Times Higher Education (THE) has just unveiled a brand new league table ranking the most prestigious universities in Latin America for 2016.

Brazil dominates the list of the region’s best institutions, hosting five featured universities. It is also home to Latin America’s most respected university, with the University of São Paulo claiming the title of the region’s most prestigious institution.

“As attention turns to Rio de Janeiro ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games, the new assessment based on Times Higher Education’s Academic Reputation Survey indicates that Brazil’s universities are the most highly regarded seats of learning in Latin America,” notes THE.


Brazil also plays host to the State University of Campinas, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Universidade Federal de São Paulo and the Federal University of Minas Gerais, all of which made the top 10 in third, fifth, sixth and ninth place, respectively. Results are based on a survey of more than 10,000 world-leading academics.

The globally-respected ranking body points out that with the exception of one institution based in Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico which has claimed second position, the reputation ranking is entirely made up of up of South American universities. The University of Buenos Aires in Argentina polishes off the top five, claiming fourth place in the list.

Following this, the University of Chile, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and Colombia’s Universidad Nacional de Colombia finish the top 10, in seventh, eighth and 10th place, respectively.

The ranking has been published ahead of THE’s inaugural Latin America Summit, which will be held at Bogotá’s Antonio Narino University in July.


“At our inaugural Latin America Summit, we will release a new pilot Latin America university ranking using a wider range of indicators,” said Phil Baty, Editor of THE’s World University Rankings. “But more importantly, the summit will see the beginning of a full consultation with sector leaders on how Times Higher Education should build a new, bespoke Latin America University Ranking, directly mapped to the missions and priorities of universities in the region.”

With regards to the recent reputation ranking, Baty was proud to see so many new countries displayed alongside South America’s ‘elite’.

“Institutions in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Colombia are all seen among the leaders in the continent,” he said, noting that the data reflects a “healthy and positive competition between nations’ flagship institutions, which should help drive up quality across these nations and the region more widely.”

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Top 10 most prestigious universities in Latin America 2016

1. University of São Paulo – Brazil


The University of São Paulo (USP) is a state university, affiliated with the State Secretariat of Economic, Scientific and Technological Development. Various world university rankings have recognised the talent of USP professors, students and employees, and with a profound history of more than 80 years of excellence, the University of São Paulo is one of the most important institutions of higher learning in Brazil.

2. National Autonomous University of Mexico – Mexico


Mexico City, Mexico

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The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is an internationally-reputed research university, located in Mexico City. UNAM is widely considered one of the most prestigious higher education providers of the Spanish-speaking world. With a beautiful campus set in a UNESCO World Heritage site, the UNAM grounds are also considered some of the most aesthetically pleasing and artistically detailed.

3. State University of Campinas – Brazil


The State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) is a relatively young institution that has already developed a strong tradition in education, research and services to society. The university hosts three state-of-the-art campuses – in Campinas, Piracicaba and Limeira – which are home to 22 teaching and research centres.

4. University of Buenos Aires – Argentina


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The University of Buenos Aires (UBA) is Argentina’s largest public university, and the second-largest university by enrolment in Latin America. Established in 1821 in the vibrant city of Buenos Aires, the university consists of 13 academic departments, six hospitals, and is linked to four regional high schools. The university has produced four Nobel Prize laureates, making it one of the most esteemed universities in the Spanish-speaking world.

5. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil


The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) is one of the country’s centres for excellence in teaching and research. Last year, QS World University Rankings ranked UFRJ as the best federal university in Brazil, and the third-best university in the country, coming in ninth among all Latin American higher education providers.

6. Universidade Federal de São Paulo – Brazil


Meus joelhos dizem bastante coisa <3

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The Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP) is an institution that was exclusive to the health sciences until 2005, when it became multi-subject due to the government’s University Reform Program. The university now boats six separate campuses, the oldest being in Vila Clementino, São Paulo.

7. University of Chile – Chile


The University of Chile was founded in 1842, and is the oldest higher education institution in the country. Located in the capital city Santiago de Chile, it is a public university with an international reputation for quality. All knowledge areas are taught on its innovative campus, and today, the institution is at the top of Chilean university system with regard to teaching, research, creation and outreach.

8. Pontifical Catholic University of Chile – Chile


The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile achieves a solid education, founded in the sciences, arts, humanities and Catholic morals. The institution’s primary aim is to leave students not only technically and scientifically prepared, but also to be open to different human realities and to the responsibilities involved in the complete development of society.

9. Federal University of Minas Gerais – Brazil


The Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) is located in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. UFMG represents one of Brazil’s five largest universities, offering 75 undergraduate degrees, in medicine, law and economics, plus a wide range of engineering, science and art-based degrees.

10. Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Colombia



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The Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNC) is a public, national, coeducational, research university, primarily located in Bogotá, Medellín, Manizales and Palmira, Colombia. The school represents the largest higher education provider in the country with 44,000 students, and boasts the largest number of graduated professionals per year, as well as a broad spectrum of undergraduate and graduate degree programmes.

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