What are the cons of participating in Caltech

University ranking: Germany is improving in an international university comparison

Once again, universities all over the world had to be measured against each other. The magazine Times Higher Education has chosen the 200 best universities of 2011/2012 in its annual ranking. Contrary to expectations, this time the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is at the top. Since the ranking was introduced eight years ago, the elite US University of Harvard has always topped the list. It is now in second place with Stanford.

Great Britain's traditional universities of Oxford and Cambrige occupy places 4 and 6. The best university outside the USA and Great Britain is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich in 15th place. The best German university is Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU), which is based on Rank 45 on the list.

This makes LMU the only German university that made it into the top 50. The best-placed German university of the previous year, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, landed in 69th place. The University of Heidelberg and the Technical University of Munich are also among the top 100 universities with 73rd and 88th place. This is followed by the Humboldt University of Berlin (109th place), the Free University of Berlin (151st place), the Rheinisch-Westfälisch Technische Hochschule Aachen (168th place), the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (187th place) ), the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg (189th place), the University of Konstanz (194th place) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (196).

This puts Germany in fourth place in an international comparison, behind the USA, Great Britain and the Netherlands. "The rest of the world has followed Germany's first-rate initiatives in higher education closely," says Phil Baty, editor of this international university ranking. "It seems that the strong and ambitious investments in Germany's universities are paying off."

In order to compare the universities, the magazine has developed a points system based on 13 indicators, which take into account, for example, surveys on the reputation of the institutions, the supervisory ratio between teaching staff and students, the income of the university in relation to the academic staff and the citations of the institutions in specialist journals.

However, the ranking does not include the equipping of universities with equipment or books. Because no global standards have been established, the quality of teaching is not included. The data is collected by the information company Thompson Reuters, which asks professors about the reputation of other universities, but not students.

One reason for this is probably the selection of the target group: The ranking is aimed primarily at academic staff, said publisher Phil Baty sueddeutsche.de . Above all, it is about the working conditions and career opportunities at individual institutions.

In the past, the ranking was primarily criticized because not enough experts were interviewed at the universities to get really useful results. That changed that Times-Higher-Education Magazine for this year.