20 over 500

Youth isn’t everything

Last year it was Times Higher Education but this year it is the turn of QS to produce a ranking of newer universities, presumably on the basis that somehow they suffer in the rankings for not having done enough stuff over their limited histories. Unfortunately, this rather discriminates against older institutions which are also often disadvantaged in the rankings for being, well, old.

So, it’s time to right this wrong by producing the all new top 20 of universities over 500 years old. Let’s hear it for the ancients!

And the good news is that European universities once again dominate and Italy in particular does extremely well. It is also another good year for the University of Bologna, the grandaddy of them all, which is top of the heap for a record-breaking 925th year. Let’s look at the full top 20:

  1. University of Bologna
  2. University of Oxford
  3. University of Cambridge
  4. University of Salamanca
  5. University of Padua
  6. University of Naples
  7. University of Valladolid
  8. University of Murcia
  9. University of Montpelier
  10. University of Macerata
  11. University of Coimbra
  12. University of Alacala
  13. La Sapienza, University of Rome
  14. University of Perugia
  15. University of Florence
  16. University of Camerino
  17. University of Pisa
  18. Charles University of Prague
  19. University of Pavia
  20. Jagiellonian University

Not a huge amount to report here with the top 20 remaining entirely static (as it has done indeed since Poland’s Jagiellonian University opened back in 1364).

Sadly there’s still no place in the top 20 for the august institutions of Heidelberg, Vienna and Turin. And Scotland’s ancients, St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen, also miss out yet again.

5 thoughts on “20 over 500”

  1. Mike Ratcliffe says:

    I think you’re underplaying the dynamism in your league table, after all, there was a huge change in 1793 when the National Convention abolished Paris…

  2. conorjh says:

    “Not a huge amount to report here with the top 20 remaining entirely static (as it has done indeed since Poland’s Jagiellonian University opened back in 1364).”

    Not true; the list changed in 1969 when the University of Toulouse, founded in 1229, split into three and was apparently dropped from you list.

    1. Paul says:

      We’re going to have to refer that one to the Advisory Board for a ruling (next meeting in May 2025)

  3. Carles Viladiu says:

    Keeping QS World University Rankings (http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2012) and the list of medieval universities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_medieval_universities) as reference points, the “20 over 500” rank would be as follows:

    1 University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom
    2 University of Oxford Oxford, United Kingdom
    3 Copenhagen Denmark
    4 University of Glasgow Glasgow, UK
    5 Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg Heidelberg, Germany
    6 Uppsala Sweden
    7 University of St Andrews St Andrews, UK
    8 Freiburg Germany
    9 Basle Switzerland
    10 Tübingen Germany
    11 University of Vienna Vienna, Austria
    12 Aberdeen United Kingdom
    13 University of Barcelona Barcelona, Spain
    14 University of Bologna Bologna, Italy
    15 Frankfurt on the Oder Germany
    16 La Sapienza University of Rome Rome, Italy
    17 University of Padua Padua, Italy
    18 University of Pisa Pisa, Italy
    19 Mainz Germany
    20 University of Leipzig Leipzig, Germany

    However, the mix of historical indicators on the university ranks does not reduce controversy (neither for the ancient nor for the young)…

  4. Paul says:

    Reblogged this on Registrarism and commented:

    Don’t forget the oldies. As silly and pointless now as it was when originally published last year. But does have some helpful comments attached.

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