Best young universities in the world 2019

Explore the best universities under 50 years old using Times Higher Education’s university rankings data

June 26 2019
best young universities

When choosing which university to attend, it can be easy to get distracted by the old guard: those institutions that have been around for centuries, and that dominate the upper echelons of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Names such as OxfordCambridgeHarvard and Princeton spring to mind. 

But many more institutions also deserve your attention. THE’s 2019 Young University Rankings reveal the best universities under 50 years old, assessing them across teaching, research, international outlook and their work with industry. In fact, the ranking was created using the same methodology as the THE World University Rankings, but the weightings were recalibrated to reflect the missions of younger universities. The full methodology can be found here, and you can explore the top 100 universities by scrolling down.

As well as the overall ranking of the top 300+ universities under 50, THE has produced a subset ranking: millennials (universities established between 2000 and the present day). 

THE has also looked at the best institutions that were founded between 1945 and 1967 – known as a “Golden Age” for public higher education. Being more than 50 years old (although still very young for universities), these institutions fall outside the parameters of the Young University Rankings. However, they are well worth a look if you are interested in some of international higher education’s rising stars. 


Best young universities: millennials
Golden Age ranking


Top five universities in the Young University Rankings 2019

Scroll down for the top 100 and a link to the full ranking

1. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology retains the top position in the ranking from last year. The university also consistently ranks as one of the best universities in Hong Kong.

As its name suggests, HKUST focuses heavily on providing students with a high-quality education within the realms of science and technology. 

The university was established in 1991. In 2011, it received five State Science and Technology Awards – prestigious prizes conferred by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. 

2. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is situated in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and specialises in science and engineering. Its campus on the shore of Lake Geneva is powered by hydropower. 

The university has also retained its second place from last year.

More than half the students enrolled at the university are international, with about 120 different countries represented on campus. The institution has two official languages, French and English. 

Fewer than 10,000 students are enrolled at the university. EPFL is also highly regarded for its research output in engineering and science, including the Blue Brain Project and the Human Brain Project.  


Student experience at young universities

Life as an international student at EPFL, Switzerland
Life at a millennial university
Studying at POSTECH, South Korea


3. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 

Not only has Nanyang Technological University, Singapore been ranked the third-best university under 50 years old, it is one of the highest-ranked Asian universities in the THE World University Rankings, and is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. 

The university’s main garden campus is in Jurong and it also has a site in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

The university has a 25,000-strong student body from more than 100 nations. NTU also has strong ties with many universities across the globe including Imperial College London, Stanford University and Peking University.

4. Paris Sciences et Lettres - PSL University, France

Paris Sciences et Lettres - PSL University is a collegiate university formed in 2010. It was originally formed of five institutions but has since grown to incorporate 25 self-governing academic and research institutions. It was established with the aim of becoming one of the world’s leading research universities. 

PSL’s main sites are in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The aim of the university is to boost research output from France and it is actively working to become a stronger player in the global higher education sector. 

The university has developed strategic partnerships with New York University, the University of Cambridge, Tsinghua University, and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, among others.

5. City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

City University of Hong Kong was founded in 1984 and is a public research university in Kowloon, Hong Kong. 

The university has five colleges and four schools: the College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Science, Jockey Club College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, and the School of Creative Media, School of Data Science, School of Energy and Environment and School of Law.

It started off as a polytechnic institution and achieved university status in 1994 when its name was changed accordingly.


