The World’s Most International Universities 2017

The institutions with the strongest global connections have a ‘cultural disposition’ to think beyond borders. Ellie Bothwell reports

February 1, 2017
Student connections
Source: All images: Alamy/iStock/Getty

"I remember, when I was a youngster, we used to have to translate Erasmus. He was already travelling as a scholar 500 years ago.”

Sir Eric Thomas, the retired vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, is reminiscing about his Latin A-level classes, in which the journals of the 15th-century Dutch Renaissance scholar featured prominently.

“Even all that time ago, the concept of there being an international community at a university was very strong.”

That has only become truer in the intervening centuries, of course. Today’s universities are typically focused on attracting the best students and scholars from around the world, launching partnerships with overseas institutions and businesses, incentivising cross-border research collaborations and educating their students to become “global citizens”.

These outward-looking characteristics are a core attribute of the institutions that feature in a new Times Higher Education ranking of the world’s most international universities. The ranking is drawn largely from the “international outlook” pillar of the THE World University Rankings 2016-17, which covers international staff, students and co-authors. However, it also includes a measure of universities’ international reputations, taken from THE’s annual Academic Reputation Survey (see box on methodology for more details).

A striking feature of the upper reaches of the 150-institution table is the prominence of universities from relatively small, export-reliant countries, where English is an official language or is widely spoken. The ranking is led by two Swiss universities: ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich; and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Of all the countries in the ranking, the Swiss representatives also have the greatest average proportion of international staff and internationally co-authored publications: both 62 per cent.


ETH Zurich president, Lino Guzella, on the importance of being international


Next in the ranking are the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore. THE data scientist Billy Wong says that this may reflect the fact that nations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland are all “big, global trading hubs”, conditioned to look beyond their borders for personnel and ideas (the Chinese University of Hong Kong also ranks highly, at number 27).

Below the top four is a glut of institutions from the UK, Australia and Canada: prominent destinations for international students and scholars because of their prestigious universities and their use of English, the global lingua franca. Indeed, apart from the Swiss institutions – which increasingly use English as their language of instruction, especially at postgraduate level – France’s École Polytechnique is the only non-anglophone university to figure in the top 20. The UK has 13 institutions in the 150, led by Imperial College London at number five. The University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, University College London and the London School of Economics also make the top 10.

The US is less prominent in this ranking than it usually is in international league tables, possibly reflecting the fact that its size makes it less reliant on immigration to supply it with top student and academic talent. There is only one US institution in the top 30: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at number 22. Harvard University (sixth in the overall World University Rankings 2016‑17) is 33rd, Stanford (third) is 36th and the California Institute of Technology (second) is 52nd. However, US institutions are still the most numerous in the international ranking, accounting for 64 places – partly reflecting the fact that the ranking is confined to the top 500 institutions in the World University Rankings, and nearly a quarter of those are American.

ETH Zurich

Universities the world over have become more international in recent years. Between 2003 and 2012, almost all member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development increased their level of international scientific collaboration, as measured by the proportion of scientific papers published with international co-authors, according to the OECD report Trends Shaping Education 2016. The US had the largest rise – 33 per cent – although the rate of international co-authorship among the US universities in THE’s ranking is still a relatively low 34 per cent.

Two-thirds of the citations of English language science papers now come from countries different from those of the articles’ authors, according to a recent paper by Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at UCL, titled “The role of the state in university science: Russia and China compared”. Furthermore, the number of articles with co-authors from different countries rose by 168 per cent between 1995 and 2012 – much faster than the overall growth in the number of papers.

Meanwhile, a 2011 analysis by three Dutch researchers, “Globalisation of science in kilometres”, calculated that the average distance between co-authors grew from 334km in 1980 to 1,553km in 2009 (about the distance between London and Madrid).

Philip Wainwright, vice-provost for global strategy and initiatives and director of the Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, says that cross-border research was on the rise within his own institution even before internationalisation became a major part of its strategy.

