ShanghaiRanking’s 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

ShanghaiRanking Consultancy has released the highly-anticipated 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Since 2003, ARWU has ranked universities globally “based on transparent methodology and objective third-party data.” ARWU ranks more than 1,800 universities each year and publishes a list of the top 1,000 institutions.

To arrive at its results, ARWU uses six objective indicators, including:

  • The number of alumni and faculty awarded Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals
  • The number of articles published in nature and science journals
  • The number of highly cited researchers chosen by Clarivate Analytics
  • The number of articles published in nature and science journals
  • The number of Highly Cited Researchers and articles indexed in the Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index
  • A university’s per capita performance

Illustration of students on campus

ApplyBoard Partner Institutions

ApplyBoard wants to congratulate our 68 partner universities across Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States who were included in the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities! We’re honoured to work with all of our partner institutions on our shared mission to educate the world.


The Australian National University
James Cook University
University of Wollongong
University of Tasmania
Edith Cowan University
Murdoch University
University of New England
University of Canberra
Bond University


University of Waterloo
University of Ottawa
Western University
University of Manitoba
University of Saskatchewan
Carleton University
University of Guelph
Memorial University of Newfoundland
University of Windsor
Ontario Tech University
Ryerson University
Lakehead University

United Kingdom

University of Liverpool
Lancaster University
The University of Dundee
The University of Reading
University of Surrey
Swansea University
University of Essex
University of Strathclyde
Brunel University London
Nottingham Trent University
Bournemouth University
Cranfield University
Royal Holloway, University of London
University of Greenwich
University of Stirling

United States

University of California, Irvine
Arizona State University
University of Arizona
University of Utah
Colorado State University
George Mason University
Oregon State University
University of Colorado – Denver
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of South Florida
Iowa State University
University of Alabama – Birmingham
University of Central Florida
Washington State University
Florida International University
Northern Arizona University
Saint Louis University
University of New Mexico – Albuquerque
Auburn University
Kent State University
Louisiana State University
Thomas Jefferson University
University of Idaho
Baylor University
University of Montana – Missoula
Illinois Institute of Technology
Montana State University
University of Massachusetts Boston

Illustration of school

Top 50 Universities for 2021

Here are the top 50 universities in the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Universities within the same rank range are listed alphabetically. 

You can find the complete list of the top 1,000 universities and additional details on the methodologies ShanghaiConsultancy uses to rank them on ShanghaiRanking’s website.

World Rank Institution Country/Region National/Regional Rank
1 Harvard University United States 1
2 Stanford University United States 2
3 University of Cambridge United Kingdom 1
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States 3
5 University of California, Berkeley United States 4
6 Princeton University United States 5
7 University of Oxford United Kingdom 2
8 Columbia University United States 6
9 California Institute of Technology United States 7
10 University of Chicago United States 8
11 Yale University United States 9
12 Cornell University United States 10
13 Paris-Saclay University France 1
14 University of California, Los Angeles United States 11
15 University of Pennsylvania United States 12
16 Johns Hopkins University United States 13
17 University College London United Kingdom 3
18 University of California, San Diego United States 14
19 University of Washington United States 15
20 University of California, San Francisco United States 16
21 ETH Zurich Switzerland 1
22 University of Toronto Canada 1
23 Washington University in St. Louis United States 17
24 The University of Tokyo Japan 1
25 Imperial College London United Kingdom 4
26 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor United States 18
27 New York University United States 19
28 Tsinghua University China 1
29 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States 20
30 University of Copenhagen Denmark 1
31 University of Wisconsin – Madison United States 21
32 Duke University United States 22
33 The University of Melbourne Australia 1
34 Northwestern University United States 23
35 Sorbonne University France 2
35 The University of Manchester United Kingdom 5
37 Kyoto University Japan 2
38 PSL University France 3
38 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom 6
40 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities United States 24
41 The University of Texas at Austin United States 25
42 Karolinska Institute Sweden 1
42 Rockefeller University United States 26
42 University of British Columbia Canada 2
45 Peking University China 2
46 University of Colorado at Boulder United States 27
47 King’s College London United Kingdom 7
48 The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas United States 28
48 University of Munich Germany 1
50 Utrecht University Netherlands 1

Ready to start your own study abroad adventure? Explore opportunities on ApplyBoard.