Top universities with the best student-to-staff ratio 2017

Data from the World University Rankings reveal the top universities with the best student-to-staff ratios

May 31 2017

A lower student-to-staff ratio can help students to cultivate closer relationships with their lecturers, have quicker access to essay feedback, and get involved in more interactive seminars and discussions.

Times Higher Education has created this table to show which universities have the best student-to-staff ratios in the world as a way to help students work out which universities could be best placed to provide this type of learning environment.

The list has been compiled using data from the latest THE World University Rankings. As part of the rankings, THE collects information on the staff and student numbers of each university, and from this we can calculate the student-to-staff ratio. The full methodology of the WUR can be found here. The table below shows the number of students per member of staff for each university. 

All the universities in the top five are specialist institutions, with four of them dedicated to medical teaching. As these universities combine practical experience alongside theoretical learning, it may be that they require higher numbers of staff to support this teaching structure.

It is also the case that many specialist universities have smaller student bodies, with higher numbers of teaching staff and faculty. However, some universities on this list – such as Johns Hopkins University and Duke University – have high student populations (about 15,000 each), so this isn’t always the case.

The US dominates the list, with 32 universities featured. Japan comes in second with 26 universities. The rest of the top 100 features universities from Russia, France, India and China. Noticeably, universities based in the UK are absent from the top 100. 

The top five universities with the best student-to-staff ratio

Scroll down to see the full table

1. Oregon Health and Science University 

Oregon Health and Science University is a public university with a main campus and two hospitals in Portland, Oregon, US. It was founded in 1887.

The institution offers degree programmes in dentistry, medicine and nursing. It is a functioning hospital, simultaneously treating patients, training healthcare professionals and conducting important healthcare research.

Oregon Health and Science University is also one of the largest employers in the state, and has launched many community programmes to improve the health of Oregon’s residents.

The university’s Knight Cancer Institute helped to pioneer medicine through a discovery that identified how to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy ones. The Brain Institute scientists are nationally recognised for discoveries that have led to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Saitama Medical University 

Since Saitama Medical University was founded in 1972, it has expanded from just 80 students to a multi-faculty school. The university provides hands-on experience for all students in one of the four affiliated hospitals.

In 2003, the university established the Medical Education Centre, a place where students and staff learn alongside each other in an environment where undergraduate and postgraduate students and practising physicians mix.

The university campus is located an hour to the north of central Tokyo. 


Student experience

University of Nebraska Medical Center: learning in the lab and on the ward
Student life at a medical university with a high staff-to-student ratio


=3. Rush University 

Rush University is another specialist medical university in this top five. Located in the Illinois Medical District in Chicago, US, the university is part of a hub of patient care, research and education.

The university encourages community services among its students, and many regularly take part in community work. 

The Rush University Medical Center (the hospital associated with the university) was Chicago’s first major hospital and remains a highly regarded medical centre across the US. The university offers courses in nursing, medicine, biomedical research and allied health.

The college is named after Benjamin Rush, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and a Pennsylvanian physician who counted George Washington as one of his patients.

=3.Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

The institution is a National Centre of the Government of India and works under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy. 

The university was founded at the time of India’s independence in 1945 to promote advanced scientific research. The university’s initial research focus was high-energy physics, cosmic rays and mathematics. Over time, the research focus has broadened to include physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and science education. The institution was also the birthplace of India’s atomic energy programme, and the country’s first digital computer was built at the university in 1957. 

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research was given official university status in June 2002 and is currently building a new campus in Hyderabad to house more research labs and accommodation. There are also campuses in Pune and Bangalore.

Located at the southernmost tip of Mumbai, the university combines rural features such as botanical gardens with the nearby bustling city centre.

5. Jikei University School of Medicine

Jikei University School of Medicine is a private university in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The word “jikei” means mercy and love in Japanese.

With 2,700 beds and 7,500 outpatients per day, Jikei University Hospitals is considered one of the largest educational hospital systems in the country. The university also has an international exchange programme with King’s College London and the University of Leeds

Jikei has four university hospitals – Katsushika Medical Center, Daisan Hospital in Chofu Komae, the Kashiwa Hospital in Chiba and the Jikei University School of Medicine Triton Clinic in Harumi.

