International student table 2017: top 200 universities

Explore the universities with the highest percentage of international students based on data collected by Times Higher Education

April 26 2017

The higher education world is getting smaller as more and more students are choosing to study abroad. Students are looking to universities to provide an international experience, the opportunity to study alongside students from all over the world, and to give them a truly global higher education community in which to study. 

As part of the data collected for the World University Rankings, Times Higher Education asks all institutions to provide figures on the percentage of international students they have. THE has extracted these data and compiled a list of the top 200 universities. 

Three of the universities featured in the top five were founded in the past 30 years – perhaps suggesting that younger universities are more appealing to international students. 

Sixteen universities from London feature in the top 200, making it one of the most represented cities in the ranking. In fact, the UK as a whole was the most represented country with 72 universities present in the top 200 in total, compared with 27 from the US and 22 in Australia. 

The top five universities with the highest percentage of international students 2017

Scroll down to see the top 200

1. American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

The American University of Sharjah is a relatively small university with just over 5,000 students, and 84 per cent of this student body is made up of international students. Some 99 countries are represented on campus, and some of the main home countries of these students are the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and India.

According to Linda C. Angell, director of international exchange programmes at AUS, the institution welcomes 25 to 50 study abroad students every year and “these students consistently report they have had an excellent experience here”.

Dr Angell believes that the university has a high proportion of international students because of its central location in the world, making international travel easy, and its proximity to cosmopolitan Dubai and culturally rich Sharjah. 

English is the main teaching language and the university offers 26 majors and 45 minors at undergraduate level, and 13 master’s degree programmes.

The university is part of the Association of American International Colleges and Universities, an organisation which delivers higher education based on the American liberal arts model outside the US.

International perspective: an American in the UAE

2. Central European University, Hungary

Central European University is an English-language university based in Budapest, Hungary. CEU students come to the university from over 100 countries across five continents. 

The university is accredited in both the United States and Hungary and offers courses in the social sciences, the humanities, law, management and public policy. It has a female-to-male student ratio of 51:49.

CEU alumni are just as far-reaching internationally as the student body, with some 13,887 alumni spanning 133 countries.

The university hosts a number of festivals that reflect the diverse student population, such as the Intercultural Festival, the Spring Ball and the annual community picnic.

International perspective: a Filipino student in Hungary

3. London School of Economics and Political Science, London

LSE is a world-renowned hub for international students, with students enrolling from more than 140 countries. It has international partnerships with Columbia University in New York, Sciences Po in Paris, Peking University in Beijing, the National University of Singapore and the University of Cape Town.

LSE has ranked in the top 30 universities in the world for the past five years and is highly regarded globally as a social science university specialising in a wide range of disciplines, including economics, politics, sociology, law and anthropology.

Alumni from LSE comprise more than 136,000 people from almost 200 countries, and include 16 Nobel prizewinners and 37 past or present world leaders.

Canadian student Matt Campbell said that he has made friends with students from dozens of other countries. “Having such an international peer group at the LSE has been a great advantage (not to mention great fun). Perhaps what unites us most is the great British tradition of getting together with colleagues at the end of the week for pints at the pub,” he said.

LSE students speak to THE about studying in London

4. Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is the oldest university in the top five, having been established in 1784.

The university provides a comprehensive education within medicine, pharmacy and physiotherapy. The university is a relatively small one with just over 2,000 students enrolled, and about 62 per cent of the students are classed as international students. At the Dublin campus the students come from approximately 70 different countries.

The college provides both undergraduate courses as well as postgraduate education and professional training. The university also has a well-renowned research institute.

The university strengthens its international ties by encouraging the students to take part in volunteer activities in developing countries and by developing a strong presence in Malaysia, Bahrain and Dubai with plans to develop even further internationally.

In 1886, the university was the first to have a female medical graduate. 

International perspective: a Canadian in Ireland

5. University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg aims to provide a multilingual learning experience, with many of the degree programmes delivered in either English and French or German and French. Master’s degrees are taught entirely in English. This reflects the high percentage of international students, with 55 per cent of the students attending from Europe and beyond.

A semester abroad is compulsory for all undergraduate students and there are many exchange opportunities also available for master’s and PhD students. Joint supervision of theses may also be possible in collaboration with a university abroad.

Heidi Flinkman, a Finnish student studying at the University of Luxembourg, initally went to the institution as an exchange student, but enjoyed it so much that she decided to stay and complete her degree there. “As the university is highly international there are students and staff from many different countries and linguistic backgrounds, so it is easy to feel at home,” she said. 

