THE Latin America University Rankings 2019: results announced

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile now tops the region

June 18, 2019
Source: Getty

Browse the THE Latin America University Rankings 2019 results

A Chilean university has topped the Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings for the first time, overtaking Brazil’s two flagship institutions.

The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile claims the number one spot in the 2019 edition of the table, having risen from third place thanks to boosts in its scores for institutional, research and industry income.

It replaces Brazil’s University of Campinas, which had led the table since 2017 but has fallen two positions to third. The University of São Paulo remains in second place.

Brazil is still the most-represented nation in the table, with 52 institutions, up from 43 last year. Chile remains second in this country list with 30 representatives, up from 26.

The decline of Campinas, whose overall score improved since last year, is largely the result of increased competition in the table. But the institution, in common with several others from Brazil, received lower citation impact scores this year.

In general, Chilean universities have seen improvements in their score for institutional income per academic staff.

Analysis of the average country scores in different pillars of the ranking, based on the top 100, show that Chilean universities are strong performers on citation impact and international outlook – Brazil’s weakest areas. Brazil’s strongest areas are teaching and research environment.

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The results follow proposals by the Brazilian government to cut university funding, targeting specific institutions and subjects, and concerns over the country’s new education minister, who is an economist with ties to government.

Fernanda Estevan, associate professor at the São Paulo School of Economics, said that Brazil’s “serious public budget deficit” has meant that all sectors, including higher education, have been affected by funding cuts.

View this year’s Latin America University Rankings methodology in full

But she said that the main problem facing the sector was “a very perverse incentive system, which values quantity over quality and does not evaluate researchers in many areas based on international criteria”.

Download a copy of the Latin America University Rankings 2019 digital supplement

“If I had to choose between increasing funding and improving incentives, I would choose the latter,” she added.

The THE Latin America University Rankings 2019 includes 150 universities spanning 12 countries.

THE Latin America University Rankings 2019: the top 10

2019 rank 2018 rank Institution Country
 1  3 Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Chile
 2  2 University of São Paulo Brazil
 3  1 University of Campinas Brazil
 4  7 Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) Brazil
 5  5 Monterrey Institute of Technology  Mexico
 6  4 Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) Brazil
 7  6 University of Chile Chile
 8  9 Federal University of Minas Gerais Brazil
 9  8 University of the Andes, Colombia Colombia
 10  11 São Paulo State University (UNESP) Brazil

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Reader's comments (1)

Peru has 51 public universities and 92 private universities. A large number of the latter are presented with a "non-profit" character. The reality denies this false presentation, because the governing bodies are constituted by clans, of supposed academics, often of several families, who are the ones who decide the policies that go from the cleaning of the premises to the design of a master's program. These "clans" and their closest entourage, decide what is done with the river of money that comes from the students and from other sources that generate revenues. There is no academic community as such, as more than 85% of teachers work with 2 contracts per year from April to December, with holidays in August. The months of January, February, March and August do not receive a salary. The average weekly hours a teacher has is 30 hours. To this you have to add another 25 hours in some other institution. These 55 to 65 hours per week correspond to tasks in the classroom. How, then, do not understand the drama and tragedy of Latin American education. What we have are "day laborers" teachers desperate to get more hours. Here it would be offensive and pathetic to ask: and, when do they have time to do some research and be creative? The "curious" thing is that everyone is required to have a "doctorate". As there are not many specializations, everyone gets "ironically" the doctorate in education ...