International rankings

As well as these university rankings there are also rankings at programme level that are primarily useful for helping prospective students to choose the right programme.

Leiden ranking

The Leiden Ranking is a research ranking, based on bibliometric indicators, that has been developed by the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) in Leiden. 

The Leiden Ranking presents five different rankings, each of which is based on different indicators. Only universities with more than 400 publications indexed in the Web of Science annually are assessed in the rankings. The Leiden ranking also presents the different rankings in three different groups based on the number of publications; the top 100 to 250 European universities, and the 100, 250 and 500 universities worldwide with the most publications.   

Leiden University is 91st in the 250 worldwide universities with the most publications for the period 2004-2009. There are 12 Dutch universities in this top 250. The ranking is based on the ‘Lighter green ranking’; field-normalised average impact. Only Erasmus University (in 10th position) and the Vrije Universiteit (85th position) are ranked higher than Leiden.  

Leiden Ranking

ARWU ranking

The ARWU ranking, published by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, is also a research ranking. In the ARWU top 100, Leiden ranks 70th (August 2010) of universities throughout the world. Utrecht University, in 50th place, is the only other Dutch university in the ARWU top 100. 

The first four places are held by American universities, led by Harvard. The first European university is Cambridge, in fourth position. The ARWU also reports assessments by research field. Leiden is among the top 100 in the Medicine and Pharmacy fields (36th position) and in Pharmacy (in the range between 51 - 75).  

The ARWU only measures research results. The ARWU researchers take into account more than 1000 universities worldwide. The best 500 of these are included in the ranking. Important criteria measured by the ARWU are the number of Nobel prizes and Field Medals received by staff and graduates of a university, as well as the number of well-cited researchers affiliated to the university. The number of publications by staff in such journals as Nature and Science also weighs heavily.  

ARWU ranking

THE and QS Ranking

Until 2010 THE and QS published a joint ranking. From 2010, QS and THE, together with a new partner Thomson Reuters, have published their own ranking, the methodology for which has been modified. A comparison with previous years is therefore not meaningful. 2010 can be regarded as a new start. 

The Times Higher Education (THE) ranking

The THE ranking (September 2010) places Leiden in 124th position. There are ten Dutch universities in he Top 200, of which the Technical University Eindhoven is ranked highest, in 124th place.  Leiden University has been ranked as second Dutch university after Eindhoven.

Places from one to five are occupied by American universities. Harvard University is in first place. The best placed European university is Cambridge, in 6th position. 

Since 2010, THE has applied new methodology. The ranking gives fresh insight into the position of universities across the following clusters:  clusters: teaching (30%), research influences (32,5%), research: volume, income and reputation (30%), international mix: staff and students (5%) and industry income: innovation: (2,5%). The scores on the clusters are based on 13 separate performance indicators, each with its own weighting.

THE ranking

QS World University Rankings

In the QS Ranking (September 2010) Leiden occupies 82nd position. In total there are four Dutch universities in the top 100, the most highly placed being the UvA in 55th position. Leiden is the second highest ranking Dutch university.  Cambridge University is in first place, followed by Harvard and Yale in the US.   

The QS also gives a ranking by academic discipline. Leiden is ranked highest in the humanities (38th), followed by natural sciences (64th), social sciences (70th) and life sciences (112nd).  
The QS Ranking is compiled on the basis of six indicators: reputation (40%), quality of research (citations; 20%), student-staff ratio (20%), quality of graduates (10%), percentage of international students (5%) and percentage of international staff (5%).

QS Rankings

Help with choosing a study

Studiekeuze 123

The ARWU, THE, QS and Leiden Rankings compare the quality of universities as a whole, with the ARWU and the Leiden ranking being based only on research results. The THE and QS rankings are based on both research results and teaching performance.

The Studiekeuze 123 site has been developed to help students make their choice of the best Dutch university or college to study for a particular bachelor's or master's programme. This site allows students to compare programmes on the basis of different criteria.  

On the basis of a number of criteria that prospective students can set themselves, it is possible to make a personal ranking of programmes and of the institutions in the Netherlands where these programmes are offered. Studiekeuze 123 is an independent and non-commercial website that provides transparent information on Dutch universities and colleges. 


CHE ranking

A database has been developed in Germany comparing (German language) institutions of higher education at programme level: the Hochschulrankingcompiled by the (independent) Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung (CHE). This database is regarded worldwide as the best of its kind. CHE scores an institution at programme level, rather than as a whole. The programmes are then classified in groups, rather than individually. This method makes it possible to take account of the diversity of the participating institutions.  

The CHE Ranking is reviewed in a three-year cycle. Leiden provided information for the bachelor's programmes in Maths, Information Science, Natural Science, Chemistry, Biology, Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Programmes from the Humanities and Social Sciences have been included in the 2010 CHE ranking. 

CHE ranking

CHE Excellence ranking

As well as the CHE Ranking, CHE also publishes the CHE Excellence ranking, that allows master's students and PhD candidates to make a comparison of university research centres in Europe. This ranking compares a selected group of European universities in the following fields: biology, chemistry, natural sciences, maths, economics, political sciences and psychology. CHE collaborates with the Leiden CWTS and uses the Leiden Ranking for the different specialist fields. The CHE Excellence ranking provides data on more than 2000 research groups in 19 European countries.

CHE Excellence Ranking

In 2007, the CHE carried out a review of the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, maths). Psychology, political sciences and economics were reviewed in 2009.

Leiden University is in the Excellence group for biology, chemistry, physics, political sciences and psychology. The University distinguishes itself in all these fields for the large number of citations and the many publications by academics.

Zeit Online Rankings Leiden University


Last Modified: 16-05-2012