The world’s most international universities 2016

Times Higher Education World University Rankings data reveal the top 200 most outward-looking institutions

January 14, 2016
Globalisation
Source: iStock

The best universities in the world are truly global institutions – ones that attract students and scholars from all over the world and collaborate with leading departments no matter where they are based.

All of the universities that feature in our World University Rankings place internationalisation high on their agenda. But which ones are the most international?

Qatar University tops the list, which is based on the results of the “international outlook” indicator in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016, while the UK is the nation that does the best on this measure overall.

The international outlook indicator considers each institution’s proportion of international staff, proportion of international students and proportion of research papers published with at least one co-author from another country. All the institutions that feature in the top 800 of the overall 2015-2016 ranking have been considered.

Below is a list of the 200 most international universities in the world. Visit the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016 to see the results for all 800 institutions and view the full methodology.

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com


Top 200 most international universities in the world 2016

Rank Institution  Country International outlook WUR 2015-2016 rank 
1 Qatar University Qatar 99.9 601–800
2 University of Luxembourg Luxembourg 99.8 =193
3 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 99.5 =44
4 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 98.6 31
5 University of Geneva Switzerland 98.5 =131
6 University of Macau Macao 98.4 401–500
7 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland 97.9 9
8 University of St Gallen Switzerland 97.6 351–400
9 National University of Singapore Singapore 96.2 26
10 Imperial College London UK 96.0 8
11 University of Innsbruck Austria 95.7 301–350
12 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand 95.6 601–800
12 American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates 95.6 601–800
14 Maastricht University Netherlands 95.5 =88
15 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 95.0 501–600
16 University of Basel Switzerland 94.7 =101
17 Nanyang Technological University Singapore 94.6 55
18 University of Oxford UK 94.4 2
18 University College London UK 94.4 14
20 King’s College London UK 93.8 27
21 University of Essex UK 93.7 301–350
22 London School of Economics and Political Science UK 93.6 23
23 Queen Mary University of London UK 93.5 98
24 Queen’s University Belfast UK 93.4 200
25 Australian National University Australia 93.3 52
26 Curtin University Australia 93.1 401–500
27 American University of Beirut Lebanon 93.0 501–600
27 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia 93.0 251–300
29 École Polytechnique France 92.8 =101
30 Royal Holloway, University of London UK 92.7 129
31 University of Western Australia Australia 92.6 109
31 University of Vienna Austria 92.6 142
33 Aston University UK 92.5 401–500
34 University of St Andrews UK 92.3 86
35 Brunel University London UK 91.8 401–500
36 University of Cambridge UK 91.5 4
37 University of Neuchâtel Switzerland 91.4 401–500
37 University of Aberdeen UK 91.4 =172
39 University of Canterbury New Zealand 91.0 401–500
40 University of British Columbia Canada 90.5 34
40 Trinity College Dublin Ireland 90.5 160
40 University of Auckland New Zealand 90.5 =172
43 University of Zurich Switzerland 90.4 =104
43 University of Surrey UK 90.4 251–300
