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Top Universities in Europe

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It may be the second-smallest continent, but Europe is densely packed with many of the world’s best educational institutions. In the QS World University Content® 2019, a total of 381 European universities are featured among the world’s best, roughly 38 percent of all the universities included.

The UK boasts Europe’s highest number of internationally ranked universities with 76 entries, followed by Germany (45) and France (35). However, it’s Switzerland that joins the UK in having a university ranked among the world’s top 10, something neither Germany nor France can manage.

With such a wide selection of top universities in Europe to choose from, deciding where to study in Europe is not always easy. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top universities in Europe categorized by country.

Top universities in Austria 

University of Vienna

A landlocked country in central Europe, Austria shares borders with eight other European nations, including Germany to the north and Italy to the south. It has eight top European universities currently included in the QS World University Content. Of these, the top universities in Austria are:

  1. University of Vienna (joint 175th in the world, joint 77th in Europe)
  2. Vienna University of Technology (199th in the world, 89th in Europe)
  3. Universität Innsbruck (joint 279th in the world, joint 122nd in Europe)
  4. Technische Universität Graz (joint 363rd in the world, joint 162nd in Europe)
  5. Johannes Kepler University Linz (joint 456th in the world, 198th in Europe)

+ 3 more top universities in Austria

Top universities in Belgium 

Known for its fine chocolate and beer, Belgium is also home to some excellent educational establishments. This year it claims eight of the top universities in Europe to be internationally ranked, with all but two of these placed within the top 300 worldwide. The top universities in Belgium are:

  1. KU Leuven (81st in the world, 27th in Europe)
  2. Ghent University (138th in the world, 54th in Europe)
  3. Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) (165th in the world, 70th in Europe)
  4. Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (188th in the world, 83rd in Europe)
  5. University of Antwerp (joint 223rd in the world, joint 97th in Europe)

+ 3 more top universities in Belgium

Top universities in France 

Ecolé Normale Supérieure, Paris

France boasts a very extensive selection of top European universities, and an impressive presence in the international rankings, with the majority of its top 10 universities located in the capital city Paris. The top universities in France are:

  1. Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University (PSL) (50th in the world, 11th in Europe)
  2. Ecolé Polytechnique (65th in the world, 19th in Europe)
  3. Sorbonne University (joint 75th in the world, joint 22nd in Europe)
  4. CentraleSupélec (137th in the world, 53rd in Europe)
  5. Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (153rd in the world, 64th in Europe)

+ 30 more top universities in France

Top universities in Germany 

Offering free tuition to undergraduate students in all but one state, Germany is one of the world’s most popular non-Anglophone destinations for international students. The top universities in Germany are:

  1. Technische Universität München (61st in the world, 16th in Europe)
  2. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (62nd in the world, 17th in Europe)
  3. Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (64th in the world, 18th in Europe)
  4. Kit, Karlsruher Institut Für Technologie (116th in the world, 40th in Europe)
  5. Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin (121st in the world, 44th in Europe)

 + 40 more top universities in Germany

Top universities in Ireland 

Trinity College Dublin

A relatively small country in Western Europe, Ireland is home to eight world-ranking universities, of which half are in the capital city, Dublin. The top universities in Ireland are:

  1. Trinity College Dublin (joint 104th in the world, joint 35th in Europe)
  2. University College Dublin (joint 193rd in the world, joint 85th in Europe)
  3. National University of Ireland, Galway (joint 260th in the world, joint 113th in Europe)
  4. University College Cork (joint 338th in the world, joint 150th in Europe)
  5. Dublin City University (joint 422nd in the world, joint 186th in Europe)

+ 3 more top universities in Ireland

Top universities in Italy 

Located in the southern peninsula of the continent and much-loved for its weather, cuisine and beautiful settings, Italy is the sixth most populous country in Europe and boasts 30 internationally ranked universities. The top universities in Italy are:

  1. Politecnico di Milano (joint 156th in the world, 66th in Europe)
  2. Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa (167th in the world, 72nd in Europe)
  3. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (joint 175th in the world, joint 77th in Europe)
  4. University of Bologna (joint 180th in the world, joint 80th in Europe)
  5. Sapienza University of Rome (217th in the world, 94th in Europe)

 + 25 more top universities in Italy

Top universities in the Netherlands 

University of Amsterdam

This Dutch-speaking country towards the north of the continent boasts 13 globally ranked universities. The top universities in the Netherlands are:

