Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden fourth Dutch university in QS Ranking

Leiden University occupies the 95th place in the QS World University Ranking, making it the fourth Dutch university in the Ranking. In 2014 Leiden was in 75th position. However, a radical new measuring method makes comparison with previous years problematic.


QS published its ranking on 15 September. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology leads the ranking, followed by Harvard University in second place, and the University of Cambridge in third. In total, five Dutch universities have made it to the top 100:

  1. University of Amsterdam (55)
  2. Delft University of Technology (64)
  3. Utrecht University (94)
  4. Leiden University (95)
  5. University of Groningen (100)

Assessment criteria

The most important factor in the QS Ranking is the university’s scientific reputation, which accounts for 40 percent of the final score and is determined by means of a survey among fellow scientists. The other determining factors are

  • Citations (20%)
  • Staff-student ratio (20%)
  • Employer reputation (10%)
  • Proportion of international scientific staff (5%)
  • Proportion of international students (5%)

Ranking per research field

QS also formulates separate rankings for each research field based solely on reputation among fellow scientists. In this assessment, Leiden University occupies 40th place in the field of Arts & Humanities, making it the only Dutch university in the top 50. In the field of Life Sciences & Medicine, Leiden also appears in the top 100, in 58th position. In the field of Law Leiden has for many years occupied the 23rd place.

Major changes

This year QS has decided to allow the five research fields for which citations are determined to weigh equally in the ranking. Until now the weight given to a research field was determined by the size of the field in question. For Leiden, this means for example that the field of Life Sciences & Medicine now only accounts for 20% instead of 50%. Overall, these changes result in a lower place in the ranking for universities with a Medical Centre, and a higher place for universities that conduct a lot of research in social sciences, humanities, and technology and engineering.

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