5 German universities make top 100 in new QS ranking

5 German universities make top 100 in new QS ranking

In the newest international university ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), five German universities have made it into the top 100, with two Munich universities retaining their spots as the best in Germany.

TU Munich named best German university in 2025 ranking

The Technische Universität Munich (TUM) has been named the best university in Germany according to the QS university rankings, for the tenth consecutive year. The university is the second most highly esteemed in the European Union and 28th best in the world for 2025, moving up from 37th place in the 2024 ranking.

Down the international table in 59th place came Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich, ranking as the second-best in Germany. Dubbed by QS one of “Europe's leading research universities”, LMU also retained its place from last year’s ranking.

Much further down, but also making it into the top 100 were the Universität Heidelberg in joint 84th place with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Freie Universität in Berlin (97th place) and Aachen’s RWTH Technical University, which just squeezed into 99th place.

How does the QS university ranking assess universities?

To create the ranking, 1.500 different universities in 104 countries around the world were analysed. Unlike the Times University Rankings (THE) which analyses the student experience as a whole, the QS report focuses on sustainability and how likely students are to find a job once they have collected their degrees.

17,5 million academic papers and the opinions of 240.000 faculty and employers were used to rate each university out of 100 in the following categories; academic reputation, citations per faculty, employment outcomes, employer reputation, faculty-to-student ratio, international faculty ratio, international research network, international student ratio and sustainability.

Each category was given a specific weighting and incorporated into an overall score of 100. Alongside sustainability and employability, the 2025 edition also placed high value on international research networks to recognise “the importance of research in changing the world.”

International scepticism about university rankings grows

While students and academics celebrate the arrival of university rankings as a chance to congratulate their institutions, international scepticism about the value of ranking systems, their methodologies and the way the results put pressure on universities, is growing.

In September 2023, Utrecht University in the Netherlands announced it would withdraw from the THE ranking because “makers of the rankings use data and methods that are highly questionable”. The University of Zurich has followed Utrecht, announcing in March this year that it would withdraw from the THE because the ranking as it is currently constructed “is not able to reflect the wide range of activities in teaching and research undertaken by universities.” 

According to the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research, the “gladiatorial cut-and-thrust” and “clear-cut results” of league tables do much to serve the businesses which publish them and little to offer a “multidimensional concept of university quality”.

Students aren’t happy either. At their conference in March 2024, the Union of Students in Ireland said it would call on institution presidents to re-evaluate their participation in the ranking systems, which the students’ union believe “perpetuate social exclusion and promote a managerial approach that relies on numbers rather than holistic education”. 

Best universities in Germany and worldwide, according to QS

In all, here are the 10 best universities in the world, according to the latest QS ranking:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
  2. Imperial College London (UK)
  3. University of Oxford (UK)
  4. Harvard University (US)
  5. University of Cambridge (UK)
  6. Stanford University (US)
  7. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  8. National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  9. University College London (UK)
  10. California Institute of Technology (US)

Here’s how German universities faired in the ranking:

  1. Technische Universität München (28)
  2. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (59)
  3. Universität Heidelberg (=84)
  4. Freie Universität Berlin (97) 
  5. RWTH Aachen (99) 
  6. Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (102)
  7. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (=126)
  8. Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) (147)
  9. Universität Hamburg (191)
  10. Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (212)

For more information and how other universities compare, check out the QS ranking.

Thumb image credit: Francisco Javier Diaz /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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