Most international universities in the world 2018: top 200

Explore the top 200 most international universities in the world using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

March 14 2018

Prospective students looking to study in the most international environments in the world should look to apply 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 they tackle some of the globe’s most pressing problems through research.

But this table, compiled using the international student score, international staff score, international co-authorship score and international reputation metrics collected for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, 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 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 them to become global citizens.

International student experience

Life as an international student at EPFL, Switzerland
A year abroad at university in Switzerland
Discovering my passion at the University of Hong Kong
International perspective: a Vietnamese student in Paris
My experience as an international student at the University of Geneva
International perspective: a Dutch student in Denmark
Foreigners in Japan: student stories

Top five most international universities in the world

1. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

It is no surprise that Switzerland is home to the 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.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has a particularly strong reputation in engineering, with 13 engineering science programmes, and more recently it has become known for its work in the life sciences, and also has strong computer science programmes. 

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.

2. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

ETH Zurich is located 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 19,000 students from over 120 countries and is the top university in continental Europe. 

The university focuses on teaching and research in the STEM subjects and 21 Nobel prizes have been awarded to students and teachers at the institution. One of the most famous alumni is Albert Einstein. 

3. University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong has embarked on a 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, with almost 8,000 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 who 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.

Applying to university overseas 

How international students use social media to choose a UK university
The benefits of an international placement during your degree
Applying to university overseas: what to consider
Applying through Ucas as an international student
A guide for international students choosing a university in Australia
Hoping to apply to a US university as a foreign student?
How to choose a UK university
The cost of studying at a university in the UK

4. National University of Singapore

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.

In addition, the university has collaborations with two leading US institutions, Duke University (the Duke-NUS Medical School) and Yale University (Yale-NUS College).

5. Imperial College London

More than half of Imperial College London’s 15,000 students are international, coming from more than 125 countries.

Many of these overseas students are attracted to the university not only for its world-renowned teaching and research but because of its location in one of the most international and dynamic cities in the world.