45 University of Warwick UK 90.3 80
46 University of Technology, Sydney Australia 90.1 201–250
46 Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Ireland 90.1 251–300
46 Heriot-Watt University UK 90.1 401–500
49 Macquarie University Australia 90.0 301–350
50 University of Otago New Zealand 89.9 201–250
50 Birkbeck, University of London UK 89.9 201–250
52 University of Edinburgh UK 89.8 24
53 City University London UK 89.6 401–500
54 University of New South Wales Australia 89.5 =82
55 University of Queensland Australia 89.3 =60
56 University of Lausanne Switzerland 89.2 =144
57 University of South Australia Australia 89.0 351–400
58 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand 88.8 351–400
59 Copenhagen Business School Denmark 88.5 201–250
60 University of Southampton UK 88.4 =110
61 Murdoch University Australia 88.3 401–500
61 University of Sussex UK 88.3 140
63 Monash University Australia 87.6 73
64 University of Fribourg Switzerland 87.4 201–250
65 University of Exeter UK 87.3 93
66 University of Kent UK 87.2 301–350
67 University of Melbourne Australia 87.1 33
68 University of Waikato New Zealand 87.0 401–500
68 University of Manchester UK 87.0 =56
68 Lancaster University UK 87.0 130
71 University of Wollongong Australia 86.8 251–300
72 University of Leicester UK 86.6 =167
73 Durham University UK 86.4 70
74 University College Dublin Ireland 86.3 =176
75 University of Glasgow UK 85.8 =76
76 McGill University Canada 85.5 38
76 École Normale Supérieure France 85.5 54
78 University of Liverpool UK 85.4 157
79 University of Adelaide Australia 85.1 =149
79 Technical University of Denmark Denmark 85.1 =167
79 University of Reading UK 85.1 =164
82 Swinburne University of Technology Australia 84.8 351–400
82 University of Bath UK 84.8 251–300
84 Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium 84.5 351–400
84 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 84.5 501–600
86 University of Sydney Australia 84.4 =56
86 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden 84.4 155
88 Newcastle University UK 84.3 =196
89 University of Montreal Canada 84.2 =113
90 Delft University of Technology Netherlands 84.0 =65
90 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US 84.0 5
92 University of Bern Switzerland 83.7 =120
93 University of York UK 83.5 =131
93 University of East Anglia UK 83.5 =149
95 University of Copenhagen Denmark 83.3 =82
96 University of Bristol UK 82.4 69
97 RMIT University Australia 82.1 401–500
98 University of Birmingham UK 82.0 119
99 University of Sheffield UK 81.9 97
99 University of Westminster UK 81.9 601–800
101 University of Greenwich UK 81.8 601–800
102 Griffith University Australia 81.7 251–300
102 Medical University of Vienna Austria 81.7 201–250
102 Semmelweis University Hungary 81.7 501–600
102 Royal Veterinary College UK 81.7 201–250
106 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 81.6 201–250
107 Bangor University UK 81.3 301–350
108 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 81.1 =138
109 Middlesex University UK 81.0 601–800
110 University of Alberta Canada 80.7 137
111 University of Nottingham UK 80.6 143
112 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 80.5 59
112 Massey University New Zealand 80.5 501–600
114 University of Cape Town South Africa 80.2 =120
115 University of Twente Netherlands 80.1 =149
116 University of Nice Sophia Antipolis France 79.5 401–500
117 University of Portsmouth UK 79.3 401–500
118 University of Tasmania Australia 79.1 251–300
118 University of Bradford UK 79.1 601–800
120 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong 79.0 201–250
120 Ulster University UK 79.0 401–500
122 University of Hertfordshire UK 78.9 501–600
