Best universities in Europe for teaching

Explore which universities in Europe rank highly for teaching excellence based on data collected by Times Higher Education

July 11 2018
Best universities in Europe for teaching

For the first time, Times Higher Education has produced a student-focused ranking to determine the best universities for teaching across eight countries in Europe. 

Instead of placing a focus on research output and quality, as many international university rankings do, the 2018 Europe Teaching Rankings serves as a pilot ranking to determine the best universities for teaching quality and learning opportunities for students. 

One of the key components of the ranking was THE's first ever European Student Survey, taken by more than 30,000 university students in eight countries. Students rated their university on a scale of zero to 10 across a number of aspects of their university life, including collaborative learning, critical thinking and application of learning to the real world. 

The Student Survey accounted for 50 per cent of the university’s final scores and fed into seven of the 13 performance indicators used to rank the institutions. To view the full methodology and all of the questions asked in the Student Survey click here

The ranking is modelled on the WSJ/THE US College Rankings and the Japan University Rankings, which aim to keep the student experience at the core of the data collection. 

The top five of the inaugural Europe Teaching Rankings is dominated by UK universities, with the University of Oxford taking the top spot and the University of Cambridge coming in second. In third place is the only non-UK institution in the top five, Sorbonne University in France. Taking the fourth and fifth places are the University of Warwick and UCL respectively.

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Top five universities in Europe for teaching

1. University of Oxford, UK

Regularly ranking highly in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Oxford is well known for providing high-quality teaching and learning. 

International students make up approximately 43 per cent of the student body, coming from the USA, China, Singapore, France, Germany and Italy, among other nations. 

The university is split into a collegiate structure with 38 separate colleges, each with its own unique identity and history. 

Because of its strong reputation within the higher education sector, the university has a competitive admissions stream, with approximately six applications per university place. Students are able to specify their college of choice or leave it open in their application. Students will then be allocated a college based on their individual interests and strengths. Prospective students are invited for an interview that is known to test a student’s knowledge of their chosen subject and their critical thinking skills. 

2. University of Cambridge, UK

In second place is the University of Cambridge, also located in the UK. At more than 800 years old, the institution has become a true hallmark of the high-quality higher education that Europe can offer. 

Like Oxford, Cambridge follows a collegiate structure with 31 separate colleges that are governed by the teaching staff attached to those colleges. Students are encouraged to socialise and spend time in their own colleges. 

In the European Student Survey, the university scored very highly on access to learning materials. This includes libraries (of which there are more than 100, housing more than 15 million books), labs and online material. 

3. Sorbonne University, France

Sorbonne University is a public research university in Paris, formed by the merger of Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University earlier this year. 

The university is divided into three faculties: humanities, sciences and medicine. The faculty of science has more than 125 labs, many of them affiliated with the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Teaching at the university is focused on the individual, with multidisciplinary and diversified degree programmes that can be adapted to the goals of each student. 

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Life at the University of Cambridge

4. University of Warwick, UK

Students at the University of Warwick were highly likely to recommend the university to a friend or family member, according to the Student Survey.

In their first year, students live on campus and are encouraged to take an active part in student societies and the students’ union. In subsequent years students tend to move off campus into the closest town of Leamington Spa or other nearby Coventry suburbs. 

Compared with some of the other universities that made the top five, the University of Warwick is a relatively young university, having been established only in 1965 as part of a government initiative to expand higher education. 

Since then the university has expanded to have 29 academic departments and more than 50 research centres and institutes in four faculties: arts, medicine, science and social sciences. 

5. UCL, UK

UCL was established in 1826, originally under the name London University. It then became University College, London in 1836 and is now mostly referred to as UCL.

The university is primarily located in Bloomsbury, central London. A number of other buildings are dotted around the city, as well as a new campus in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, which is known as UCL East. 

Admissions to the university are highly selective, with many prospective students expected to receive the highest grades in their school exams to gain entry. 