Three years ago, the university, which is ranked 105th in THE’s international ranking, found that during the previous decade the number of its research publications with an international co-author had increased sixfold, and the citation rates for such publications were on average 2.5 times greater than for papers without an international co-author.

“What we discovered was that, in fact, Emory and its research had globalised,” he says.

However, he notes that unlike many other national governments, the US government has no “central coordination or strategy” around internationalisation. Canada, for example, which has five universities in the international ranking, led by the University of British Columbia at 12th, set out plans in 2014 to attract 450,000 international students by 2022, roughly double the numbers in 2011.

“In the US [policy] is much more of a patchwork quilt…I think it would be very helpful if there were more coherence at the centre given the complexity of working across borders. If we had greater support from the government, with a clear mandate, that would be very helpful,” says Wainwright.

However, such a policy initiative may be considered unlikely in the Donald Trump era. The new president’s numerous negative comments about immigrants have concerned many higher education leaders, given their potential impact on recruitment of overseas students and academics. In an opinion article written for THE in the wake of Trump’s victory, “Will Trump make US HE great again? Not likely”, Philip Altbach and Hans de Wit, directors of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, warned: “Without question, US leadership in global higher education, in terms of its excellence and its place as the leading host country for international students, is in jeopardy.”

There have been similar concerns in the UK after its decision to leave the European Union. Universities in the UK have the highest proportion of international students, on average, of all the countries in the table: 38 per cent. However, Bristol’s Thomas remains optimistic, and doubts that the recent rise of populism means that “globalisation is on the retreat”.

“It’s too hard-wired now. The economic and cultural drivers for a globalised, inter-connected world are so strong that I don’t see that we are going to retreat from that,” he says, adding that such interconnectedness will remain one of the “defining characteristics of a university’s ambition”.

Still, the importance of a political fair wind for a globalised academy should not be underestimated, according to Marnie Hughes-Warrington, deputy vice-chancellor (academic) of the Australian National University, which is seventh in the international ranking. She says that governmental support has been “critical” to her institution’s attaining its status as the seventh most international university in the world.

“Government policy decisions around visa processing, admissions and post-study work rights are important,” she says, adding that the local Canberra government also “makes our international students very welcome” – by providing them with free travel on city buses, for example. “Simple things like that can make a really big difference,” she says.

People walk under the Learning Center at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausann

It is clear that universities care about internationalisation. A 2015 European University Association survey of staff from 451 universities across 46 countries found that the issue was rated as highly important by 69 per cent of respondents, up by 8 percentage points since the previous EUA survey five years earlier.

An overwhelming proportion of respondents (92 per cent) said that internationalisation had enhanced teaching and learning at their institution, with the mobility of students (66 per cent) and staff (43 per cent) and international collaboration in learning and teaching (41 per cent) cited as the main reasons.

Meanwhile, a survey of 1,365 European university staff in the same year by the European Association for International Education found that improving the quality of education (56 per cent) and preparing students for a global world (45 per cent) were considered the most important reasons to internationalise. Strategic partnerships and student mobility were singled out as the highest internationalisation priorities for universities, while overseas branch campuses were rated the least important.

Interestingly, only 10 per cent of respondents highlighted the financial benefits of international students to their institution. But those from institutions perceived to be lagging behind on internationalisation were nearly twice as likely to mention financial benefits (15 per cent) compared with those from leading global universities (8 per cent).

There is no doubt that internationalisation can have economic benefits. Karl Dittrich is president of VSNU (Vereniging van Universiteiten), an association of 14 research universities in the Netherlands that has two representatives in THE’s international ranking (the University of Amsterdam, at 38, and Utrecht University, at 59). Recent figures, he says, show that about 35 per cent of international master’s and PhD students in the Netherlands remain in the country after graduating, adding €1.6 billion (£1.4 billion) to the Dutch economy each year in tax revenue.

