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Why are some of the oldest universities in the world ranked so poorly?

  1. Jan 23, 2010 #1
    For example the University of Vienna (Austria) is ranked around 87th in the world yet it's the oldest institution in the german speaking world (1365), why is this? Is language a reason?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2010 #2
    Being old doesn't necessarily mean good.
  4. Jan 23, 2010 #3
    Yeah but it seems that the rankings are very skewed towards universities whose first language is english.
  5. Jan 23, 2010 #4


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    Depends on which ranking system you use. For example Oxford isn't ranked very highly in physics in the official ranking system for research used here in the UK (RAE) but still does well in The Times ranking aimed at students.

    Also, there is no reason to expect old to mean good. There was not a single world-class university in physics in the US before about 1920 or so (which is why Oppenheimer&co went to Germany etc for their PhDs), but now that has of course changed.
  6. Jan 23, 2010 #5
  7. Jan 23, 2010 #6


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    That list makes no sense whatsoever, at least not when it comes to the universities I am familiar with.

    Moreover, who do you compare Johns Hopkins with MIT?
    As far as I know there is almost no overlap, so it is really an apples and pears issue
  8. Jan 23, 2010 #7
    Are not Russian Universities good though for example? What about german universities?
  9. Jan 24, 2010 #8
    German universities suffer from a lack of funding.
  10. Jan 24, 2010 #9


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    Do not believe too much on website rankings...
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