Top 100 universities in Europe for teaching excellence

Europe Teaching Rank  World University Rank 2018 Institution name Country name
1 1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
2 2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 NR Sorbonne University France
4 91 University of Warwick United Kingdom
5 16 UCL United Kingdom
6 76 University of Bristol United Kingdom
7 =54 University of Manchester United Kingdom
8 301–350 University of Navarra Spain
=9 =175 Newcastle University United Kingdom
=9 =137 University of York United Kingdom
=11 8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
=11 104 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
13 36 King’s College London United Kingdom
14 =27 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
15 =143 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
16 =150 Lancaster University United Kingdom
17 181 Paris-Sud University France
18 =147 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
19 201–250 University of Barcelona Spain
20 =147 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
21 =126 University of Southampton United Kingdom
=22 351–400 Autonomous University of Madrid Spain
=22 =147 University of Sussex United Kingdom
24 121 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
25 =141 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
=26 45 Heidelberg University Germany
=26 139 University of Leeds United Kingdom
28 501–600 University of Lisbon Portugal
29 97 Durham University United Kingdom
30 59 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
31 =80 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
32 =162 Cardiff University United Kingdom
33 201–250 University of Reading United Kingdom
=34 =130 University of Exeter United Kingdom
=34 301–350 Loughborough University United Kingdom
36 251–300 University of Trento Italy
37 =177 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
38 =113 University of Göttingen Germany
39 =83 University of Groningen Netherlands
40 251–300 University of Essex United Kingdom
41 187 University of Dundee United Kingdom
42 140 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
43 501–600 University of Porto Portugal
44 251–300 University of Bath United Kingdom
45 251–300 University of Surrey United Kingdom
46 351–400 University of Padua Italy
=47 301–350 University of Kent United Kingdom
=47 401–500 University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
=47 351–400 University College Cork Republic of Ireland
=50 401–500 Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 France
=50 601–800 University of Minho Portugal
51-75 185 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
51-75 301–350 Aberystwyth University United Kingdom
51-75 251–300 Aix-Marseille University France
51-75 601–800 University of Alcalá Spain
51-75 501–600 University of Aveiro Portugal
51-75 601–800 Carlos III University of Madrid Spain
51-75 NR Comillas Pontifical University Spain
51-75 =188 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
51-75 351–400 Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées France
51-75 =34 LMU Munich Germany
51-75 =159 University of Leicester United Kingdom
51-75 601–800 Manchester Metropolitan University United Kingdom
51-75 125 University of Mannheim Germany
51-75 501–600 NOVA University of Lisbon Portugal
51-75 401–500 Oxford Brookes University United Kingdom
51-75 401–500 University of Plymouth United Kingdom
51-75 301–350 Polytechnic University of Milan Italy
51-75 501–600 University of Portsmouth United Kingdom
51-75 197 Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
51-75 601–800 University of Seville Spain
51-75 801–1000 Sheffield Hallam University United Kingdom
51-75 401–500 University of Siena Italy
51-75 41 Technical University of Munich Germany
51-75 =117 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
51-75 94 University of Tübingen Germany
51-75 601–800 University of Zaragoza Spain
76-100 351–400 Aston University United Kingdom
76-100 301–350 Bangor University United Kingdom
76-100 251–300 University of Bayreuth Germany
76-100 351–400 Brunel University London United Kingdom
76-100 351–400 City, University of London United Kingdom
76-100 501–600 Complutense University of Madrid Spain
76-100 601–800 Coventry University United Kingdom
76-100 801–1000 University of Derby United Kingdom
76-100 501–600 Keele University United Kingdom
76-100 401–500 University of Lille France
76-100 501–600 University of Limerick Republic of Ireland
76-100 401–500 Marche Polytechnic University Italy
76-100 351–400 Montpellier University France
76-100 601–800 Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
76-100 501–600 Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1 France
76-100 NR Paris Descartes University France
76-100 NR Polytechnic Institute of Porto Portugal
76-100 501–600 Polytechnic University of Valencia Spain
76-100 201–250 Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
76-100 401–500 University of Rovira i Virgili Spain
76-100 301–350 University of Stirling United Kingdom
76-100 351–400 University of Strasbourg France
76-100 501–600 University of Valencia Spain

Read more: Best universities in Europe



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