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Top Universities for Physics & Astronomy in 2015

Top Universities for Physics & Astronomy in 2015 main image

**Click here to view the latest version of this article, based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. 

The recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 includes a newly extended ranking of the world’s top universities for physics and astronomy, now featuring the world’s top 400 schools in this subject area. The ranking is compiled based on a methodology which assesses academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact.

Below you’ll find the 10 top physics schools in 2015, along with an overview of the best physics schools in each world region, from North America to the Middle East. For the full interactive table, click here.

Top 10 Universities for Physics & Astronomy Worldwide

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015

Rank

Name of Institution

Location

1

 2=

United States

 2=

4

United States

5

United States

6

United Kingdom

7

United States

8

United States

9

10

United Kingdom

 

Top universities for physics in the US & Canada

In addition to the six featured in the top 10 (above), the US boasts a total of 82 schools among the 400 top universities for physics. Also in the top 50 are the University of Chicago (11th in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15), the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB, 132nd in the world rankings), the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA,37th in the world rankings), Columbia University (14th in the world rankings), Yale University (10th in the world rankings), Cornell University (19th in the world rankings), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (63rd in the world rankings), the University of Michigan (23rd in the world rankings), the University of Maryland, College Park (122nd in the world rankings), the University of Texas at Austin (79th in the world rankings), the University of Pennsylvania (13th in the world rankings) and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD, 59th in the world rankings).

Of the 17 Canadian universities featured among the world’s 400 top physics universities, three are within the  top 50: the University of Toronto (20th in the world rankings), the University of British Colombia (43rd in the world rankings) and McGill University (21st in the world rankings).

Learn more about studying in the US and Canada here.

Top universities for physics in Europe

The best-represented European country in this ranking is Germany, which claims 35 of the world’s 400 top universities for physics. While none feature in the top 10, five are ranked in the top 50: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (52nd in the world rankings), Technische Universität München (TU Munich, 54th in the world rankings), Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (49th in the world rankings), KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (127th in the world rankings) and Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen, 147th in the world rankings).

Meanwhile, 33 of the world’s 400 top physics schools are located in the UK. In addition to the three UK schools in the top 10, the University of Manchester (30th in the world rankings), UCL (University College London, 5th in the world rankings) and the University of Edinburgh (17th in the world rankings) are also in the top 50 worldwide.

Italy also fares well, home to 20 of the world’s best physics schools, including the Sapienza - Università di Roma (202nd in the world rankings) and the Università di Pisa (245th in the world rankings) in the world’s top 50 and four more in the top 100. Up next is France with 16 schools featured, including Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech (35th in the world rankings) and Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris (ENS Paris, 24th in the world rankings) in the top 50, and two more in the top 100.

Nine Spanish schools feature in the physics ranking, with three in the top 100: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (178th in the world rankings), Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (173rd in the world rankings) and Universitat de Barcelona (UB, 166th in the world rankings).

You’ll find another eight top universities to study physics in the Netherlands, three of which are in the top 100 worldwide: Delft University of Technology (86th in the world rankings), Leiden University (75th in the world rankings) and the University of Amsterdam (50th in the world rankings).

Belgium and Russia each offer seven of the world’s top physics universities. Russia’s Lomonosov Moscow State University (114th in the world rankings) places 36th, while the National Research Nuclear University "MEPhI" (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, 481-490 in the world rankings) and Beligium’s KU Leuven (82nd in the world rankings) are also in the top 100.

Also performing well are Sweden and Switzerland, each with six schools featured in the ranking. Aside from ETH Zurich in 9th, Switzerland is also home to Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, 17th in the world rankings) in the top 20 and the University of Geneva (85th in the world rankings) in the top 100. Three of Sweden’s universities make the top 100: KTH, Royal Institute of Technology (110th in the world rankings), Lund University (60th in the world rankings) and Stockholm University (182nd in the world rankings).

Finland and Poland both claim five of the world’s top physics universities, and while none are ranked in the top 100, the Finnish University of Helsinki (67th in the world rankings) makes it into the top 150 and the Polish University of Warsaw (335th in the world rankings) makes the top 200. Each with four offerings are Austria and Greece, with their highest entrants being the Austrian Universität Innsbruck (288th in the world rankings) at 101-150 and the Greek National Technical University of Athens (441-450 in the world rankings) at 251-300.

