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University of Copenhagen
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University of Copenhagen sinks to 114th place on Times ranking

Denmark's oldest university is no longer in the top 100 on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) continues its slide down the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking: After dropping 12 places last year, it has fallen a further 18 places so it is now at 114th — only just ahead of the other large Danish higher education institution, Aarhus University, at 117th.

»It is always regrettable to lose places on the ranking front. UCPH has generally been lower on Times Higher Education’s ranking than on other recognized rankings, and has moved back and forwards over the years. Within the last ten years we have been everywhere between 160 and 84,« says Vice Director for Research and Innovation at the University of Copenhagen Kim Brinckmann.

Among Nordic neighbours, Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet is at 49th place. Finland’s best performing University of Helsinki is at 110th place, while Norway’s University of Oslo is at 126th.

As a continent, Europe continues to lose position relative to Asia, according to Times Higher Education.


THE World University Rankings (2023): 114th

Academic Ranking of World Universities —Shanghai (2022): 39th

QS World University Rankings (2023):  82nd

Leiden ranking (no topline number released)

You have to run very fast to stand still in the global rankings

Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, THE World University Ranking

»Europe is of course a thriving powerhouse of world-class higher education and research, but a significant shift in the balance of power in the knowledge economy has taken place, with Asian universities now outnumbering those from Europe in the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings,« says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at Times Higher Education.

He adds that »you have to run very fast to stand still in the global rankings and losing ground can risk a vicious circle of gradually losing access to global talent and partnerships.«

The top five spots on the 2023 ranking are taken by the University of Oxford (UK), Harvard University (US), University of Cambridge (UK), Stanford University (US) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US) in that order.

The THE methodology traditionally gives a higher rank to Anglo-American institutions than other rankings, and this year is no exception: Outside the UK and US, it is ETH Zurich of Switzerland that is the highest-ranked (European continent) university with 11th place.

Danish universities in the TIMES ranking

  • University of Copenhagen ( = 114th)
  • Aarhus University (= 117th)
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU) (= 166th)
  • Aalborg University (201-250 range)
  • Copenhagen Business School (251-300 range)
  • University of Southern Denmark (251-300 range)


THE is one of four rankings that the University of Copenhagen uses as a benchmark, with the others being the ARWU — Shanghai ranking, the QS ranking and the CWTS Leiden ranking (see fact box top right).

The THE, in particular, has been a rollercoaster ride for the University of Copenhagen, with its rank wobbling back and forth from between 51st to 177th and back since 2010.

1,799 universities from 104 countries and regions are included in the THE World University Rankings and the full 2023 list can be seen here.

The Times ranking draws on an analysis of research publications, citations, responses to an academic reputation survey, teaching environment, international outlook and industry links.

But vice director for research and innovation at UCPH Kim Brinckmann also reckons that the size of host countries plays a role in university’s ranking placement.

»This ranking places a lot of weight on reputation in both education and research, where it is unclear who it is that is ‘voting’ on which universities, and where universities from smaller nations will typically be more challenged. But from the numbers we can see that UCPH follows a general trend where Western European universities in particular are losing ground to Asian and, in particular, Chinese universities.«

You can see THE’s own methodology summary here.