My experience as an international student at the University of Luxembourg


Resources for international students

Cheapest UK universities for international students: tuition fees survey
Survival guide for international students: your first 168 hours in the United States
A guide to university rankings for international students
Top 10 scenic locations to study abroad
Five reasons why you should study in China
How to write a US college admissions essay
Applying through Ucas as an international student
A guide to UK tuition fees and student visas
A guide for international students choosing a university in Australia


The top 200 universities for international students 2017

Ranking University Country/region Percentage of international students
1 American University of Sharjah United Arab Emirates 83.7%
2 Central European University Hungary 77.4%
3 London School of Economics and Political Science UK 70.0%
4 Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Ireland 62.3%
5 University of Luxembourg Luxembourg 54.8%
6 Soas, University of London UK 54.3%
7 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 54.2%
8 Imperial College London UK 52.2%
9 City, University of London UK 49.2%
10 University College London UK 46.9%
11 Maastricht University Netherlands 46.8%
12 University of St Andrews UK 46.4%
13 University of Westminster UK 44.7%
14 Murdoch University Australia 44.5%
=15 University of Essex UK 44.3%
=15 Middlesex University UK 44.3%
17 École des Ponts ParisTech  France 43.8%
18 Qatar University Qatar 42.6%
19 Heriot-Watt University UK 42.0%
20 Queen Mary University of London UK 41.5%
21 Coventry University UK 40.6%
22 University of Geneva Switzerland 39.8%
23 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand 38.9%
24 Brunel University London UK 38.7%
25 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 38.6%
26 University of Innsbruck Austria 38.2%
27 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 38.1%
=28 Birkbeck, University of London UK 37.9%
=28 King’s College London UK 37.9%
=28 Royal Holloway, University of London UK 37.9%
=31 Carnegie Mellon University US 37.8%
=31 University of Surrey UK 37.8%
=31 University of Warwick UK 37.8%
34 Goldsmiths, University of London UK 37.5%
35 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland 37.3%
36 University of Edinburgh UK 37.2%
37 University of Melbourne Australia 36.8%
=38 Curtin University Australia 36.1%
=38 London Metropolitan University UK 36.1%
40 University of Manchester UK 35.8%
41 University of Leicester UK 35.7%
42 Bond University Australia 35.4%
43 Kingston University UK 35.3%
=44 Australian National University Australia 35.2%
=44 Lancaster University UK 35.2%
46 University of Technology Sydney Australia 35.1%
47 University of Oxford UK 35.0%
48 University of Sussex UK 34.8%
49 University of Cambridge UK 34.6%
=50 Eastern Mediterranean University Cyprus 34.4%
=50 Stevens Institute of Technology US 34.4%
=50 University of St Gallen Switzerland 34.4%
53 RUDN University Russia 34.0%
=54 University of Liverpool UK 33.7%
=54 London South Bank University UK 33.7%
56 University of Greenwich UK 33.6%
57 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US 33.5%
58 University of Bedfordshire UK 33.4%
59 University of East London UK 33.2%
60 University of Sheffield UK 33.1%
61 University of South Australia Australia 33.0%
62 University of Macau Macau 32.9%
63 Alfaisal University Saudi Arabia 32.7%
=64 University of Aberdeen UK 32.3%
=64 University of Glasgow UK 32.3%
=64 National University of Singapore Singapore 32.3%
=64 University of New South Wales Australia 32.3%
=64 Queen’s University Belfast UK 32.3%
69 CentraleSupélec France 32.1%
70 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore 32.0%
71 Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium 31.7%
72 Aston University UK 31.6%
73 Edinburgh Napier University UK 31.3%
74 École Polytechnique France 30.8%
75 University of Southampton UK 30.7%
76 University of Bath UK 30.4%
77 Columbia University US 30.1%
78 Florida Institute of Technology US 30.0%
79 National Institute of Applied Sciences of Lyon (INSA Lyon) France 29.8%
80 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 29.5%
81 University of Reading UK 29.3%
82 University of Bradford UK 29.2%
83 Simon Fraser University Canada 29.1%
84 University of Auckland New Zealand 29.0%
85 University of Kent UK 28.9%
=86 Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong 28.7%
=86 University of Sydney Australia 28.7%
88 University of British Columbia Canada 28.6%
=89 Massey University New Zealand 28.5%
=89 Newcastle University UK 28.5%
91 Northeastern  University US 28.4%
92 University of Canberra Australia 28.3%
93 University of Rochester US 28.2%
94 University of East Anglia UK 28.1%
95 Central Queensland University Australia 28.0%
