Prospective students looking to study in the most international environments in the world might be best off applying to universities in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK or Australia.
Universities, by their nature, are global institutions. Typically they are home to communities of students and scholars from all over the world and tackle some of the globe’s most pressing problems through research.
But a new Times Higher Education ranking shows that the above five countries are home to the 10 most international universities in the world.
These institutions all have a high proportion of both international students and staff, collaborate on research with scholars from across the world and have a strong global reputation to match. Read the full methodology here.
Research suggests that diverse communities of students improve the teaching and learning experience while opportunities for students to spend time abroad better prepare students to become global citizens.
Top five most international universities in the world
It is no surprise that Switzerland is home to the world’s most international university in the world, given that it is surrounded by five countries (France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein) and situated in the heart of Europe.
ETH Zurich is situated in Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, which, although expensive, is known for being safe. The main spoken language is Swiss German but the university also offers courses in English.
The institution has more than 18,000 students from over 120 countries and is the top university in continental Europe. It boasts Albert Einstein as one of its most notable alumni.
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is quite small with just 9,750 students, but more than half of these come from outside Switzerland.
The university has a particularly strong reputation in engineering, with 13 different engineering science programmes, but has more recently become known for its work in the life sciences.
Students at the institution are given numerous opportunities to participate in exchange programmes with other universities in Switzerland and abroad. The university also offers an internship scheme for students enrolled at other internationally acclaimed universities to spend up to three months at one of its campus laboratories.
Last year the University of Hong Kong began its mission to become “Asia’s Global University”, which includes the goal of 50 per cent of its undergraduates being given two opportunities to study outside Hong Kong during their degree by 2019, and for all students to have this opportunity by 2022.
Overall, Hong Kong’s leading university has more than 20,000 students and almost 8,000 are from abroad.
Teaching at the institution is in English and education has an international focus, with the aim of preparing students to become global citizens that could be successful anywhere in the world.
Hong Kong itself is also known as one of the most global cities in the world, acting as a gateway between East and West.
The National University of Singapore is Asia’s number one university.
Students at the institution have opportunities to participate in student exchanges and enrol in double and joint degree programmes with other leading universities in the world.
NUS also has overseas colleges in Beijing, Israel, Lausanne, Munich, New York, Shanghai, Silicon Valley and Stockholm, which enables undergraduates to undertake internships for up to a year in start-ups overseas while taking classes at a partner university.
More than half of Imperial College London’s 15,000 students are international, coming from over 125 different countries.
Many of these overseas students are attracted to the university not only for its world-renowned teaching and research but also because of its location in one of the most international and dynamic cities in the world.
Top 150 most international universities in the world
|Rank||Rank in THE World University Rankings 2016-17||Institution||Country||Overall score|
|1||9||ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich||Switzerland||97.1|
|2||30||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||Switzerland||96.7|
|3||43||University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong||96.5|
|4||24||National University of Singapore||Singapore||96|
|5||8||Imperial College London||United Kingdom||95.2|
|6||1||University of Oxford||United Kingdom||94.3|
|7||47||Australian National University||Australia||93|
|8||4||University of Cambridge||United Kingdom||92.8|
|9||15||University College London||United Kingdom||92.2|
|10||25||London School of Economics and Political Science||United Kingdom||92|
|11||36||King’s College London||United Kingdom||91.9|
|12||36||University of British Columbia||Canada||90.2|
|13||27||University of Edinburgh||United Kingdom||90.1|
|14||78||University of New South Wales||Australia||89.3|
|15||106||University of Zurich||Switzerland||88.6|
|17||82||University of Warwick||United Kingdom||88.1|
|18||33||University of Melbourne||Australia||87.7|
|19||88||University of Glasgow||United Kingdom||86.8|
|20||55||University of Manchester||United Kingdom||86.6|
|22||5||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||United States||84.9|
|23||60||University of Sydney||Australia||84.8|
|25||165||University of Auckland||New Zealand||84.4|
|26||96||Durham University||United Kingdom||84.2|
|27||76||Chinese University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong||83.4|
|28||129||University of York||United Kingdom||82.9|
|29||71||University of Bristol||United Kingdom||82.7|
|29||120||University of Copenhagen||Denmark||82.7|
|31||107||University of Alberta||Canada||81.6|
|32||22||University of Toronto||Canada||80|
|33||6||Harvard University||United States||79|
|34||173||University of Waterloo||Canada||77.7|
|36||3||Stanford University||United States||76.8|
|37||7||Princeton University||United States||76.7|
|38||63||University of Amsterdam||Netherlands||75|