The top 100 universities with the best student-to-staff ratio

Rank University name Country/Region Number of students per one member of staff 
1 Oregon Health and Science University US 1.1
2 Saitama Medical University Japan 1.5
=3 Rush University US 2.2
=3 Tata Institute of Fundamental Research India 2.2
5 Jikei University School of Medicine Japan 2.4
=6 University of Nebraska Medical Center US 2.5
=6 Showa University Japan 2.5
8 Vanderbilt University US 3.1
9 Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan 3.2
10 Johns Hopkins University US 3.5
=11 Bauman Moscow State Technical University Russia 3.7
=11 Juntendo University Japan 3.7
13 Free University of Bozen-Bolzano Italy  4.1
14 University of Copenhagen Denmark 4.2
=15 Yale University US 4.4
=15 Emory University US 4.4
=17 University of Rochester US 4.5
=17 Wake Forest University US 4.5
19 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden 4.6
20 Duke University US 4.8
=21 Yokohama City University Japan 5.0
=21 École Polytechnique France 5.0
=23 National Yang-Ming University Taiwan 5.2
=23 Federal University of Goiás Brazil 5.2
25 Tohoku University Japan 5.4
=26 Mines ParisTech France 5.5
=26 Saint Petersburg State University Russia 5.5
=26 Kyoto University Japan 5.5
=29 Technical University of Denmark Denmark 5.7
=29 Saint Louis University US 5.7
=29 Washington University in St Louis US 5.7
32 Central European University Hungary 5.8
33 University of Pittsburgh US 5.9
=34 Peter the Great St Petersburg Polytechnic University Russia 6.0
=34 Columbia University US 6.0
=34 University of Miami US 6.0
37 University of Zurich Switzerland 6.1
38 University of Chicago US 6.2
39 ESPCI ParisTech France 6.3
=40 Tomsk Polytechnic University Russia 6.5
=40 University of Pennsylvania US 6.5
=42 University of California, San Diego US 6.6
=42 Kyushu University Japan 6.6
=42 Case Western Reserve University US 6.6
=42 New York University US 6.6
=46 California Institute of Technology US 6.7
=46 Novosibirsk State University Russia 6.7
=46 Dartmouth College US 6.7
=49 King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Saudi Arabia 6.8
=49 National University of the South Argentina 6.8
51 University of Yamanashi Japan 6.9
52 University of Tokyo Japan 7.0
=53 Oita University Japan 7.1
=53 Nagasaki University Japan 7.1
55 Jiangsu University China 7.2
=56 Capital Medical University China 7.3
=56 Norwegian University of Life Sciences Norway 7.3
=58 Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan 7.4
=58 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia 7.4
=58 Osaka Prefecture University Japan 7.4
=61 Kumamoto University Japan 7.5
=61 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill US 7.5
=63 Osaka University Japan 7.6
=63 University of Kansas US 7.6
=65 Mahidol University Thailand 7.7
=65 Southern Federal University Russia 7.7
=65 Stanford University US 7.7
68 Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Russia 7.8
=69 National University of Sciences and Technology Pakistan 8.0
=69 Nagoya University Japan 8.0
=69 Nagoya City University Japan 8.0
=69 Pierre and Marie Curie University France 8.0
=73 Hokkaido University Japan 8.1
=73 University of Science and Technology of China China 8.1
=73 Tehran University of Medical Sciences Iran 8.1
=73 Kobe University Japan 8.1
=77 Okayama University Japan 8.2
=77 Linköping University Sweden 8.2
=77 Hiroshima University Japan 8.2
=77 Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv Ukraine 8.2
=77 Tottori University Japan 8.2
=82 Tomsk State University Russia 8.3
=82 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia 8.3
=82 Yamagata University Japan 8.3
=82 Indian Institute of Science India 8.3
=86 University of Alaska Fairbanks US 8.4
=86 Princeton University US 8.4
=86 Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) Brazil 8.4
=86 École Normale Supérieure de Lyon France 8.4
=86 Boston University US 8.4
=91 Niigata University Japan 8.5
=91 Sultan Qaboos University Oman 8.5
=93 National Institute of Applied Sciences of Lyon (INSA Lyon) France 8.6
=93 Georgetown University US 8.6
95 Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research United Arab Emirates 8.7
=96 American University of Beirut Lebanon 8.8
=96 National Technical University of Ukraine – Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Ukraine 8.8
=96 Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod Russia 8.8
=96 University of Michigan US 8.8
=96 Harvard University US 8.8
=96 RUDN University Russia 8.8
=96 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US 8.8
=96 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 8.8
=96 Peking University China 8.8
=96 University of Neuchâtel Switzerland 8.8

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