Dutch universities are not doing as well in the worldwide QS ranking this year. Only two managed to reach the top hundred, compared to five last year.

The University of Amsterdam still scores best in the annual QS ranking, although it did drop two places to number 57. Delft follows at number 62, two places higher than last year. Erasmus University dropped out of the top 100 last year. This year, the university fell further from 126 to 144 on the list.

Besides Delft, two other universities climbed the list: the University of Twente (from number 188 to 177) and Wageningen University (from 135 to 119). All the other ten universities dropped down in the rankings. Tilburg University is in last place at number 330.


As in previous years, the ranking is based for forty percent on the reputation of institutions among thousands of academics. The university’s reputation among employers is also taken into account, as are the number of students per tutor, the citation scores of researchers and the number of international students and staff.

It isn’t clear why the Netherlands is suddenly doing worse than in other years. The makers of the ranking were not available this morning.


In the academic world, there is often criticism about the rankings, particularly because they depend so heavily on reputation scores: what do these actually say?

Some other criteria also seem somewhat meaningless. For example, QS looks at how many students there are at a university per tutor, but that is difficult to establish: do PhD students count as tutors or not, and what about guest lecturers? Eindhoven and Wageningen score extremely high on this criterion and Delft rather low: will it truly differ that much?

Once QS worked together with the British magazine Times Higher Education, but in 2010 they parted ways. QS always publishes its ranking slightly earlier than Times Higher Education.

As in previous years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked first. Stanford University has overtaken Harvard and is now in second place.