123 University of Dundee UK 78.5 =185
123 Princeton University US 78.5 7
125 Dalhousie University Canada 78.3 201–250
126 Cardiff University UK 78.1 =182
127 La Trobe University Australia 78.0 351–400
128 University of Toronto Canada 77.8 19
129 University of Stirling UK 77.7 351–400
130 Chalmers University of Technology Sweden 77.6 201–250
131 Concordia University Canada 77.4 401–500
131 University of Leeds UK 77.4 =133
133 Vienna University of Technology Austria 77.3 251–300
134 Harvard University US 77.2 6
135 Deakin University Australia 76.9 301–350
136 Aarhus University Denmark 76.8 =149
136 Kingston University UK 76.8 601–800
138 Dublin City University Ireland 76.7 401–500
139 National University of Ireland, Galway Ireland 76.5 251–300
139 University of Limerick Ireland 76.5 501–600
141 Stanford University US 76.3 3
142 McMaster University Canada 76.1 =94
142 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands 76.1 71
144 Queensland University of Technology Australia 76.0 251–300
145 University of Newcastle Australia 75.9 251–300
146 National University of Ireland, Maynooth Ireland 75.6 351–400
147 University College Cork Ireland 75.5 351–400
147 King Saud University Saudi Arabia 75.5 501–600
149 Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong 75.0 351–400
150 University of Cyprus Cyprus 74.7 351–400
151 University of Waterloo Canada 74.4 179
152 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium 74.2 =167
153 Pierre and Marie Curie University France 74.1 =113
153 Lund University Sweden 74.1 =90
155 University of Western Ontario Canada 73.6 201–250
156 Columbia University US 73.5 15
157 University of Hull UK 73.2 401–500
158 Karolinska Institute Sweden 73.1 28
159 Loughborough University UK 72.9 351–400
160 Keele University UK 72.7 401–500
161 Swansea University UK 72.4 351–400
162 Aberystwyth University UK 72.2 301–350
163 University of Southern Denmark Denmark 71.8 301–350
164 University of Strasbourg France 71.6 301–350
164 Tilburg University Netherlands 71.6 201–250
166 Sultan Qaboos University Oman 71.5 601–800
166 Georgia Institute of Technology US 71.5 41
168 Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands 71.3 =176
169 Aalborg University Denmark 71.0 201–250
169 University of Strathclyde UK 71.0 401–500
171 Bournemouth University UK 70.6 401–500
172 Dublin Institute of Technology Ireland 70.5 601–800
173 James Cook University Australia 70.4 251–300
174 Wageningen University and Research Center Netherlands 70.3 =47
175 University of Victoria Canada 70.2 201–250
176 University of Calgary Canada 70.1 201–250
177 University of Bergen Norway 70.0 =182
177 Johns Hopkins University US 70.0 11
179 University of Ottawa Canada 69.9 201–250
180 University of Liège Belgium 69.7 251–300
181 Coventry University UK 69.6 601–800
182 St George’s, University of London UK 69.5 =196
183 Graz University of Technology Austria 69.3 351–400
183 Paris Dauphine University France 69.3 501–600
185 Free University of Berlin Germany 69.2 72
186 University of Graz Austria 68.9 401–500
186 Oxford Brookes University UK 68.9 401–500
188 Edith Cowan University Australia 68.7 501–600
189 KU Leuven Belgium 68.6 35
190 University of the Witwatersrand South Africa 68.4 201–250
191 University of Oslo Norway 68.2 135
192 Toulouse 1 Capitole University France 66.7 301–350
193 Blaise Pascal University France 66.6 501–600
193 Rice University US 66.6 =101
195 University of Amsterdam Netherlands 66.5 58
196 University of Salford UK 66.4 601–800
196 Purdue University US 66.4 =113
198 University of Turku Finland 66.2 301–350
199 UiT The Arctic University of Norway Norway 66.1 351–400
200 École Normale Supérieure de Lyon France 65.6 201–250