|39||16||Columbia University||United States||74.9|
|41||33||Georgia Institute of Technology||United States||71.9|
|42||66||École Normale Supérieure||France||71.2|
|43||121||Pierre and Marie Curie University||France||70.9|
|44||75||Free University of Berlin||Germany||70.7|
|45||17||Johns Hopkins University||United States||70.5|
|46||70||Purdue University||United States||68.9|
|47||301-350||University of Strasbourg||France||68.2|
|48||113||University of Bonn||Germany||68|
|49||57||Humboldt University of Berlin||Germany||67.9|
|50||10||University of Chicago||United States||67.8|
|50||46||Technical University of Munich||Germany||67.8|
|52||2||California Institute of Technology||United States||67.6|
|53||87||Rice University||United States||67.1|
|54||201-250||Paris Diderot University – Paris 7||France||66.8|
|54||12||Yale University||United States||66.8|
|57||82||Technical University of Berlin||Germany||66.2|
|60||48||University of California, Santa Barbara||United States||64.7|
|60||19||Cornell University||United States||64.7|
|62||51||University of California, Davis||United States||64.6|
|63||201-250||École Normale Supérieure de Lyon||France||64.5|
|65||10||University of California, Berkeley||United States||64.1|
|66||98||University of California, Irvine||United States||62.6|
|67||144||Karlsruhe Institute of Technology||Germany||62.5|
|68||23||Carnegie Mellon University||United States||62.4|
|69||95||University of Freiburg||Germany||62.2|
|70||351-400||Paris-Sorbonne University – Paris 4||France||61.7|
|71||60||University of Southern California||United States||61.4|
|72||201-250||Goethe University Frankfurt||Germany||61.3|
|73||14||University of California, Los Angeles||United States||61.2|
|74||89||University of Tübingen||Germany||60.8|
|75||186||Hebrew University of Jerusalem||Israel||60.5|
|76||64||Boston University||United States||60.3|
|77||101||Michigan State University||United States||59.7|
|78||201-250||Stony Brook University||United States||59.4|
|79||151||University of Rochester||United States||59.1|
|80||18||Duke University||United States||58.9|
|81||112||University of Göttingen||Germany||58.8|
|82||51||Brown University||United States||58.5|
|83||32||New York University||United States||58|
|84||78||RWTH Aachen University||Germany||57.5|
|85||200||University of Illinois at Chicago||United States||57.4|
|86||20||Northwestern University||United States||57.3|
|87||201-250||Polytechnic University of Milan||Italy||56.3|
|88||165||University of Massachusetts||United States||55.8|
|89||401-500||Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1||France||55.5|
|90||351-400||Autonomous University of Madrid||Spain||55.3|
|90||25||University of Washington||United States||55.3|
|92||102||University of Mannheim||Germany||54.8|
|92||169||Texas A&M University||United States||54.8|
|94||21||University of Michigan||United States||54.7|
|94||72||Ohio State University||United States||54.7|
|97||36||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||United States||54.5|
|97||201-250||North Carolina State University||United States||54.5|
|99||201-250||Paris Descartes University||France||53.2|
|100||13||University of Pennsylvania||United States||53.1|
|101||41||University of California, San Diego||United States||53|
|102||146||University of California, Santa Cruz||United States||52.1|
|103||131||Arizona State University||United States||51.8|
|104||188||Lomonosov Moscow State University||Russian Federation||51.5|
|105||82||Emory University||United States||51.2|
|106||351-400||Polytechnic University of Turin||Italy||51.1|
|107||150||Indiana University||United States||50.6|
|108||143||University of Notre Dame||United States||50.4|
|109||104||Georgetown University||United States||49.9|
|110||68||Pennsylvania State University||United States||49|
|111||161||University of Münster||Germany||48.9|
|112||201-250||Florida State University||United States||48.8|
|112||251-300||Sapienza University of Rome||Italy||48.8|
|114||156||University of Arizona||United States||46.1|
|115||57||Washington University in St Louis||United States||45.6|
|116||45||University of Wisconsin-Madison||United States||45.5|
|117||116||University of Colorado Boulder||United States||45|
|117||121||University of Virginia||United States||45|
|119||67||University of Maryland, College Park||United States||43.9|
|120||53||University of Minnesota||United States||43.1|
|122||301-350||University of Georgia||United States||43|
|123||141||Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey||United States||42.9|
|124||126||Case Western Reserve University||United States||42.2|
|125||80||University of Pittsburgh||United States||42.1|
|126||301-350||Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology||Russian Federation||42|
|127||251-300||Yonsei University||South Korea||41.8|
|129||56||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||United States||41.4|
|130||50||University of Texas at Austin||United States||40.9|
|130||251-300||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||United States||40.9|
|132||82||Dartmouth College||United States||39.9|
|133||134||University of Florida||United States||39.6|
|134||201-250||University of Utah||United States||39|
|135||201-250||Korea University||South Korea||38.7|
|136||401-500||Renmin University of China||China||38.2|
|136||39||University of Tokyo||Japan||38.2|
|138||137||Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)||South Korea||38|
|139||201-250||University of Iowa||United States||37.2|
|140||89||Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)||South Korea||36.2|
|141||401-500||University of Tsukuba||Japan||36.1|
|143||251-300||Tokyo Institute of Technology||Japan||34.5|
|144||251-300||National Tsing Hua University||Taiwan||34.4|
|145||72||Seoul National University||South Korea||32.9|
|147||251-300||University of São Paulo||Brazil||32.6|
|148||195||National Taiwan University||Taiwan||32.3|
|150||104||Pohang University of Science and Technology||South Korea||32.1|