96 University of Nottingham UK 27.8%
97 University of Twente Netherlands 27.6%
=98 University of Hertfordshire UK 27.5%
=98 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 27.5%
=98 Universiti Teknologi Petronas Malaysia 27.5%
=101 Oxford Brookes University UK 27.4%
=101 Rice University US 27.4%
103 University of Exeter UK 27.2%
=104 University of Adelaide Australia 27.1%
=104 Concordia University Canada 27.1%
=106 Swinburne University of Technology Australia 26.9%
=106 Vienna University of Technology Austria 26.9%
108 University of Western Australia Australia 26.8%
109 California Institute of Technology US 26.6%
110 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 26.5%
111 University of York UK 26.4%
112 Durham University UK 26.3%
=113 University of Huddersfield UK 26.2%
=113 University of Tulsa US 26.2%
115 Mines ParisTech France 26.1%
116 Georgia Institute of Technology US 26.0%
117 University of Waikato New Zealand 25.9%
118 Jinan University China 25.8%
119 RMIT University Australia 25.6%
120 University of Vienna Austria 25.5%
=121 Anglia Ruskin University UK 25.4%
=121 University of Birmingham UK 25.4%
=121 Clark University US 25.4%
=121 University College Dublin Ireland 25.4%
=121 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong 25.4%
=121 Monash University Australia 25.4%
127 La Trobe University Australia 25.3%
=128 University of Queensland Australia 25.2%
=128 Semmelweis University Hungary 25.2%
=128 V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University Ukraine 25.2%
=131 Charles Darwin University Australia 25.1%
=131 New York University US 25.1%
=133 Cardiff University UK 25.0%
=133 Delft University of Technology Netherlands 25.0%
=133 Trinity College Dublin Ireland 25.0%
=136 University of Bristol UK 24.8%
=136 Harvard University US 24.8%
=136 University of Portsmouth UK 24.8%
139 University of Texas at Dallas US 24.6%
140 Dublin Institute of Technology Ireland 24.5%
141 McGill University Canada 24.3%
142 University of Montreal Canada 24.2%
143 University of Alberta Canada 24.1%
=144 University of Dundee UK 24.0%
=144 Johns Hopkins University US 24.0%
146 Stony Brook University US 23.9%
147 University of Lausanne Switzerland 23.8%
=148 University of Chicago US 23.7%
=148 Macquarie University Australia 23.7%
=148 University of Wollongong Australia 23.7%
151 University of Basel Switzerland 23.6%
152 National Taiwan Normal University Taiwan 23.4%
=153 De Montfort University UK 23.3%
=153 University of Roehampton UK 23.3%
155 American University of Beirut Lebanon 23.2%
156 Princeton University US 23.1%
157 Karolinska Institute Sweden 23.0%
=158 École Centrale de Lyon France 22.9%
=158 University of Liège Belgium 22.9%
160 Lincoln  University New Zealand 22.8%
=161 Robert Gordon University UK 22.7%
=161 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands 22.7%
=163 Brandeis University US 22.6%
=163 University of Southern California US 22.6%
165 Purdue University US 22.4%
166 University of Neuchâtel Switzerland 22.3%
=167 Stanford University US 22.1%
=167 University of Strathclyde UK 22.1%
=167 York University Canada 22.1%
170 Loughborough University UK 22.0%
171 Victoria University Australia 21.9%
=172 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign US 21.8%
=172 Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research United Arab Emirates 21.8%
=172 University of Leeds UK 21.8%
=175 Keele University UK 21.7%
=175 Technical University of Munich Germany 21.7%
=177 Chung-Ang University South Korea 21.6%
=177 University of Salford UK 21.6%
179 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 21.4%
=180 Bangor University UK 21.3%
=180 University of Nice Sophia Antipolis France 21.3%
=182 Copenhagen Business School Denmark 21.2%
=182 Norwegian University of Life Sciences Norway 21.2%
=182 Swansea University UK 21.2%
185 New Jersey Institute of Technology US 20.9%
=186 University at Buffalo US 20.8%
=186 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand 20.8%
=188 Free University of Berlin Germany 20.7%
=188 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia 20.7%
=188 Yale University US 20.7%
=191 University of Brighton UK 20.6%
=191 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia 20.6%
=191 Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgium 20.6%
194 Tomsk Polytechnic University Russia 20.4%
195 University of Otago New Zealand 20.3%
=196 University of Hull UK 20.2%
=196 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan 20.2%
=196 Yonsei University South Korea 20.2%
199 University of Stirling UK 20.1%
200 Lappeenranta University of Technology Finland 20.0%

Read more:  

Most international universities in the world 2017: top 150
Reduced international student numbers ‘would impact on university life’

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