The 100 best young universities 2019

Young University Ranking 2019 Young University Ranking 2018 University Country/region Foundation year
1 1 The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 1991
2 2 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 1969
3 3 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore 1991
4 4 Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France 2010
5 7 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 1984
6 6 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea 1971
7 9 Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies - Pisa Italy 1987
8 8 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) South Korea 1986
9 NR Sorbonne University France 2018
10 5 Maastricht University Netherlands 1976
11 11 Pompeu Fabra University Spain 1990
12 10 University of Alabama at Birmingham United States 1969
13 16 University of Technology Sydney Australia 1988
14 19 University of Duisburg-Essen Germany 2003
15 18 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong 1994
16 27 University of Passau Germany 1978
17 12 University of Luxembourg Luxembourg 2003
=18 25 Aalborg University Denmark 1974
=18 22 Aalto University Finland 2010
=20 29 Bielefeld University Germany 1969
=20 24 Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology South Korea 2009
22 15 University of Antwerp Belgium 2003
23 23 Vita-Salute San Raffaele University Italy 1996
=24 17 University of Potsdam Germany 1991
=24 20 Queensland University of Technology Australia 1989
=26 NR Jacobs University Germany 1998
=26 26 University of South Australia Australia 1991
28 35 Paris Diderot University – Paris 7 France 1971
29 32 University of Wollongong Australia 1975
30 =41 Medical University of Graz Austria 2004
31 21 Paris-Sud University France 1971
32 38 Medical University of Vienna Austria 2004
33 28 James Cook University Australia 1970
34 58 University of Canberra Australia 1990
35 37 Griffith University Australia 1971
=36 =47 Brighton and Sussex Medical School United Kingdom 2002
=36 36 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden 1977
38 49 Khalifa University United Arab Emirates 2007
39 31 University of Texas at Dallas United States 1969
40 30 University of Bayreuth Germany 1975
41 34 University of Bremen Germany 1971
42 =65 Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines France 1991
43 101–150 Alfaisal University Saudi Arabia 2002
44 46 Grenoble Alpes University France 2016
45 =53 Victoria University Australia 1990
46 =41 Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology South Korea 1993
47 =51 George Mason University United States 1972
48 =43 Sabancı University Turkey 1996
49 =43 University of Eastern Finland Finland 1969
50 =80 Maynooth University Republic of Ireland 1997
51 101–150 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand 2000
=52 60 University of Macau Macao 1981
=52 61 Montpellier University France 2015
=52 89 Reykjavík University Iceland 1998
=55 =47 Aix-Marseille University France 2012
=55 68 Curtin University Australia 1987
=55 NR Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) China 2012
58 71 Western Sydney University Australia 1989
59 NR IMT Atlantique France 2017
=60 NR University of California, Merced United States 2005
=60 =84 Higher School of Economics Russian Federation 1992
=60 =51 Rush University United States 1972
=63 59 Cyprus University of Technology Cyprus 2004
=63 50 Deakin University Australia 1974
65 =84 Hasselt University Belgium 1973
66 55 Babol Noshirvani University of Technology Iran 1970
67 64 University of Cyprus Cyprus 1989
68 NR Indian Institute of Technology Indore India 2009
69 NR Centrale Nantes France 1993
=70 40 Koç University Turkey 1993
=70 101–150 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 1976
72 88 Verona University Italy 1982
73 =73 Linköping University Sweden 1975
=74 =73 University of Côte d’Azur France 2015
=74 =62 Örebro University Sweden 1999
76 =62 University of Crete Greece 1973
77 =53 Free University of Bozen-Bolzano Italy 1997
78 =78 University of Rovira i Virgili Spain 1991
=79 101–150 Middlesex University United Kingdom 1992
=79 87 Qatar University Qatar 1973
81 =65 Swinburne University of Technology Australia 1992
82 =69 University of Milan-Bicocca Italy 1998
=83 =78 Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées France 2014
=83 NR JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research India 2008
=85 83 University of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa 2004
=85 101–150 University of Rome III Italy 1992
=87 56 University of Bordeaux France 2014
=87 NR Polytechnic University of Bari Italy 1990
89 =73 Murdoch University Australia 1973
90 82 University of Kaiserslautern Germany 1970
91 101–150 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan 1986
92 67 Hamburg University of Technology Germany 1978
93 57 National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech) Taiwan 1974
94 =80 Dublin City University Republic of Ireland 1989
95 101–150 Australian Catholic University Australia 1991
96 93 CentraleSupélec France 2015
97 101–150 Northumbria University United Kingdom 1992
=98 90 University of Calabria Italy 1972
=98 100 RMIT University Australia 1992
100 72 University of Siegen Germany 1972

See the full Young University Rankings 2019 here 

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