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Top Universities for Mathematics in 2021

By Chloe Lane

Updated March 7, 2021 Updated March 7, 2021
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the top-ranking university in the world for mathematics this year 
  • The United States boasts the most ranked mathematics schools in this year's subject rankings, with 92 universities featured
  • This is closely followed by the United Kingdom, with 37 schools offering top mathematics schools this year
  • The highest ranked Asian school for mathematics this year is National University of Singapore (NUS) in ninth place globally

The recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 features 501 of the top higher education institutions to study mathematics.

The QS University Rankings by Subject are based on four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar). You can find more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here.

Read on to learn more about the best mathematics schools in each region. Alternatively, if you would like to explore the mathematics schools in further detail, click here to view the full table.

Top 10 Universities for Mathematics in the World

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

Rank Name of Institution Location
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
2 Stanford University United States
3 Harvard University United States
4 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
5 University of Oxford United Kingdom
6 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States
7 Princeton University United States
8 ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Switzerland
9 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore
10 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States
See the full ranking for mathematics schools >

Top universities for mathematics in the US and Canada 

This year there are 92 universities offering top mathematics courses in the United States and 21 in Canada. Overall, North America is home to 22 of the top 50 universities in the world.

The US hosts six of the global top 10 universities to study mathematics. The US places a strong value on international collaboration. Our research partners at Elsevier found that 40 percent of the US’ research papers involved some international collaboration – way above the global average of 22 percent. Additionally, a quarter of these papers get into the top 10 percent of academic journals.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) retains its status as the world’s best university to study mathematics for a fifth consecutive year, receiving a perfect score for academic reputation. Outside of the top 10, notable movers in the US include New York University (NYU) (dropping out of the top 10 this year to 12th); Columbia University (16th, falling four places) and University of Texas at Austin (30th, falling four places)

Canada is home to four top 50 universities to study mathematics. The highest ranked of these is University of Toronto (14th), with a high score for research citations per paper. Other Canadian top 50 entries include University of British Columbia (joint 21st), University of Waterloo (35th) and McGill University (joint 47th).

Top universities for mathematics in Europe

216 mathematics schools featured in this year’s rankings are located in Europe.

The United Kingdom has the majority of these mathematics schools, with 37 universities featured in this year’s subject rankings – six of these are in the global top 50. Elsevier found that more than 60 percent of the UK’s academic research is a result of international collaboration, with a strong research focus on stock markets and market volatility, as well as on statistical mathematics and models of estimation.

The University of Cambridge is this year’s top ranking European university for mathematics, in fourth place, earning a high score in the academic reputation indicator. Other noteworthy UK universities include the University of Warwick (rising one place to 19th), University of Edinburgh (falling five places to 41st), UCL (University College London, up seven places to joint 42nd).

Germany also performs well in this year’s rankings, with 32 universities currently featured, indicating a solid reputation and research impact in the field. The top performing institutions this year are Technische Universität München (56th) and Technische Universität Berlin (joint 61st). In common with some other European countries, Germany’s research mirrors some of the societal and economic pressures of the time, focusing on stock market volatility, financial markets and theoretical and algebraic mathematics research.

Spain is home to 14 of Europe’s top schools for mathematics. Of these, four are in the world top 150, including the top-ranking Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in joint 117th. Russia has 15 entries in this year’s mathematics subject ranking, including Lomonosov Moscow State University  in 34th, rising nine places this year.

Italy has 20 universities in this year’s mathematics subject ranking, including two in the top 100: Politecnico di Milano (54th) and Sapienza - Università di Roma (joint 74th). Belgium and Austria each have five universities in the ranking this year. Of these, Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven performs the best, earning its place in 79th.

Portugal, Finland and Denmark each have four of Europe’s top mathematics universities, with the University of Copenhagen (100th) the highest ranking, earning an excellent score in the research citation per paper and the H-index indicators – a reflection of the quality of the university’s research.

Switzerland, Sweden and Poland are each home to six of the best universities to study mathematics, with Switzerland’s ETH Zurich (eighth) the highest-ranking European university outside of the UK. Sweden’s KTH, Royal Institute of Technology falls nine places to 49th this year but scores particularly well in the research citations per paper indicator.

Turkey performs well this year with seven top mathematics universities including new entry Hacettepe University (451-500). Hungary has two entries this year, Greece has three and Finland has four. Finland’s new entry, Tampere University, comes in at 401-450.

Top universities for mathematics in Australia and New Zealand

Australia is home to 17 of the best mathematics universities in the world, with three of these featuring in the world top 50. The University of New South Wales (UNSW) (38th) bags the top spot this year, overtaking University of Melbourne which falls 19 positions to 51st. 

There are five top mathematics universities in New Zealand featured in this year’s rankings including the University of Auckland (71st), earning a high score for the research citations per paper indicator.

Top universities for mathematics in Asia

104 of the world’s top universities to study mathematics are found in Asia. The highest ranked mathematics university this year is Singapore ’s National University of Singapore (NUS), entering the global top 10 this year after rising four places. NUS is one of Singapore’s two entries this year.

This year an impressive 36 universities are offering top mathematics programs in Mainland China. According to Elsevier, this year China has produced around a quarter of the global papers in mathematics. Among China’s four top-50 ranking universities is Tsinghua University in 18th (up two places this year) and Peking University also performing well in 19th.

Six mathematics universities are located in Hong Kong , including The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (36th), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) (down six places to 37th) and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) (down 10 places to 53rd).

India’s 13 universities in the rankings include two brand new entries this year: Birla Institute of Technology and Science and Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), both ranking 451-500. Japan also performs well this year, with 14 mathematics universities featured in the rankings, including the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University in the top 50, ranking joint 24th and joint 45th respectively.

Malaysia has five universities in this year’s ranking and Taiwan has six, including National Taiwan University (NTU) (joint 66th). Vietnam has two universities in the mathematics university rankings and four of Asia’s top mathematics universities are located in Pakistan, including a new entry, University of the Punjab (401-450).

Top universities for mathematics in Latin America   

16 mathematics universities are situated in Latin America. Brazil takes up the majority of these with eight mathematics universities in the rankings, including the top ranking Latin American university Universidade de São Paulo (USP) (96th) and two new entries this year.

Chile also performs well, with four of Latin America’s top mathematics universities, including Universidad de Chile (joint 108th). Argentina has a single entrant this year with Universidad de Buenos Aires in joint 134th. Meanwhile, Columbia has two universities in this year’s ranking.

Top universities for mathematics in Africa and the Middle East

Africa has five universities in this year’s mathematics schools ranking. Four of these are in South Africa, including new entry Stellenbosch University (451-500). The other is Cairo University in Egypt, ranked 351-400.

Over in the Middle East there are 18 universities in the rankings this year. Of these, seven are in Israel, including Technion - Israel Institute of Technology (joint 66th).

Iran has four universities in this year’s ranking. The United Arab Emirates has two universities featured this year, including new entry Khalifa University ranked 451-500.

Saudi Arabia is home to four top mathematics universities, including the top ranking mathematics school in the Middle East: King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) (65th), earning a perfect score in the H-index indicator.

This article was originally published in March 2021 .

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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