“But the most important thing is we have a real international network of alumni; and if these alumni feel they have been trained and educated well, they are all ambassadors for what is going on in the Netherlands,” he says.

THE’s Wong adds that internationalisation activities can boost a university’s global reputation, which has a lot of knock-on impacts. “If they can have more international collaboration and become better known internationally, that can help them in areas such as student recruitment, academic recruitment, attracting international funding and so on,” he says.

Analysis of the data collected for the ranking also indicates a positive relationship between a university’s international outlook and its research influence. That is, the correlation between score in the international ranking and level of research citations is 0.4, where 1 is a perfect correlation.

But although there is wide agreement that internationalisation is important, there is no consensus about what it takes to be a truly global university. Thomas says that there is a tendency to say that an institution with “many international links” is a global university, but this would capture “every single university on the planet”.

When he was chair of the Worldwide Universities Network – an international network of 21 research-intensive institutions – between 2003 and 2007, he identified several more substantive characteristics. These are: a clear brand with international recognition; comprehensive excellence in teaching, research, staff, facilities, leadership and governance; innovative research with global partners that address global problems; global distribution of teaching and learning; a significant percentage of international staff and students; and close interactions with global businesses.

He admits that “very, very few” universities meet all these criteria: probably a figure in the “low hundreds” out of the “45,000 institutes of higher education around the world”. He adds that some of the indicators will have limited relevance in certain parts of the world; for example, US state universities are subject to caps on the number of international undergraduates that they can recruit.

So how should a university go about internationalising? Emory’s Wainwright says that his private institution’s approach to facilitating more international research has been to establish partnerships in disciplines where the university is already strong and where there is basis for growth.

“It’s very common for American universities to be approached by universities from overseas about international collaborations. In my experience, those approaches that are not already founded in deep relationships don’t go very far,” he says.

“What I would advise another university to do is to really look at the disciplines where you already have an international reputation or have the potential for an international reputation, and then to really work at encouraging additional research ties with institutions that it already makes sense for you to be working with.”

Meanwhile, Peter Mathieson, vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, says that his institution recently established a new “10-year vision” to become “Asia’s global university”. One goal is for 50 per cent of its undergraduates to be given two opportunities to study outside Hong Kong during their degree by 2019, and for all students to have this opportunity by 2022.

The university is also “quite keen on increasing the number of international agreements [it has] for dual degrees”, Mathieson says. Last year, for instance, the institution linked with UCL to create a new dual law degree, which involves students spending two years at each campus. Graduates will be eligible to apply to practise law in either the UK or Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s scheme of funding distinguished visiting scholars has also been a “powerful vehicle” for international research collaboration, Mathieson adds.

For Uwe Brandenburg, managing partner of higher education consultancy CHE Consult, it is essential for universities to know both what outcomes they wish to achieve by becoming more global and how to assess them.

By surveying students and tracking their progress, universities will be able to see which internationalisation strategies have the most impact and how these can be tailored to different kinds of students, he explains.

Brandenburg was formerly international director of the Humboldt University of Berlin, the third highest-ranked of Germany’s 15 representatives in the ranking, at 49th. He defines a university as truly international when all its activities are “thought of from a global perspective”: when there is “an international spirit among students, academic staff and particularly administrative staff”. But “99 per cent of universities do not know whether they have such a mindset because they don’t assess it. Just having international researchers doesn’t make you an international university, because it could well be that these people are never much in contact with anybody: they are on their own, and [the other] staff don’t care about them,” he says.

The ANU’s Hughes-Warrington adds that it is important that universities do not think solely of inbound international students when they look to become more international, noting that outward mobility is just as crucial. But, above all, she says, institutions that have the most internationalisation success are those that have a “cultural disposition” to think globally.

She also endorses the popular view that such institutions reap the benefits of their openness: “A diverse workforce makes for a smarter workforce: it makes for better outcomes in research and better outcomes for teaching.”

