By Shannon Chaffers

NOT a single Spanish university appears in the rankings of the global top 100 in the world and only one is recognized as being among the 200 best places to study in the world.

Earlier this month Quacquerelli Symonds, a British company that specializes in analyzing higher education institutions, released their rankings of the top 1,300 universities throughout the world. 

Only 29 Spanish universities made the list, though none made the top 100. At 168, University of Barcelona was the highest-ranked, and the only institution in Spain to make the top 200.  

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  took the top spot for the tenth year in a row. 

The highest-ranked universities in Europe were the UK’s University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, taking places 2 and 3, respectively. 

Infact American and British universities counted for nine out of top ten which was completed by ETH Zürich of Switzerland, ranked at joint eighth with University College London. 

Universities from Singapore and China joined schools from these countries to complete the top 20.

The rankings assessed universities across six criteria: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty, proportion of international faculty, and proportion of international students.

After University of Barcelona, the next four highest-ranked universities in Spain were Universidad Autónoma de Madrid at 207, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona at 209, Complutense University of Madrid at 223, and Universitat Pomepeu Fabra (Barcelona) at 248. 

Although Spanish universities did fairly poorly in the overall rankings, some did well in certain subject areas. For example, University of Barcelona had 3 subjects in the top 50: anatomy (35), library and information management (37), and philosophy (46). Spain’s largest university, Complutense University of Madrid ranked 18th in dentistry. 

Elsewhere, Universitat Ramon Llul and University of Navarra were ranked 21st and 25th in business management, respectively. IE University was not far behind, at 28. 

The Polytechnic University of Madrid and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia both placed well in architecture and civil engineering. 

For architecture, Catalonia was ranked 20th, and Madrid came 37th. For civil engineering, Catolonia was 29th, while Madrid was 35th. 

Spanish universities performed similarly to last year. Reacting to last year’s list, Guillermo Cisneros of the Polytechnic University of Madrid explained that a lack of funding for universities had contributed to these results. “When you see that many universities are behind us, even though they have a bigger budget […] you realize that everything in Spain is sustained with a lot less,” he told El Pais

“The students, teachers and administrative staff are putting in a great effort, but an economic boost is needed.”


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