  1. Delft University of Technology (52nd in the world, 13th in Europe)
  2. University of Amsterdam (57th in the world, 15th in Europe)
  3. Eindhoven University of Technology (99th in the world, 34th in Europe)
  4. University of Groningen (120th in the world, 43rd in Europe)
  5. Leiden University (joint 122nd in the world, 45th in Europe)

+ 8 more top universities in the Netherlands

Top universities in the Nordic countries 

Europe’s Nordic countries (DenmarkFinlandIcelandNorway and Sweden) offer 27 internationally ranked universities. Within the Nordic region, Finland claims the highest number of ranked institutions, despite being the most sparsely populated country in Europe, while Denmark offers the highest-ranked university in the group. The top universities in the Nordic countries are:


  1. University of Copenhagen (joint 79th in the world, joint 25th in Europe)
  2. Technical University of Denmark (112th in the world, 39th in Europe)

+ 3 more top universities in Denmark


  1. University of Helsinki (110th in the world, 38th in Europe)
  2. Aalto University (140th in the world, 56th in Europe)

+ 8 more top universities in Finland


  1. University of Oslo (135th in the world, 52nd in Europe) 
  2. University of Bergen (171st in the world, 74th in Europe)

+ 2 more top universities in Norway


  1. Lund University (92nd in the world, 30th in Europe)
  2. KTH Royal Institute of Technology (joint 104th in the world, joint 35th in Europe)

+6 more top universities in Sweden

Top universities in Russia 

Lomonosov Moscow State University

The largest country in the world by landmass, Russia performed very well in the latest QS World University Content, with 27 universities, including eight in the top 350. The top universities in Russia are:

  1. Lomonosov Moscow State University (90th in the world, 29th in Europe)
  2. Saint-Petersburg State University (235th in the world, 102nd in Europe)
  3. Novosibirsk State University (joint 244th in the world, 107th in Europe)
  4. Tomsk State University (joint 277thin the world, 121st in Europe)
  5. Bauman Moscow State Technical University (joint 299th in the world, joint 129th in Europe)

+ 22 more top universities in Russia

Top universities in Spain 

Acclaimed for its buzzing cities and attractive Mediterranean coast, Spain is popular among tourists and students alike, and claims 25 of the top European universities according to the QS World University Content. The top universities in Spain are:

  1. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (159th in the world, 68th in Europe)
  2. University of Barcelona (166th in the world, 71st in Europe)
  3. Universitat Autonóma de Barcelona (joint 193rd in the world, joint 85th in Europe)
  4. University Complutense Madrid (UCM) (206th in the world, 92nd in Europe)
  5. University of Navarra (joint 242nd in the world, 106th in Europe)

+ 20 more top universities in Spain

Top universities in Switzerland 

ETH Zurich

Home to a large portion of the Alps mountain range, Switzerland is the only country other than the US or the UK to claim a university in the world’s top 10. All but one of its nine internationally ranked universities are in the global top 400. The top universities in Switzerland are:

  1. ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) (seventh in the world, third in Europe)
  2. Ecolé Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (22nd in the world, seventh in Europe)
  3. University of Zurich (UZH) (78th in the world, 24th in Europe)
  4. University of Geneva (108th in the world, 37th in Europe)
  5. University of Bern (139th in the world, 55th in Europe)

+ 4 more top universities in Switzerland

Top universities in the UK 

Second only to the US in the number of total universities included in the ranking, the UK is the most popular destination to study in Europe (although Brexit may change this in the future). It currently boasts four of the world’s top 10 universities, and eight of the 10 top universities in Europe. The top universities in the UK are:

  1. University of Oxford (fifth in the world, first in Europe)
  2. University of Cambridge (sixth in the world, second in Europe)
  3. Imperial College London (eighth in the world, fourth in Europe)    
  4. UCL (University College London) (10th in the world, fifth in Europe)
  5. University of Edinburgh (18th in the world, sixth in Europe)

+ 71 more top universities in the UK

Top universities in Greece 

  1. National Technical University of Athens (joint 446th in the world, joint 194th in Europe)
  2. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (561-570 in the world, joint 233rd in Europe)

+ 4 more top universities in Greece

Best of the rest…

University of Tartu


The list above covers most of the best-known places to study in Europe as an international student. But the top European universities do not end there. Many more European countries are home to one or more institutions included in the QS World University Content. Here’s a quick round-up of the rest:


