Top universities in Germany 2021 | Top Universities

Top universities in Germany 2021

By Chloe Lane

Updated April 20, 2023 Updated April 20, 2023

If you’re looking to study in Germany, you’ll be pleased to know that the country is home to 46 of the 1029 universities featured in the recently released QS World University Rankings® 2021. Of these, 12 German universities can be found in the worldwide top 200 this year.

The universities are assessed on six indicators: academic and employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, citations per faculty (a measure of research output), international faculty ratio and international student ratio. You can find out more about how universities are assessed in the world university rankings in the methodology.

Read on to discover the top universities in Germany in 2021, starting with a look at the top eleven universities in the country.

QS World University Rankings 2021 - Top Universities in Germany

Germany rank

Global rank




Technische Universität München



Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München



Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg



Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin



Freie Universität Berlin



KIT, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie



Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen



Technische Universität Berlin



Technische Universität Dresden



Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen



Universität Freiburg


=10. Universität Freiburg

Universität Freiburg


In joint 10th in Germany is Universität Freiburg, which ranks joint 175th worldwide. The university places 147th in the world for the academic reputation indicator and 21 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the university as alumni, faculty or researchers. 

Founded in 1457, Universität Freiburg is the fifth oldest university in Germany. Today the university has more than 24,000 students from over 100 nations.

=10. Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen


Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen


Taking joint 175th place along with Universität Freiburg is Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, which earns its highest score in the international faculty ratio index.

The university is considered particularly prestigious for its theology, divinity and religious studies course, for which it ranks worldwide in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

9. Technische Universität Dresden


Technische Universität Dresden


Photo: TUD

Taking 173rd position in the world rankings, after rising six places this year, is Technische Universität Dresden (TU). One of Germany’s leading technology schools, the university ranks 120th in both the faculty-student ratio indicator and the employer reputation indicator.

TU’s main campus is located in Dresden city center. The university has just under 32,000 students, with international students making up around an eighth of these.

8. Technische Universität Berlin


Technische Universität Berlin


Heading to the German capital next in our look at the 10 best universities in Germany, Technische Universität Berlin comes in at eighth in Germany, falling one place to 148th worldwide.

The university scores particularly highly for employer reputation, where it ranks 139th worldwide. It is also a member of the prestigious TU9 group, which includes several of the most notable German institutes of technology.

7. Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen


Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen


Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen) climbs eight places in this year’s world university rankings to now place 148th, ranking 30th in the world for employer reputation.

With more than 45,600 students and 162 study courses, RWTH Aachen is the largest technical university in Germany.

6. KIT, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie


KIT, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie


Down seven places this year to rank 131st is KIT, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. The school takes sixth place in Germany in 2021, after falling from the top five. KIT earns a standout score for employer reputation, where it ranks 63rd worldwide.

The university’s aim is to make significant contributions to global challenges in energy, mobility and information, and uses research-based study to prepare its 24,400 students for life after graduation.

5. Freie Universität Berlin


Freie Universität Berlin


Remaining in 130th place, Freie Universität Berlin overtakes KIT, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie to bag fifth place in Germany in this year’s university rankings.

The university places 65th in the world for academic reputation and has a strong reputation for its social science courses, particularly for its politics course, for which it currently ranks joint 19th in the world.

4. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


In fourth place in Germany for the second year running is Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The university rises three places in the world university ranking this year, stealing 117th and earning a top 50 position in the academic reputation indicator.

Located in Berlin, the university was founded in 1810 and was given the title “Mother of all Universities”. It was linked to major breakthroughs in physics and other sciences by its professors, which included Albert Einstein. The university has also had an association with no fewer than 55 Nobel laureates.

3. Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg


Up two spots in the world rankings this year is Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in 64th place globally and third in Germany.

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg also takes the title of the oldest university in the country, founded in 1386. It achieves a top 100 score for the academic reputation and faculty student ratio indicators.

2. Ludwig-Maximilians – Universität München


Ludwig-Maximilians – Universität München


For another year running, Ludwig-Maximilians – Universität München was ranked 63rd in the world in 2021. It was founded in 1472 and currently has more than 50,900 students, with international students making up 15 percent of the student population.

Ludwig-Maximilians – Universität München ranks 36th worldwide for academic reputation and has been associated with 42 Nobel laureates.

1. Technische Universität München


Technische Universität München


Last but definitely not least, Technische Universität München places first once again amongst the top German universities. The university climbs five places this year to rank 50th in the world overall and 17th for employer reputation.

Technische Universität München was founded in 1968 and aims to combine top class facilities for cutting edge research with its unique learning opportunities for students, striving to create lasting value for society.

The remaining top German universities in the top 20 are:

11. Georg-August-Universität Göttingen- ranked 195thin the world.

12. Universität Hamburg- ranked joint 228th in the world.

13. Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn– ranked joint 240th in the world.

14. Technische Universität Darmstadt– ranked joint 267th in the world.

15. Universität Köln– ranked joint 282nd in the world.

16. Universität Mannheim – ranked 307th in the world, up 24 places.

17. Universität Frankfurt am Main– ranked joint 311thin the world.

18. Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg– ranked joint 317th in the world.

19. Universität Jena– ranked joint 323rd in the world, up 17 places.

And the rest…

20. Universität Stuttgart– ranked joint 333rd in the world.

21. Universität Ulm ranked joint 344th in the world.

22. Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster– ranked 356th in the world.

23. Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz – ranked joint 403rd in the world.

24. Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg – ranked joint 437th

25. Ruhr-Universität Bochum– ranked joint 439th in the world.

26. Universität Konstanz – ranked joint 443rd in the world.

27. Universität des Saarlandes– ranked joint 451st in the world.

28. Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg– ranked joint 470th in the world.

29. Universität Leipzig– ranked joint 483rd in the world.

After the global top 500, the remaining universities are ranked in ranges, starting at 501-510 and continuing to 801-1000.

 Find out more about university ranking ranges and other frequently asked questions >

30. Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel– ranked 501-510 in the world.

31. Universität Bayreuth – ranked 521-530 in the world.

32. Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen– ranked 531-540 in the world.

33. Universität Bremen– ranked 541-550 in the world.

34. Technische Universität Braunschweig– ranked 551-560 in the world.

35. Universität Regensburg– ranked 601-650 in the world.

=36. Leibniz Universität Hannover – ranked 651-700 in the world.

=36. Philipps-Universität Marburg – ranked 651-700 in the world.

=36. Universität Hohenheim – ranked 651-700 in the world.

39. Universität Rostock-ranked 701-750 in the world

=40. Universität Duisburg-Essen – ranked 751-800 in the world.

=40. Universität Düsseldorf -ranked 751-800 in the world.

=42. Technische Universität Dortmund – ranked 801-1000 in the world.

=42. Universität Bielefeld -ranked 801-1000 in the world.

=42. Universität Potsdam – ranked 801-1000 the world.

To learn more about studying in Germany, download our complete guide, which includes advice on applications, tuition fees, studying in English, student visas and more.

This article was originally published in June 2020 . It was last updated in April 2023

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Written by

As Content Editor for and, 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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