Most international universities in the world 2018: top 200

Most international rank 2018 World University rank 2018 University  Country/region
1 =38 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
2 =10 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland
3 40 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
4 =22 National University of Singapore Singapore
5 8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
=6 52 Nanyang Technological University Singapore
=6 =130 University of Geneva Switzerland
8 1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
9 2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
10 48 Australian National University Australia
11 =25 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
12 16 UCL United Kingdom
13 =153 Technical University of Denmark Denmark
14 36 King’s College London United Kingdom
15 =165 University of Vienna Austria
16 32 University of Melbourne Australia
17 201–250 Copenhagen Business School Denmark
18 63 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
19 91 University of Warwick United Kingdom
20 =27 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
21 =143 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
22 136 University of Zurich Switzerland
23 85 University of New South Wales Australia
24 =34 University of British Columbia Canada
25 65 University of Queensland Australia
26 =54 University of Manchester United Kingdom
27 =117 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
28 115 École Polytechnique France
29 58 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
30 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
31 97 Durham University United Kingdom
32 =80 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
33 44 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
=34 =173 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
=34 42 McGill University Canada
=36 192 University of Auckland New Zealand
=36 61 University of Sydney Australia
=38 =119 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
=38 =80 Monash University Australia
40 =119 University of Alberta Canada
41 =147 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
=42 =72 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
=42 104 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
44 108 University of Montreal Canada
45 =109 University of Copenhagen Denmark
46 76 University of Bristol United Kingdom
47 139 University of Leeds United Kingdom
48 =130 University of Exeter United Kingdom
49 =182 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
50 =22 University of Toronto Canada
=51 6 Harvard University United States
=51 129 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
53 93 Lund University Sweden
54 78 McMaster University Canada
=55 190 Aalto University Finland
=55 =109 Aarhus University Denmark
=57 24 Carnegie Mellon University United States
=57 7 Princeton University United States
59 =3 Stanford University United States
=60 171 University of Cape Town South Africa
=60 201–250 University of Waterloo Canada
62 59 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
=63 =38 Karolinska Institute Sweden
=63 146 University of Oslo Norway
=65 =134 Stockholm University Sweden
=65 =83 University of Groningen Netherlands
67 14 Columbia University United States
=68 67 Leiden University Netherlands
=68 =86 Uppsala University Sweden
70 =72 Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
71 33 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
72 88 Free University of Berlin Germany
73 47 KU Leuven Belgium
74 60 Purdue University United States
75 13 Johns Hopkins University United States
76 19 Cornell University United States
77 45 Heidelberg University Germany
78 9 University of Chicago United States
79 62 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
80 =86 Rice University United States
81 18 University of California, Berkeley United States
82 =54 University of California, Davis United States
83 41 Technical University of Munich Germany
84 53 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
=85 68 Utrecht University Netherlands
=85 12 Yale University United States
87 =34 LMU Munich Germany
88 99 University of California, Irvine United States
89 107 Ghent University Belgium
90 133 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany
91 140 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
=92 =147 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
=92 =3 California Institute of Technology United States
=92 196 Paris-Sorbonne University – Paris 4 France
95 =70 Boston University United States
=96 201–250 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
=96 =123 Pierre and Marie Curie University France
98 94 University of Tübingen Germany
99 66 University of Southern California United States
=100 =83 Michigan State University United States
=100 15 University of California, Los Angeles United States
102 90 University of Helsinki Finland
103 17 Duke University United States
104 =10 University of Pennsylvania United States
105 79 RWTH Aachen University Germany
106 =100 University of Bonn Germany
107 181 Paris-Sud University France
108 =50 Brown University United States
109 20 Northwestern University United States
110 201–250 Tel Aviv University Israel
111 301–350 Polytechnic University of Milan Italy
112 501–600 Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1 France
113 =27 New York University United States
=114 201–250 University of Barcelona Spain
=114 191 University of Massachusetts United States
116 =70 Ohio State University United States
117 125 University of Mannheim Germany
118 37 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
119 31 University of California, San Diego United States
120 =126 Arizona State University United States
121 =159 Texas A&M University United States
122 21 University of Michigan United States
123 =25 University of Washington United States
124 201–250 University of Bologna Italy
125 251–300 North Carolina State University United States
126 184 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
127 98 Emory University United States
128 =50 Washington University in St Louis United States
129 =162 University of California, Santa Cruz United States
130 77 Pennsylvania State University United States
131 194 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
132 =117 Indiana University United States
133 =150 University of Notre Dame United States
134 161 University of Arizona United States
=135 301–350 Sapienza University of Rome Italy
=135 43 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
137 601–800 National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico
138 201–250 Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea
139 =100 University of Colorado Boulder United States
=140 501–600 Complutense University of Madrid Spain
=140 =27 Peking University China
142 201–250 Korea University South Korea
=143 =143 University of Florida United States
=143 =113 University of Virginia United States
145 172 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
146 501–600 Tomsk State University Russian Federation
147 =56 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
148 =111 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
149 =169 Nanjing University China
150 69 University of Maryland, College Park United States
151 =100 University of Pittsburgh United States
=152 =56 University of Minnesota United States
=152 49 University of Texas at Austin United States
154 251–300 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Russian Federation
155 89 Dartmouth College United States
156 401–500 Tongji University China
157 201–250 University of Iowa United States
158 =105 Vanderbilt University United States
159 401–500 National Research Nuclear University MEPhI Russian Federation
160 46 The University of Tokyo Japan
161 30 Tsinghua University China
162 351–400 Higher School of Economics Russian Federation
163 601–800 Waseda University Japan
164 =74 Seoul National University South Korea
165 401–500 University of Tsukuba Japan
166 =198 National Taiwan University Taiwan
167 =95 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea
168 251–300 University of São Paulo Brazil
169 116 Fudan University China
=170 401–500 Novosibirsk State University Russian Federation
=170 201–250 Tohoku University Japan
172 251–300 Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan
173 201–250 Osaka University Japan
174 401–500 Saint Petersburg State University Russian Federation
175 =188 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
176 401–500 Wuhan University China
177 =74 Kyoto University Japan
178 401–500 State University of Campinas Brazil
179 301–350 National Tsing Hua University Taiwan
180 401–500 Hokkaido University Japan
181 351–400 Kyushu University Japan
182 301–350 Nagoya University Japan
183 351–400 Sun Yat-sen University China
184 601–800 Keio University Japan
185 501–600 Harbin Institute of Technology China
186 132 University of Science and Technology of China China
187 251–300 Indian Institute of Science India
188 =177 Zhejiang University China

Note: To be eligible a university must have at least 100 reputation votes in total (research and teaching) and at least 50 votes from the local country, or 10 per cent of the local voters.

Read more: International student table 2017: top 200 universities

Reader's comments (2)

Hello My name is jasmine and I'm 17. I'm studing last year of high school in Iran and my field is biology . I'm really interested in biology specially in genetics and I am looking for more imformation about the universities that I can ask them to give me information . If you know any that can help me please email me . thanks .
It would be good to know what league tables exist which are authored by France as I notice they feature at places 28, 70, =92, =96, 107 and 112.

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