Indeed, for Lino Guzzella, president of ETH Zurich, “being international in itself is not the goal”. Rather, universities become international to be “excellent in science, excellent in teaching and excellent in knowledge transfer”.

This, he confirms, is particularly true in a small nation such as Switzerland because there are not “sufficient numbers of talented people within Switzerland” to recruit as scholars and students. At ETH Zurich, 65 per cent of the former and 37 per cent of the latter are from another country.

And although Guzzella does not enforce or even directly incentivise international research collaborations, noting that “we are very much a bottom-up” university, “more often than not” ETH academics will partner with researchers in other countries.

“Faculty members choose the partners that are best suited to their research. This naturally leads to a very high degree of international collaboration,” he explains.

“I know of no top university that does not have a substantial percentage of its faculty, students and workforce that are international. It is simply not possible to achieve high levels of excellence without being open to the world.” 


 The World's Most International Universities 2017

Rank

Rank in THE World University Rankings 2016-17

Institution

Country

 Score for international staff, students and co-authors (international pillar) 

 Score for international reputation 

 Overall score 

1

9

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Switzerland

 98.1 

 94.3 

 97.1 

2

=30

École  Polytechnique  Fédérale  de Lausanne

Switzerland

 98.6 

 91.0 

 96.7 

3

=43

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

 99.4 

 88.0 

 96.5 

4

24

National University of Singapore

Singapore

 96.0 

 95.9 

 96.0 

5

8

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

 96.5 

 91.5 

 95.2 

6

1

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

 94.5 

 93.8 

 94.3 

7

47

Australian National University

Australia

 93.9 

 90.4 

 93.0 

8

4

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

 92.4 

 94.1 

 92.8 

9

15

University College London

United Kingdom

 94.3 

 85.9 

 92.2 

10

=25

London School of Economics and Political Science

United Kingdom

 91.0 

 95.1 

 92.0 

11

=36

King’s College London

United Kingdom

 93.8 

 86.1 

 91.9 

12

=36

University of British Columbia

Canada

 92.0 

 85.0 

 90.2 

13

27

University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

 91.5 

 85.8 

 90.1 

14

=78

University of New South Wales

Australia

 91.0 

 84.1 

 89.3 

15

106

University of Zurich

Switzerland

 89.3 

 86.6 

 88.6 

16

=116

École Polytechnique

France

 92.3 

 76.9 

 88.5 

17

=82

University of Warwick

United Kingdom

 91.4 

 78.2 

 88.1 

18

=33

University of Melbourne

Australia

 88.3 

 85.8 

 87.7 

19

88

University of Glasgow

United Kingdom

 88.6 

 81.6 

 86.8 

20

55

University of Manchester

United Kingdom

 87.0 

 85.3 

 86.6 

21

74

Monash University

Australia

 87.1 

 82.2 

 85.9 

22

5

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

 85.6 

 83.0 

 84.9 

=23

42

McGill University

Canada

 86.4 

 79.9 

 84.8 

=23

=60

University of Sydney

Australia

 83.7 

 88.1 

 84.8 

25

=165

University of Auckland

New Zealand

 90.5 

 66.0 

 84.4 

26

=96

Durham University

United Kingdom

 87.0 

 75.7 

 84.2 

27

76

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

 84.0 

 81.7 

 83.4 

28

129

University of York

United Kingdom

 84.5 

 78.2 

 82.9 

=29

71

University of Bristol

United Kingdom

 83.2 

 81.0 

 82.7 

=29

120

University of Copenhagen

Denmark

 82.3 

 83.7 

 82.7 

31

107

University of Alberta

Canada

 82.7 

 78.5 

 81.6 

32

22

University of Toronto

Canada

