Rankings: the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities are among the best of the world


Global rankings of universities have been published regularly for the past two decades. Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in China was the first in June 2003 and many others followed. 'Rankings of universities should be used with caution,' says Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Dean Prof. dr. Wim van den Doel. 'A lot is being measured, but a lot is also left unseen.' Nevertheless, we want to know: how do the Zuid-Holland universities, Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam, position themselves in these lists?

Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam can be found in different places in the various university rankings. All three can rightfully claim to be a global top 100 university. And because there are more than 20,000 universities worldwide, they are also among the top 1% in the world. In certain fields, in particular, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus universities are among the absolute best in the world.

'Rankings of universities should be used with caution,' says LDE dean Prof. dr. Wim van den Doel. 'A lot is measured, but a lot is also left unseen. Sometimes the social sciences and humanities are not included, sometimes they are, and while these are quantifiable variables, the quality of education, for example, is difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, the rankings also say something. As far as the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus universities are concerned, in any case, they demonstrate high quality in different rankings '.

Van den Doel explicitly refers to the rankings per subject as drawn up by Times Higher Education and QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The opinions of academics and employers are combined with bibliometric data. 'You can see how good the universities in Zuid Holland are, especially in the rankings per discipline. Almost always in the top 100, often in the top 50 and sometimes even in the top 10 in the world. Certainly, something to be proud of'.

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

  • Accounting & Finance: Erasmus University no. 38;
  • Anthropology: Leiden University no. 25;
  • Archaeology: Leiden University no. 8 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Architecture: TU Delft no. 3 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Art & Design: TU Delft no. 11 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Biological Sciences: Leiden University no. 67;
  • Business & Management Studies: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 16 (no. 1 in the Netherlands);
  • Chemical Engineering: TU Delft no. 14 (no. 1 in The Netherlands)
  • Chemistry: TU Delft no. 50 (no. 1 in The Netherlands); Leiden University no. 129;
  • Civil and Structural Engineering: TU Delft no. 3 (no. 1 in The Netherlands)
  • Classics & Ancient History: Leiden University no. 4 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Communication & Media Studies: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 51-100;
  • Computer Science and Information Systems: TU Delft no. 72;
  • Development Studies: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 12 (no. 1 in The Netherlands); University Leiden no. 28;
  • Earth & Marine Sciences: TU Delft no. 43;
  • Economics & Econometrics: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 43;
  • Education & Training: TU Delft no. 87; Leiden University no. 98;
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering: TU Delft no. 16 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • English Language & Literature: Leiden University no. 59;
  • Environmental Studies: TU Delft no. 14;
  • Geology: TU Delft no. 43;
  • Geophysics: TU Delft no. 41.
  • History: Leiden University no. 15 (no. 1 in The Netherlands); 
  • Law & Legal Studies: Leiden University no. 24 (no. 1 in The Netherlands); Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 101-150;
  • Library & Information Management: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 43;
  • Linguistics: Leiden University no. 31;
  • Materials Sciences: TU Delft no. 36;
  • Mathematics: TU Delft no. 77.
  • Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering: TU Delft no. 7 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Medicine: Erasmus University Rotterdam/Erasmus MC no. 35; Leiden University/LUMC no. 69;
  • Mineral & Mining Engineering: TU Delft no. 20 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Modern Languages: Leiden University no. 57;
  • Petroleum Engineering: TU Delft no. 13 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Pharmacy & Pharmacology: Leiden University no. 11 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Philosophy: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 51-100;
  • Physics & Astronomy: TU Delft no. 76; Leiden University no. 88;
  • Politics: Leiden University no. 22 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Psychology: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 39; Leiden University no. 52;
  • Religious Studies: Leiden University no. 51-100
  • Social Policy & Administration: Leiden University no. 34; Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 51-100;
  • Sociology: Leiden University no. 56; Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 91;
  • Statistics & Operational Research: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 31; TU Delft no. 38;

Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject 2021

  • Arts and Humanities: Leiden University no. 22 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Business and Economics: Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 25 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Clinical and Health: Erasmus MC no. 62 (no. 2 in The Netherlands); LUMC no. 72 (no. 4 in The Netherlands);
  • Computer Science: TU Delft no. 53 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Engineering and Technology: TU Delft no. 21 (no. 1 in The Netherlands);
  • Law: Leiden University no. 24 (no. 1 in The Netherlands); Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 62 (no. 6 in The Netherlands);
  • Physical Sciences: TU Delft no. 52 (no. 1 in The Netherlands); Leiden University no. 80 (no. 4 in The Netherlands);
  • Psychology: Leiden University no. 77 (no. 8 in The Netherlands);
  • Social Sciences: Leiden University no. 37 (no. 3 in The Netherlands); Erasmus University Rotterdam no. 58 (no. 4 in The Netherlands).

Responsible use of the rankings

The responsible use of educational rankings is explained in the video below, created by Leiden University's Centre for Science and Technology Studies:

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