratio with improvements in other areas. A decline in rankings in the medium term would lead to reduced competitiveness.
Roland Baumann