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. The VSNU 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. Leiden University is in 74th place in the ARWU ranking (2018). 
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. Leiden University is in 67th place (2019-2020).
THE ranking

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



Arts and Humanities


Social Sciences




Clinical, pre-clinical & health


Physical Sciences 70

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 71-80 range (2018).
THE reputation

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. Besides the general ranking, QS also produces a ranking by research field based only on the reputation among fellow academics. Leiden University is in 118th place in the ranking of the world’s best universities. It is the fifth Dutch university in the ranking, after TU Delft (50), University of Amsterdam (64), TU Eindhoven (102) and University of Groningen (114).

It is also possible to compare universities by research field. In this assessment Leiden University is in 32nd place with Arts and Humanitie. Life Sciences & Medicine is in 66th place.

Universities can also be compared by discipline. The first 50 are given a specific place in the ranking. A number of Leiden research fields have been ranked in the top 30:

  • Archaeology  (10)
  • Anthropology (30)
  • Classics & Ancient History (8)
  • History (20)
  • Law (26)
  • Pharmacy & Pharmacology (17)
  • Politics & International Studies (29)
  • Social Policy & Administration (24)

Top Universities

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. Leiden University is in 99th place in the Leiden Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) ranking for 2019.
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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