Three more European countries each offer three of the world’s best physics schools: Denmark, Hungary and Ireland. The top-ranked among these is the Danish University of Copenhagen (45th in the world rankings) at 51-100, while the Irish Trinity College Dublin (71st in the world rankings) and University College Dublin (UCD, 139th in the world rankings) both rank 151-200. All three of Hungary’s representatives are in the 301-400 range, including the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

Offering two schools each are the Czech Republic and Norway, including the Czech Technical University in Prague (411-420 in the world rankings) at 101-150 for physics, and the Norwegian University of Bergen (155th in the world rankings) at 201-250.

Finally, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia all have one representative in this ranking, with Lithuania’s Vilnius University (551-600 in the world rankings) and Slovenia’s University of Ljubljana (501-550 in the world rankings) both ranked in the top 300.

Learn more about studying in Europe with our comprehensive country guides.

Top universities for physics in Asia

In Asia, Japan claims the most representatives in the physics ranking, with 17 featured schools. Of this number, five are ranked among the world’s top 100 for physics and astronomy: the University of Tokyo (31st in the world rankings), Kyoto University (36th in the world rankings), the Tokyo Institute of Technology (68th in the world rankings), Tohoku University (71st in the world rankings) and Osaka University (55th in the world rankings).

Both China  and South Korea each offer 14 top physics schools. South Korea has one school in the top 50 – Seoul National University (SNU, 31st in the world rankings) – and one more in the top 100 – KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (51st in the world rankings). China offers two in the top 50: Peking University (57th in the world rankings) and Tsinghua University (47th in the world rankings).

Despite not featuring in the top 100, India nonetheless appears 10 times in the physics ranking. Its highest place goes to the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB, 222nd in the world rankings), followed by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai (unranked in the world rankings) and the University of Delhi (421-430 in the world rankings).

Of the seven top universities for physics in Taiwan, National Taiwan University (NTU, 76th in the world rankings) is the only one within the top 50, while National Tsing Hua University (167th in the world rankings) ranks 151-200. A further five leading physics departments can be found in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 40th in the world rankings) in the top 100 and the University of Hong Kong (28th in the world rankings) at 101-150.

The two top physics schools in Singapore – the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU, 39th in the world rankings) – are both placed in the world’s top 50. Meanwhile Malaysia ‘s two representatives – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM, 259th in the world rankings) and Universiti Malaya (UM, 151st in the world rankings) – both rank 301-400.

The final two Asia countries featured are Thailand and Pakistan, each with one ranked university. Pakistan’s Quaid-i-azam University (unranked in the world rankings) ranks at 251-300, while Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University (243rd in the world rankings) ranks at 301-400.

Learn more about studying abroad in Asia with our country guides, or discover more leading universities in the region with the latest QS University Rankings: Asia.

Top universities for physics in Latin America

Latin America is home to 20 of the world’s best physics schools, with almost half of this number located in Brazil. The Universidade de São Paulo (USP, 132nd in the world rankings) makes the global top 100 for physics, while Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp, 206th in the world rankings) and Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (271st in the world rankings) both rank at 101-150.

A further five top universities for physics are found in Mexico, including the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, 175th in the world rankings) at 101-150. Meanwhile Chile is home to three, including the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (167th in the world rankings) also at 101-150.

Argentina, with two representatives, boasts one of the region’s strongest universities in this subject: the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA, 198th in the world rankings) at 51-100. And, lastly, Colombia has one school ranked – the Universidad de Los Andes Colombia (262nd in the world rankings) at 201-250.

View our full range of Latin American country guides, or discover more leading universities in the region with the latest QS University Rankings: Latin America.

Top universities for physics in Australia & New Zealand

Of the 11 universities in Australia featured in this subject ranking, the leader is the University of Melbourne (33rd in the world rankings), ranked among the world’s top 50. Australian National University is second in Australia at 51-100, while the University of Sydney (37th in the world rankings) places 101-150.

Heading over to New Zealand, the University of Auckland (92nd in the world rankings) ranks at 101-150, the University of Canterbury (242nd in the world rankings) at 201-250, and the Victoria University of Wellington (275th in the world rankings) at 301-400.

Find out more about studying in Australia and New Zealand with our country guides.

Top universities for physics in Africa & the Middle East

Israel and Turkey each claim four top universities for physics, including the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (190th in the world rankings) at 101-150 and Tel Aviv University (195th in the world rankings) at 151-200. The Turkish Istanbul Technical University (501-550 in the world rankings) and Middle East Technical University (401-410 in the world rankings) meanwhile, both rank at 251-300.

The only African country featured in this subject ranking is South Africa, offering two top physics schools: the University of Cape Town (141st in the world rankings) at 201-250 and the University of The Witwatersrand (318th in the world rankings) at 251-300.

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Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, 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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