Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University is among the top 100 universities in four prominent international rankings.

Worldwide rankings, or ‘university league tables’, were introduced nearly 15 years ago. These lists attract considerable attention when they are published, both within and outside universities. It is important to realise, however, that they offer only a very limited, sometimes imperfect and even misleading picture of the quality of a university as a whole. The Leiden Centre for Science and Technology Studies has therefore formulated ten principles for the design, interpretation and use of rankings.

Leiden is among the top universities in the most prominent international rankings. These are based on sometimes quite different indicators, which again serves to confirm the broad quality of the education and research at Leiden University. Universities of the Netherlands gives an overview of the scores of all Dutch universities in these rankings.

ARWU Ranking

The ARWU Ranking is concerned only with research results. More than 1,000 universities worldwide are compared and the best 500 appear in the rankings. The main criteria for inclusion are the number of Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals awarded to staff and alumni, and the number of researchers at the university who have high citation scores. Publications in journals such as Nature and Science also important criteria. In 2022, Leiden University is in place 101-150.
ARWU ranking

THE World University Rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) has published the THE World University Rankings since 2004. Until 2010 this was in collaboration with the QS higher education research agency. The THE World University Ranking produces a top 200 of the world’s best universities based on 13 indicators. The institutions themselves provide the data for the THE ranking. The ranking is also largely based on a reputation survey among international scholars.

Worldwide, Leiden University is in 77th place (2022-2023). In The Netherlands, Leiden is in 6th position, behind Wageningen University & Research, the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology and the University of Groningen.
THE World University Rankings

Ranking by subject

THE also publishes a ranking by subject, the so-called The World University Rankings by subject. In this ranking Leiden University is in the following positions:

Subject Position

Arts and Humanities


Social Sciences




Clinical, pre-clinical & health


Physical Sciences 60
Psychology 98

THE Reputation Ranking

As well as the World University Ranking, the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine also publishes a ranking based on the reputation survey that it distributed among scholars. Only the top 100 are indicated in the ranking. Leiden is in the 61-70 range (2019).
THE Reputation Ranking

QS World University Rankings

The QS Ranking is compiled annually on the basis of a survey among a large number of academics and a study among employers. The ranking takes account of the quality of teaching and academic publications, as well as the staff-student ratio and citations. 

In the ranking of the best universities in the world, Leiden University is in 131th position. After Wageningen University & Research (124) and Utrecht University (112).

QS Ranking by subject

Alongside a general ranking, QS also publishes a number of rankings by subject (in 2022, five broad subject areas and 51 subjects). These are based on a combination of academic and employer reputation surveys, alongside two publication and citation indicators. The weighting is adapted for each discipline.

In the broad subject areas, Leiden University takes 31st place in the top 100 in Arts & Humanities, 75th place in Life Sciences & Medicine and 92nd place in Social Sciences & Management. It is also possible to compare universities by specific subject. Depending on the subject, the first 50, 100 or even 150 universities will then be ranked. A number of Leiden research fields have been ranked in the top 30:





Archaeology 7
Classics & Ancient History 9



Law & Legal Studies


Pharmacy & Pharmacology


Politics & International Studies 20
Development Studies 23

QS Top Universities Subject Rankings

Leiden Ranking

The Leiden Ranking charts the academic performance of 500 major universities throughout the world. Using a group of refined bibliometric indicators, the ranking aims to make an accurate measurement of the degree to which we collaborate with other universities. In the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020 Leiden University is ranked 100th worldwide, and 6th in the Netherlands.
Leiden Ranking

Reuters Top 100: Europe's Most Innovative Universities

In the ranking of innovative European universities published by Reuters, Leiden is in 14th position (in 2019), first in the Netherlands.  KU Leuven heads the list.
Reuters Top 100

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