Top universities for medicine and life sciences | Top Universities

Top universities for medicine and life sciences

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Holly Hemmings

Updated Oct 25, 2023



Medical students

The recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject features 521 top universities that offer a variety of courses in medicine and life sciences. 

The rankings are based on five indicators: academic and employer reputation, citations per paper, H-index citations (a measure of the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar) and international research network. To learn more about the methodology used, click here

Read on as we discover the top universities for medicine and life sciences in each region. Alternatively, if you would like to see the full list of medicine and life science universities, click here

QS World University Rankings by Subject – Top universities for medicine and life sciences 




Harvard University 

United States 

University of Oxford 

United Kingdom 

Johns Hopkins University 

United States 


Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT 

United States 


Stanford University 

United States 

University of Cambridge 

United Kingdom 

Imperial College London 

United Kingdom 

University of California San Francisco  

United States 

University College London - UCL 

United Kingdom 


Karolinska Institutet 



University of California Los Angeles 

United States 


Top universities for medicine and life sciences in the US & Canada

The US boasts an impressive 123 representatives in the life sciences and medicine rankings, including six institutions in the top 10 and a further 25 in the top 100. Outside of the top 10, other highly-ranked US universities for life science and medicine include: Yale University (14th), University of California San Diego (15th), University of Washington (16th), University of Pennsylvania (17th), Columbia University (=18th) and Cornell University (=18th). 

Heading north, Canada has 18 of the world’s top universities in life science and medicine, with University of Toronto leading the way at 13th and scoring well in the H-index indicator. Other high-ranked Canadian institutions in the top 50 include University of British Columbia (22nd) and McGill University (26th). 

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in Europe

Europe is home to 211 of the top universities for medicine and life sciences, including 43 in the United Kingdom. As well as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and UCL in the top 10, other strong UK institutions for this subject area include: King’s College London (12th), The University of Edinburgh (23rd), and The University of Manchester (35th). 

Germany has 35 of the world’s top life science and medicine schools, including three in the top 100: Universität Heidelberg (39th), Ludwig-Maximillians-Universität München (47th) and Technical University of Munich (80th). 

Italy also performs well with 21 representatives in this year’s rankings, led by Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna at 96th which performs well for citations per paper. 

France is represented by 19 entries this year, led by Sorbonne University at 43rd. Also, with 16 entries, is Spain, one of which is the Universitat de Barcelona at 57th. 

The Netherlands is home to 10 of the world’s top universities for life sciences and medicine, with University of Amsterdam the best in the country in 44th place. 

Sweden has nine entrants in the rankings – including Karolinska Institutet in the top 10. Another strong Swedish institution for life sciences and medicine is Uppsala University (77th). Remaining in the Nordic countries, Finland has five university entries whereas Norway has four. There are five Danish institutions with University of Copenhagen (27th) featured in the top 50. 

Belgium and Switzerland have seven representatives each. Four of Switzerland’s universities feature in the top four worldwide, with the University of Zurich highest-ranked at 65th. Belgium’s highest-ranked institution for life sciences and medicine is KU Leuven, ranked 31st. 

Austria and Ireland have five top universities for medicine and life sciences each. Portugal has four whereas Greece has three. Of these countries, Austria has the highest-ranked university, Medical University of Vienna, ranked 105th overall. This is followed by Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin (109th) and Portugal’s University of Porto (139th). 

The remaining European countries with universities featured in the medicine and life science rankings are Czechia, which has five entries, Hungary, which has three, Poland, which has two, and Croatia, Estonia, Serbia, and Slovenia, which each have one. The highest-ranked of these is Czechia’s  Charles University (177th) although Hungary’s Semmelweis University (264th) and Poland’s Jagiellonian University (285th) also feature in the top 300. 

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in Australia and New Zealand

Australia has 24 institutions included among the world’s best for life sciences and medicine, including four in the top 50: The University of Melbourne (20th), The University of Sydney (25th), The University of Queensland (32nd) and Monash University (33rd). 

