University Rankings: Munich Home to Germany’s Best Universities

In four international rankings, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) topped the list in Germany. Within Europe as well, the two first-rate Munich universities took top spots.

In the current issue of “THE World University Rankings,” LMU came in #32 among the best universities in the world, making LMU Germany’s top university. TUM came in #41, taking second place among the German institutions. Heidelberg University followed at #42.

That also makes LMU the best university in the European Union. Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet is the runner-up among institutions of higher education in the EU ahead of TUM and Heidelberg University. In continental Europe, only ETH Zurich (ranked #14) performed better. The top thirteen spots were divided exclusively among American and British universities. First place was taken by the University of Oxford ahead of Stanford and Harvard.

Two additional university rankings put Munich institutions in the lead

Two other university rankings yielded similar results, in Germany at least: The Academic Ranking of World Universities, known as the Shanghai Ranking, also put LMU ahead of TUM and Heidelberg University. On an international level, however, Munich’s universities only took spots #51 and #54 and had to admit defeat to several competitors within the EU: Université Paris-Saclay (ranked #14), University of Copenhagen (#33), the two Paris-based institutions Université PSL (#36) and Sorbonne (#39) as well as Karolinska Institutet (#45). The top three spots went to Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge.

The ranking by UK-based higher education analytics company QS Quacquarelli Symonds views the two Munich universities as the best in Germany, yet this time TUM took first place in Germany and came in #50 globally ahead of LMU in #63. This list also ranked Heidelberg University as the third best educational institution in Germany and as #64 internationally. TUM came in as the best university in the European Union in this ranking. The EU institutions of higher education that came in between TUM and LMU were Université PSL (#52) and Delft University of Technology (#57) and there was a tie between École polytechnique (#61) and University of Amsterdam (#61).

LMU and TUM also at the top among university-based research institutions

The Nature Index 2020 measures the number of articles published by research institutions and universities in leading scientific journals. Here too, LMU and TUM took the top two spots in Germany. Among all research institutions in the world, LMU came in #61 and TUM #75. Heidelberg University once again took its spot on the German winners’ podium as #92. Even better rankings were achieved by three German non-university research organizations: The Max Planck Society took third place among the best research institutions in the world behind the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Harvard University. The Helmholtz Association made it to seventh place, while The Leibniz Association took spot #56.