  1. Belarus State University (354th in the world, 157th in Europe)
  2. Belarusian National Technical University (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  1. Sarajevo School of Science and Technology (571-580 in the world, joint 237th in Europe)


  1. Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)


  1. University of Zagreb (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)

Czech Republic 

  1. Charles University (joint 317th in the world, 139th in Europe)
  2. Czech Technical University in Prague (531-540 in the world, joint 223rd in Europe)

+ 3 more top universities in the Czech Republic


  1. University of Tartu (joint 321st in the world, 141st in Europe)
  2. Tallinn University of Technology (601-650 in the world, joint 252nd in Europe)

+1 more top university in Estonia

University of Szeged


  1. University of Szeged (joint 470th in the world, joint 200th in Europe) 
  2. University of Debrecen (601-650 in the world, joint 252nd in Europe)

+ 4 more top universities in Hungary


  1. Riga Technical University (751-800 in the world, joint 272nd in Europe)

=2. Riga Stradins University (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)

=2. University of Latvia (801-100 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)


  1. Vilnius University (488th in the world, 208th in Europe)
  2. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (581-590 in the world, joint 243rd in Europe)

 + 2 more top universities in Lithuania


  1. University of Warsaw (joint 394th in the world, 175th in Europe)
  2. Jagiellonian University (411th in the world, 182nd in Europe)

+ 12 more top universities in Poland


  1. University of Porto (328th in the world, 144th in Europe)
  2. University of Lisbon (joint 355th in the world, joint 158th in Europe)

+ 5 more top universities in Portugal


=1. Alexandru loan Cuza University (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)

=1. Babes-Bolyai University (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)

 + 3 more top universities in Romania (also ranked 801-1000)

University of Belgrade


  1. University of Belgrade (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)


=1. Comenius University in Bratislava (751-800 in the world, joint 303rd in Europe)

=1. Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (751-800 in the world, joint 303rd in Europe)


  1. University of Ljubljana (651-700 in the world, joint 273rd in Europe)
  2. University of Maribor (801-1000 in the world, joint 320th in Europe)


  1. V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University (joint 481st in the world, joint 206th in Europe)
  2. Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (531-540 in the world, joint 223rd in Europe) 

+ 4 more top universities in Ukraine

This article was originally published in November 2013. It is updated after each QS World University Content® release, most recently in June 2018.

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Devan S, AARIA RAJESWARI B & 171 others saved this
Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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Can u include Indian Universities?

Hi Abhay, you can read about the top universities in India here

this article is just about European universities, so I guess she cannot include Indian universities...

hi i have an offer from univ of toronto for eco n math n also have ab offer for eco n econometrics from erasmus univ of rotterdam . am very cinfysed wat to choose .pl suggest

Is studying in Romania good, is it globally recognized ?? especially in the middle east cz I'm from Lebanon

Hello, I'm from Ireland and studying at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is pleased to meet you

Hi, I'm from Kashmir in India presenting working state town planning department forbseven years. I have professional experience of more than fifteen years. Now I'm planning to enroll for some advanced course in urban planning and environment. Plz suggesr, regda

Hi.I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina and I am going in catcholic high school which includes european standards and it is really modern school( which you can seen in the link.I am interested to study in Europe.My school is mechatronics and I am excellent student.I want to know which of these european universities offer me scholarship to study there.

Hello, I'm from Ireland and studying at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is pleased to meet you

Hello, I'm from Ireland and studying at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is pleased to meet you

Hi Marko. Our list of scholarships to study in Europe may help you find some relevant opportunities, as well as our list of scholarships for engineering students. Best of luck!

Hi! The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Paris offers an easy way to apply in a Master in Management in france. Latin words directly to 5 of the top business schools in France at:

Hello! I am from Greece, I attended high school in the US and completed one semester in college. I would like to study for cheap and in english in either Germany, Belgium or Bulgaria. My major is Psychology. It would be very helpful for me to complete my BSc under the above circumstances. Also, my boyfriend also wants to study abroad, he completed 1-2 years of university and wants to start a different subject in one of the countries.

Hi Polyxeni, I've replied to your question here. :)

Hi, could someone tell me if Medical university of Sofia is good for dentistry and if bulgaria is safe for a female student?? thanks

Hi, Do you know of any universities in Europe Or specifically Germany the offer full scholarship for masters degree course in Medicine?

Hi Peter, please see our list of medical scholarships around the world, which contains scholarships to study in Europe. We also have a list of scholarships to study in Germany. Hope this is helpful.