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 Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton spring to mind.
But there are many more institutions that also deserve your attention. THE’s 2018 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 250 universities under 50, THE has produced three subset rankings: Millennials (universities established between 2000 and the present day), Generation Y (established between 1986 and 1999) and Generation X (established between 1968 and 1985) so you can explore your options if you are looking for a young, innovative place to go to college.
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.
Top five universities in the Young University Rankings 2018
Scroll down for the top 100 and a link to the full top 250
1. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology climbs one place from number two in the 2017 ranking to take first place in the 2018 ranking. 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 is on the banks of Lake Geneva and it is powered by hydropower.
The university has dropped from first place in the 2017 ranking to second in the 2018 hierarchy.
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.
There are fewer than 10,000 students 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
Not only has Nanyang Technological University been ranked the third-best university under 50 years old, it is also one of the highest-ranked Asian universities in the THE World University Rankings, and it is also 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 made up of students from more than 100 nationalities. NTU also has strong ties with many universities across the globe including Imperial College London, Stanford University and Beijing 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.
5. Maastricht University, Netherlands
The final university in the top five is Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
It was established to expand the country’s medical training facilities in order to address the shortage of medical professionals.
More and more faculties have since been added to cover a wider curriculum including business and economics, law, psychology and neuroscience, arts and social sciences, and science and engineering.
The intake is made up of students representing more than 100 nationalities and many of the programmes are taught entirely or partly in English.