Four more universities for this subject area are found in the neighbouring New Zealand, led by the University of Auckland at 91st which scored well in academic reputation and citations per paper. 

Top universities for medicine and life sciences in Asia

A substantial number of the world’s most prestigious schools for life sciences and medicine are found in Asia. Mainland China has 25 medicine and life science universities this year, including its top-ranked, Peking University (37th), which scored well for its academic reputation. Japan has 15 institutions with The University of Tokyo (46th) leading the rankings closely followed by Kyoto University (66th). 

South Korea also has 15 of the world’s top schools for life sciences and medicine, including two in the top 100: Seoul National University (28th) and Yonsei University (61st). 

Taiwan has seven entrants in the rankings led by National Taiwan University (85th). Thailand has five universities in the rankings with Mahidol University (125th) ranked the highest in the country. 

Hong Kong SAR has four top universities for life sciences and medicine, including The University of Hong Kong (29th) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (51st). 

Of Malaysia’s four representatives, its leading university in this subject area, Universiti Malaya (148th), scores highly in the academic reputation indicator. 

Singapore may only have two entries, but both feature in the global 150 for life science and medicine: National University of Singapore (33rd) and Nanyang Technological University (136th). 

Elsewhere in Asia, India has four universities for the subject area with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (229th) leading the rankings. Indonesia has two schools: Universitas Indonesia (354th) and Airlangga University (501-520). The Philippines has one: University of the Philippines (401-450). 

Top universities for medicine & life sciences in the Middle East

In the Middle East, Israel is home to five of the world’s top universities in medicine and life sciences, with Tel Aviv University (217th) the highest-ranked of these. 

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have four representatives in the rankings each, with Saudi Arabian universities, King Abdulaziz University (68th) and King Saud University (139th), ranked the highest, followed by Turkey’s Hacettepe University (278th). 

Iran has four universities in this year’s rankings, the best of which is Tehran University of Medical Sciences (209th). Lebanon has two universities: American University of Beirut (229th) Lebanese University (451-500). 

Top universities for medicine & life sciences in Latin America

Of the 21 Latin American institutions featured in the life sciences and medicine rankings, nine are based in Brazil – including the highest-ranked university in the region for this subject area, Universidade de São Paulo (51st). Also ranked in the global 200 is Universidade Estadual de Campinas (177th). 

Mexico and Colombia have three universities each in the subject ranking with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (122nd) earning the title of being the top university in Mexico and Universidad Nacional de Colombia (321st) the best in Colombia. 

Chile and Argentina both have two medicine and life sciences universities with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (128th) and Universidad de Buenos Aires (155th) topping the rankings in their respective countries. 

Top universities for medicine & life sciences in Africa

South Africa is represented by five top universities in life sciences and medicine, led by University of Cape Town (113th). Egypt has four entrants in the rankings with Cairo University (163rd) as its highest ranked. 

Uganda also features in the life sciences and medicine rankings with one university entry: Makerere University (451-500). This year’s new African entrant is from Nigeria, University of Ibadan (401-450) which scored highly for H-index citations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are life sciences and medicine?

Life sciences and medicine include a variety of science-based subjects that students may choose to study at university. These can include different positions within the medical field as well as animal care.

What is a degree in life sciences?

Undergraduate life science degrees include subjects such as: biology, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, psychology, pharmacology, veterinary science, zoology and agriculture.

At postgraduate level, there are many options available for biology, medicine, public health and psychology.

What are the benefits of a life sciences degree?

A degree in life sciences can be very beneficial because they direct students to a very specific career path. Employability is very high within medical field internationally and so life sciences degrees are a great option for prospective students who value stable and well-paid career prospects at the end of their studies. Furthermore, there are plenty of opportunities within the umbrella of life sciences degrees for students to explore other topics within the field or specialise in a specific subject postgraduate.

To learn more about medicine and life sciences degrees, click here.

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