 78.3 

 85.1 

 80.0 

33

6

Harvard University

United States

 77.9 

 82.1 

 79.0 

34

=173

University of Waterloo

Canada

 77.5 

 78.2 

 77.7 

35

=98

Aarhus University

Denmark

 75.7 

 81.8 

 77.2 

36

3

Stanford University

United States

 76.5 

 77.9 

 76.8 

37

7

Princeton University

United States

 77.2 

 75.1 

 76.7 

38

63

University of Amsterdam

Netherlands

 69.3 

 91.9 

 75.0 

39

16

Columbia University

United States

 75.3 

 73.5 

 74.9 

40

40

KU Leuven

Belgium

 67.4 

 90.1 

 73.1 

41

=33

Georgia Institute of Technology

United States

 72.8 

 69.3 

 71.9 

42

66

École Normale Supérieure

France

 72.2 

 68.2 

 71.2 

43

=121

Pierre and Marie Curie University

France

 71.4 

 69.6 

 70.9 

44

75

Free University of Berlin

Germany

 67.2 

 81.0 

 70.7 

45

17

Johns Hopkins University

United States

 71.1 

 68.6 

 70.5 

46

70

Purdue University

United States

 67.7 

 72.4 

 68.9 

47

301-350

University of Strasbourg

France

 69.6 

 64.1 

 68.2 

48

=113

University of Bonn

Germany

 64.6 

 78.3 

 68.0 

49

=57

Humboldt University of Berlin

Germany

 64.4 

 78.3 

 67.9 

=50

=10

University of Chicago

United States

 67.8 

 67.9 

 67.8 

=50

46

Technical University of Munich

Germany

 66.6 

 71.4 

 67.8 

52

2

California Institute of Technology

United States

 63.4 

 80.3 

 67.6 

53

87

Rice University

United States

 69.5 

 60.1 

 67.1 

=54

201-250

Paris Diderot University – Paris 7

France

 65.7 

 70.2 

 66.8 

=54

12

Yale University

United States

 64.3 

 74.2 

 66.8 

56

=43

Heidelberg University

Germany

 62.7 

 78.3 

 66.6 

57

=82

Technical University of Berlin

Germany

 60.8 

 82.3 

 66.2 

58

179

Paris-Sud University

France

 64.0 

 68.9 

 65.2 

59

86

Utrecht University

Netherlands

 57.6 

 87.7 

 65.1 

=60

48

University of California, Santa Barbara

United States

 63.3 

 68.9 

 64.7 

=60

19

Cornell University

United States

 62.2 

 72.2 

 64.7 

62

=51

University of California, Davis

United States

 61.2 

 74.7 

 64.6 

63

201-250

École Normale Supérieure de Lyon

France

 68.4 

 52.9 

 64.5 

64

=30

LMU Munich

Germany

 65.4 

 61.0 

 64.3 

65

=10

University of California, Berkeley

United States

 59.6 

 77.5 

 64.1 

66

=98

University of California, Irvine

United States

 62.3 

 63.7 

 62.6 

67

=144

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Germany

 59.5 

 71.5 

 62.5 

68

23

Carnegie Mellon University

United States

 59.6 

 70.7 

 62.4 

69

95

University of Freiburg

Germany

 61.1 

 65.6 

 62.2 

70

351-400

Paris-Sorbonne University – Paris 4

France

 54.2 

 84.0 

 61.7 

71

=60

University of Southern California

United States

 62.7 

 57.6 

 61.4 

72

201-250

Goethe University Frankfurt

Germany

 59.4 

 66.9 

 61.3 

73

14

University of California, Los Angeles

United States

 58.0 

 70.8 

 61.2 

74

=89

University of Tübingen

Germany

 57.8 

 69.9 

 60.8 

75

=186

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israel

 56.1 

 73.5 

 60.5 

76

64

Boston University

United States

 54.6 

 77.5 

 60.3 

77

101

Michigan State University

United States

 58.8 

 62.2 

 59.7 

78

201-250

Stony Brook University

United States

 55.6 

 70.9 

 59.4 

79

=151

University of Rochester

United States

 58.9 

 59.8 

 59.1 

80

18

Duke University

United States

 58.2 

 60.9 

 58.9 

81

112

University of Göttingen

Germany

 56.6 

 65.4 

 58.8 

82

=51

Brown University

United States

 58.0 

 59.9 

 58.5 

83

32

New York University

United States

 54.3 

 69.2 

 58.0 

84

=78

RWTH Aachen University

Germany

 53.4 

 69.9 

 57.5 

85

200

University of Illinois at Chicago

United States

 57.1 

