THE Latin America University Rankings 2018: new faces in group portrait

A dramatic increase in ranked institutions reflects growing competition in the region, writes Phil Baty

July 18, 2018
Crowd taking photos
Source: Getty

Browse the full Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings 2018 results

Last year’s Latin America rankings might be remembered as much for the universities missing from the list as for those that made it.

As a developing pilot exercise in a continent where universities are sensitive to being measured against criteria established for the world’s very best (and let us be honest, often the world’s richest) research universities, some institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean have been hesitant to take part in the rankings. So the 2017 rankings had many notable missing institutions.

But in 2018 – thanks to the mounting recognition that universities across the region need to embrace global data comparisons to help them develop and compete on the world stage – we are delighted to welcome many new faces to the Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings. Absent last year, for example, was the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, which re-enters this year’s rankings at number 18. (It appeared in the 2016 table, but it provided insufficient data to be ranked last year.) Peru’s Cayetano Heredia University joins the list for the first time, taking joint 41st place. Jamaica’s University of the West Indies debuts in the top 40.

The highest ranked new entrant for 2018 is Brazil’s Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, which makes its debut at number 10. We are also pleased to see Argentina’s National University of San Martín make the list for the first time in 19th place. In total, we were able to collect sufficiently rich and robust data to rank 129 institutions from across Latin America and the Caribbean, compared with 82 institutions last year.

We thank all participating universities for their cooperation in collecting and sharing institutional data. THE believes passionately that greater accountability and transparency, with more information made available for public engagement and more data analysed for universities’ global benchmarking, will play a major role in helping Latin American institutions to improve. We work in full cooperation with the universities that we include in the rankings, with data shared freely and voluntarily, and we look forward to working with all ranked universities to share our analysis and insights.

The dramatic increase in institutions’ engagement with these rankings has not come without some lingering disappointments, however. Some universities are still notable by their absence. We would like to see engagement from universities in Paraguay, for example, and the fact that Argentina’s flagship University of Buenos Aires has chosen not to subject itself to THE ’s rigorous global performance analysis is a matter of regret. With seven Argentinian universities in the top 60, Buenos Aires’ refusal leaves an incomplete picture of the region.

From the rich performance data that we now have, however, we can make one clear and simple conclusion: the Latin American higher education sector, while under considerable strain and with limited resources, is a diverse community with great potential. THE is pleased to be able to share data and insights that will support the region’s universities. 

Phil Baty is editorial director, global rankings.

Countries represented in the Latin America university rankings 2018


Number of institutions in top 101+

Top institution




State University of Campinas




Pontifical Catholic University of Chile




Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education




University of the Andes, Colombia




National University of San Martín




University of San Francisco, Quito




Pontifical Catholic University of Peru




Simón Bolívar University


Costa Rica


University of Costa Rica




University of the West Indies


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