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Reader's comments (17)

Who on earth would rank University of Leeds ahead of Stanford University?
This ranking is kind of stupid because it favors universities from small countries. "Countries" such as Quatar, Luxemburg, or Hong Kong have almost automatically a lot of foreigners studying there. Also, the ranking does not seem to take international diversity into account. Vienna for example may have a large share of foreigners but most of them will be German which doesnt really make it an international place. So adjust for country size and add a measure of diversity!
HKU is No 3, but the next Hong Kong university is at No 106 - so I wouldn't say it has grossly helped Hong Kong, especially since it's one of the cities with the best universities in the world (HKU, HKUST, CUHK, City, Polytechnic, HKBU, HKIED), albeit usually rank higher on QS. The fact Singapore, a smaller city both by size and population, does not perform nearly as well is a proof of that. This is, of course, without pointing out the fact that Hong Kong has almost 8 million people, which is a population much bigger than that of Scotland's, Iceland's, The Bahamas's, Luxemburg's, Macedonia's, Slovenia's, Jamaica's, Uruguay's, Georgia's, Lebanon's, Oman's, Ireland's, New Zealand's, Slovakia's, Finland's, Denmark's, Libya's, Lao's, Jordan's, Serbia's, Qatar's etc. and is similar to Swizerland's, Belgaria's etc. There also aren't that many international students in Hong Kong. HKU has by far the most but I recall it tops out at below 30%. It ranks out mostly due to Chinese academics, not due to the students.
Qatar over Cambridge? Auckland over MIT? While I'm gratified Imperial is international in outlook, this list shouldn't be construed as a metric of quality. Also, "proportion of international staff, proportion of international students and proportion of research papers published with at least one co-author from another country" measure three very different attributes. The proportion of international students, in the US, commonly reflects inability to recruit PhD students within the US, where other training paths or careers might be more attractive.
Hilarious!!! Imho it's pure nonsense to present your in such a ranking, because these data have no sense in se. Really hilarious the Qatar University leading the ranking! Ahahah, in Qatar less than 15% of the population has Qatari nationality... what would you expect? To have only Qataris in the main University of the country? On top of that, Qatar Univeristy is the symbol of Qatarization of the country, not of interazionalization at all! I know now how to make my University very international according to THE: deprive most of the citizens of my country of their citizenship! Isn't it a smart idea? As already pointed out by lukas.mer, the *diversity* should be the indicator that you should survey. -.-
If you look at it closely, actually if you take the list only comparing universities within their own countries, it's in line with most other general rankings.
How can eight of the top 12 universities in the world be in the United States (according to the THE) but only eight of the top 200 be ranked for their international outlook. The methodology must be fundamentally flawed - as my research prof. once said, "if you put rubbish in, you will get rubbish out." I am so sorry that the once venerable Times of London has stooped this low to publish and make money. This kind of populist approach, lacking in any serious forethought, threatens to undermine your reputation as the world's leading survey of higher education. Please be careful!
The criteria here may correlate with internationalisation with all the inherent merits without necessarily correlating with bestness.
The British universities are not international. They come under European Union. They give first preference to European Union citizens. They are not even considering the citizens of the British Commonwealth. It is utter falsehood to claim that British universities are international.
Hi. Data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency yesterday shows that the total number of non-EU enrolments across all levels of study in UK universities rose by 1 per cent in 2014-15, from 310,195 to 312,010 people.
Thanks for all your comments - I'm the editor of the THE World University Rankings. Firstly, I think we need to be very clear, rbrindley_257565, that this is not a money making exercise, but an exercise in transparency. The annual THE World University Rankings, last published on 1 October 2015, employ 13 separate performance indicators covering the full range of a university's activities - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. They are widely acknowledged as the gold standard in global university evaluation, and a powerful indicator of all-round excellence. This table is simply a cut of the overall World University Rankings data, designed to encourage people to look beyond the composite scores, and drill down into the data. This table simply looks at the three indicators that make up "international outlook" - the proportion of international student, international faculty, and internationally co-authored papers - nothing more, nothing less. These simply help us to get a sense of how international a university is, against these simple, but powerful, indicators. They are not a proxy for excellence, but they nevertheless help us get a deeper and richer understanding of the global higher education landscape, and raise interesting questions about the role of geography and money, for example. It is my view that a university's international outlook is key to its potential - universities are all about talent, so an ability to draw in talent from all over the world is vital.
So, one of the measures for this 'data collection' fad is the number of internationally co-authored papers. Never mind what is in them, whether this is based on quality or not. Clearly, smaller countries that have not so many academics of their own, will recruit from outside. Scotland is a good example for that. I enjoy the international profile of my faculty, but what does it measure? Nothing much at all. It is presented as a great achievement by a university to be high up on such a league table, but if we are honest as academics, we know how meaningless it is! Just as most KPIs that are now used against academic freedom and true excellence, and against the idea of a what university really means. Just go and read some Humboldt!
@k.friedrich: Why can you not just take the data and appreciate it at face value ? I think it is an instructive and valuable exercise to look at these metrics, and whether you like it or not, governments use these metrics aswell for important decision making.
What about Jacobs University Bremen? (students from more than 110 different nationalities and a ratio of at least 75% international students at undergraduate level)
Hi sergidrago_279558. Jacobs University Bremen was not anaylsed as it is not in the top 800 of our World University Rankings
I have a question: why is it that German universities perform so poorly in this index ? Only one on the list, although they sell themselves as being very international. Any comment on this ? it is striking when one looks at the list...
Have you heard about Minerva Schools at KGI? 78% international students from 35+ countries living in 7 different cities in the four years of the degree as part of their studies. Hard to get more global than that.

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