 58.4 

 57.4 

86

20

Northwestern University

United States

 56.1 

 61.1 

 57.3 

87

201-250

Polytechnic University of Milan

Italy

 52.6 

 67.4 

 56.3 

88

=165

University of Massachusetts

United States

 51.5 

 68.9 

 55.8 

89

401-500

Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1

France

 50.3 

 71.0 

 55.5 

=90

351-400

Autonomous University of Madrid

Spain

 51.6 

 66.3 

 55.3 

=90

=25

University of Washington

United States

 55.0 

 56.2 

 55.3 

=92

102

University of Mannheim

Germany

 57.7 

 46.3 

 54.8 

=92

169

Texas  A&M University

United States

 50.1 

 68.9 

 54.8 

=94

21

University of Michigan

United States

 54.6 

 54.8 

 54.7 

=94

=72

Ohio State University

United States

 54.6 

 55.1 

 54.7 

96

301-350

Aix-Marseille University

France

 57.2 

 46.7 

 54.6 

=97

=36

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

United States

 49.7 

 68.9 

 54.5 

=97

201-250

North Carolina State University

United States

 50.2 

 67.6 

 54.5 

99

201-250

Paris Descartes University

France

 51.7 

 57.8 

 53.2 

100

13

University of Pennsylvania

United States

 50.1 

 62.2 

 53.1 

101

41

University of California, San Diego

United States

 47.7 

 68.9 

 53.0 

102

146

University of California, Santa Cruz

United States

 48.7 

 62.4 

 52.1 

103

131

Arizona State University

United States

 49.7 

 58.2 

 51.8 

104

=188

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Russian Federation

 59.9 

 26.5 

 51.5 

105

=82

Emory University

United States

 52.7 

 46.6 

 51.2 

106

351-400

Polytechnic University of Turin

Italy

 48.5 

 58.9 

 51.1 

107

150

Indiana University

United States

 47.0 

 61.4 

 50.6 

108

143

University of Notre Dame

United States

 48.2 

 56.8 

 50.4 

109

=104

Georgetown University

United States

 47.3 

 57.7 

 49.9 

110

68

Pennsylvania State University

United States

 42.7 

 67.9 

 49.0 

111

=161

University of Münster

Germany

 44.3 

 62.7 

 48.9 

=112

201-250

Florida State University

United States

 45.7 

 58.2 

 48.8 

=112

251-300

Sapienza University of Rome

Italy

 37.6 

 82.6 

 48.8 

114

=156

University of Arizona

United States

 41.7 

 59.1 

 46.1 

115

=57

Washington University in St Louis

United States

 45.5 

 45.9 

 45.6 

116

45

University of Wisconsin-Madison

United States

 42.0 

 55.8 

 45.5 

=117

=116

University of Colorado Boulder

United States

 39.4 

 61.7 

 45.0 

=117

=121

University of Virginia

United States

 44.6 

 46.3 

 45.0 

119

67

University of Maryland, College Park

United States

 36.7 

 65.6 

 43.9 

=120

53

University of Minnesota

United States

 38.2 

 57.8 

 43.1 

=120

29

Peking University

China

 50.3 

 21.7 

 43.1 

122

301-350

University of Georgia

United States

 41.7 

 47.0 

 43.0 

123

141

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

United States

 35.6 

 65.0 

 42.9 

124

=126

Case Western Reserve University

United States

 42.0 

 42.9 

 42.2 

125

=80

University of Pittsburgh

United States

 35.4 

 62.1 

 42.1 

126

301-350

Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Russian Federation

 50.0 

 18.1 

 42.0 

127

251-300

Yonsei University

South Korea

 48.3 

 22.4 

 41.8 

128

201-250

Nanjing University

China

 51.4 

 12.2 

 41.6 

129

56

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

United States

 40.0 

 45.7 

 41.4 

=130

50

University of Texas at Austin

United States

 35.7 

 56.6 

 40.9 

=130

251-300

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

United States

 31.4 

 69.4 

 40.9 

132

=82

Dartmouth College

United States

 37.9 

 45.8 

 39.9 

133

134

University of Florida

United States

 35.2 

 52.9 

