The 10 Best Universities in Europe in 2020

As in the past, so it is now. The top 10 European universities include UK, Swiss and German institutions. However, the UK universities take most of the top spots just as before. But what makes them so great throughout the decades?

Top 10 According to Times Higher Education

Institutions across the world are assessed on 5 factors. Their teaching environment, research environment, citations (research influence), industry income and international outlook determine the reason why they are on the top. 

Oxford University

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. Teachings have been recorded as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation after the University of Bologna. Admittance is very competitive with a 17,5% acceptance rate and a tuition fee of 9250 pounds for undergraduate studies in 2017. (Although many courses have different fees.)

Cambridge University

The University of Cambridge (legally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university.

The university has educated many notable alumni. As of 2019, there has been a recorded 117 Nobel Laureates, 11 Fields Medalists, 7 Turing Award winners, and 14 British Prime Ministers who have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, alumni, faculty, or research staff.

Imperial College London

Imperial College London is a world-class university with a mission to benefit society through excellence in science, engineering, medicine, and business. In 1907, Imperial College was established by royal charter, merging the three institutions.

The acceptance rate is at a staggering 14,3%, making it even harder to get accepted in many courses than in Oxford or Cambridge. Within the subject rankings, Imperial is ranking on the top in 5 major fields of study globally: pre-clinical and health category, physical sciences, computer science, engineering and technology, and life sciences.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich

ETH ZĂĽrich is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics university. It was founded in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, serve as a national center of excellence in science and technology, and provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and industry.

Admittance is not as tough on local or foreign students in comparison with the UK. But after the first year of study, bachelor students must pass a block examination of all courses taken in the first year, called the BasisprĂĽfung.

This is where it gets tough because if the average score is not sufficient, a student is required to retake the whole first year. About 50% of the students fail the BasisprĂĽfung on the first try and many of them choose to drop out of the course instead of repeating.

University College London

UCL is the third-largest university in the United Kingdom by total enrolment and the largest by postgraduate enrolment. Established in 1836, UCL makes the contested claims of being the third-oldest university in England and the first to admit women and ignore applicants’ religious views from the 19th century. Admission to UCL is highly selective making it the 9th highest in the country and 3rd in London. If you want to know how difficult that is, the acceptance rate for a course in Politics and Economics Bsc is 30:1 ratio. (Nearly 3% gets accepted in this course.)

Undergraduate subjects with the highest applicants to places ratio at UCL in 2015 included Architecture BSc (14:1 ratio),Economics BSc (Econ) (11:1 ratio), Engineering (Mechanical with Business Finance) MEng (10:1 ratio),[213] English BA (10:1 ratio),[214] Fine Art BA (23:1 ratio),[215] Law LL.B (16:1 ratio)[216] and Philosophy, Politics and Economics BSc (30:1 ratio).

London School of Economics and Political Science

The London School of Economics is a public research university located in London, England, and a member institution of the federal University of London. The LSE has more than 11,000 students and 3,300 staff, just under seventy percent of whom come from outside the UK. 155 nationalities are represented amongst LSE’s student body and the school has the second-highest percentage of international students (70%) of all world universities. The acceptance rate is once again a competitive 8,9% in 2016, with a tuition fee of 9250 pounds for nationals and around 18000 pounds for students outside of the EU or EEA region.

University of Edinburgh

Founded in 1582, it is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland’s ancient universities. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual center and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North. The University of Edinburgh had the 14th highest average entry qualification for undergraduates among UK universities as of 2018.

The number of places available for Scottish and EU students are capped by the Scottish Government. (This is because students do not have to pay tuition fees, hurray!)

Applicants from the UK and outside of the European Union have a higher likelihood of an offer.

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The University of Munich is Germany’s sixth-oldest university in continuous operation, Originally established in Ingolstadt in 1472. LMU has been considered for a long time as one of Germany’s as well as one of Europe’s most prestigious universities; with 42 Nobel laureates as of 2017. The admission fees for the university is 0. That’s right, it’s not a typo. It is completely free for all, making it a tough place to enter.

King’s College London

Now we are back in the UK again. King’s College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. It is the founding college and member institution of the federal University of London. King’s was established in 1829 by King George IV and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, claiming to be the fourth oldest in England. The acceptance rate in 2017 has been around 13% on average with tuition fees reaching 9000 pounds for nationals and 18000 pounds for non-EU or EEA citizens.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Ecole Polytechnique or commonly known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne in English is a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland. It specializes in natural sciences and engineering. Tuition fees are around 1,266 CHF for locals and internationals will meet similar prices. 

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