Education and Skills

Iraq’s largest university enters the global top 1,000 for the first time

A professor gives a lecture to students at the College of Administration and Economy, Baghdad University.

Baghdad University debuted in the 800-1,000 band of the Times Higher Education ranking this year. Image: REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani

Ellie Bothwell
Rankings Editor, Times Higher Education
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Middle East and North Africa

Iraq has entered the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first time, with the University of Baghdad becoming one of the top 1,000 universities in the world.

The Baghdad institution, which debuts in the 800-1,000 band in the 2019 edition of the list, is particularly strong in terms of citation impact (research influence) and international research collaboration. It is the first time that Iraq has featured in the table’s 15-year history.

But that is not the only world first in the ranking.

The University of the West Indies becomes Jamaica’s first entrant – joining the table in the 501-600 band, with a strong international outlook – while Kazakhstan, Tanzania and Nepal also all feature for the first time this year.

Meanwhile, Japan has surpassed the UK as the second most-represented nation in the table for the first time, claiming 103 positions, up from 89. The UK has 98 universities included, up from 93. The University of Oxford and University of Cambridge top the global table again, claiming first and second position respectively.

Elsewhere, Tsinghua University climbs eight places to 22nd and overtakes Peking to become the top Chinese institution in the listing for the first time. It also outperforms the National University of Singapore, which drops one place to 23rd, to become the best university in Asia, thanks to improvements in citation impact, institutional income and international outlook. It is now ranked above the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and New York University.

China’s highest ranked new entrant is Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) – only established in 2011 – which makes the 301-350 band. It has a particularly strong citation impact score.

Mainland China remains the fourth most represented nation in the overall table, with 72 universities (up from 63) and seven in the elite top 200.


While the continued rise of Asia is one of the main trends in this year’s ranking, the US still dominates the table, with 172 universities, up from 157. Yale University enters the top 10 at eighth, up from 12th – its highest position under the current methodology (since 2011).

However, the majority of its universities decline or remain static, largely as a result of increased global competition.

The 2019 THE World University Rankings list 1,258 universities globally, up from 1,103 last year, and feature 86 countries, up from 81.

The full methodology of the rankings is available here.

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Education and SkillsGeographies in Depth
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