 39.6 

134

201-250

University of Utah

United States

 32.5 

 58.5 

 39.0 

135

201-250

Korea University

South Korea

 44.0 

 22.6 

 38.7 

=136

401-500

Renmin University of China

China

 46.0 

 15.0 

 38.2 

=136

39

University of Tokyo

Japan

 30.6 

 61.1 

 38.2 

138

=137

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

South Korea

 39.6 

 33.3 

 38.0 

139

201-250

University of Iowa

United States

 34.6 

 44.9 

 37.2 

140

=89

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

South Korea

 34.3 

 42.1 

 36.2 

141

401-500

University of Tsukuba

Japan

 37.1 

 33.1 

 36.1 

142

35

Tsinghua University

China

 39.4 

 24.5 

 35.7 

143

251-300

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Japan

 32.9 

 39.5 

 34.5 

144

251-300

National Tsing Hua University

Taiwan

 26.6 

 57.8 

 34.4 

=145

155

Fudan University

China

 37.5 

 19.0 

 32.9 

=145

=72

Seoul National University

South Korea

 32.4 

 34.6 

 32.9 

147

251-300

University of São Paulo

Brazil

 28.3 

 45.5 

 32.6 

148

=195

National Taiwan University

Taiwan

 29.9 

 39.7 

 32.3 

149

201-250

Tohoku University

Japan

 32.4 

 31.6 

 32.2 

150

=104

Pohang University of Science and Technology

South Korea

 34.2 

 26.0 

 32.1 


Connections that count: methodology

The data in Times Higher Education’s ranking of The World’s Most International Universities 2017 are drawn largely from the “international outlook” pillar of the THE World University Rankings 2016‑17. This takes into account a university’s proportions of international students, international staff and journal publications with at least one international co-author. Each of these elements is given equal weighting in calculating the score for this pillar.

Unlike last year’s international ranking, this year’s table adds a fourth component, which makes up 25 per cent of the total score: a university’s international reputation. This is a measure of the ratio of international votes to domestic votes that the institution achieved in THE’s annual invitation-only Academic Reputation Survey, which asks leading scholars to name the world’s best universities for teaching and research in their field.

Only institutions that received at least 100 votes in the survey (at least 50 of which were from their home country) were eligible for inclusion.

In addition, only universities that feature in the top 500 of the THE World University Rankings 2016‑17 were included.

This change has reduced the impact of purely geographical factors and the presence of a large foreign workforce, and has resulted in a number of previously highly ranked institutions, including Qatar University and the University of Luxembourg, dropping from the list.

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POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Organic bonds

Reader's comments (2)

Congratulations to EPFL for ranking second. Being an international community is great. On the other hand, it also means there will be many people from many different cultures studying or working there under the same roof. As a matter of unfortunate experience, I can say that EPFL does neither have the vision nor skilled staff to deal with the subtleties of an international community.
Thanks for providing this list of the most International universities! Thus, students and applicants from all over the world know their options. If I had to make a choice now, I would definitely choose to study in the UK. I like a culture of this country and it would be great to study there. However, studying in the United States also would be great and there are many professional opportunities. July from <a href="http://britonwriters.co.uk/">Briton Writers</a> company.

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