THE BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017: China dominates; Brazil and South Africa struggle


In the latest installment of the Times Higher Education’s BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings, Chinese institutions continue their upward climb, taking six of the top 10 spots.

Of the universities representing the Asian giant, Peking University leads the pack, taking the top spot, followed by Tsinghua University in second.

University of Science and Technology of China (5), Fudan University (6), and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (7) all rose up in the rankings from last year, while Zhejiang University (9) saw a minor drop from eighth place.


Source: Times Higher Education


Though not represented in the top 10, India has seen much improvement, increasing its share of universities in the rankings to 27 institutions out of 300.

India’s leading institution is the Indian Institute of Science (14th), which breaks into the top 15 for the first time. Overall, India has 19 universities in the top 200, up from 16 last year.

While Brazil has seen more of its universities enter the rankings this year – an increase of 11 from 14 last year – its top university, the University of São Paulo, dropped out of the top 10 to 13th place; its lowest position since the rankings began.

Russia has also seen a similar rise in its share of representing institutions – 24 this year to last year’s 15 – 10 of them fell in the rankings. However, its star institution, Lomonosov Moscow State University, maintained its position in third place.

South African institutions have struggled to compete this year, with a slight drop in the overall representation in the rankings and three of its top four performers dropping year on year.


Commenting on the rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings editor Phil Baty said in a statement: “This is the most competitive BRICS and emerging economies rankings to date with universities across 50 countries assessed.”

“The clear trend, in the fourth year of this annual list, is China’s continued dominance. The Asian giant takes 52 – or more than one in six – places in the top 300; 44 of these make the top 200, five more than last year,” he said.

He added that India was also “making great strides” and could soon overtake Taiwan as the second most-represented country in the top 200 of the table, behind China.

“However, while these two countries have improved their standing, the performance of the other BRICS nations is waning, largely due to increased competition as a result of expanding the list to rank 300 universities from 41 countries, up from 200 institutions in 35 nations last year,” said Baty.


Institutions in emerging economies such as Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan saw gains in representation, while Thailand, Taiwan, Hungary, and Greece failed to make much progress or lost ground.

Several countries have made their debut into the rankings, such as Latvia (University of Latvia and Riga Technical University in the 201-250 band); Tunisia (University of Monastir and University of Tunis El Manar, 251-300); Bulgaria (Sofia University, 201-250); Croatia (University of Zagreb, =196th); Northern Cyprus (Eastern Mediterranean University, =173rd); the Philippines (University of the Philippines, 201-250); and Sri Lanka (University of Colombo, 251-300).

With almost double the number of institutions in this ranking than India, the second most-represented country, China “looks set to continue its domination of the list in the years to come, while other nations will have to run faster just to stand still”, concluded Baty.

The BRICS & Emerging Economics University Rankings use the same 13 rigorous and demanding performance indicators as the overall World University Rankings to determine which institutions demonstrate high standards of performance across teaching, research, international outlook and knowledge transfer in comparison to other leading research universities across emerging economy countries.

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