While there are a number of university rankings available, each using slightly different measures, they generally favour older, well-established institutions. For example, in the Times Higher Education top 3, Caltech was established in 1891 and Harvard in 1636. Oxford University has no known date of foundation, but evidence of teaching exists from as early as the 11th Century.

Clearly, however, there are many significantly younger, very good, universities across the world. But, which are the best?

Within the Times Higher Education’s World University Ranking is a specific category looking at universities under the age of 50. It uses the same indicators as the main ranking, but they are re-calibrated to give emphasis to the special characteristics of the world’s younger universities – with a reduced weighting on reputation.


Top of the ranking is Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The two youngest universities on the list – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Nanyang Technological University – were both established in 1991.

This year is the last that the University of California and the University of Warwick can feature in the rankings – they are the only representatives from the USA and UK.

The data is taken from the Times Higher Education 100 Universities under 50 ranking. It assesses universities on the same 13 indicators as the main ranking, but with an altered weighting.

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Author: Paul Muggeridge is Head of Content at Formative Content.

Image: Students sit for a university entrance examination at a lecture hall in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain, June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo