General information on ranking

Name of the ranking (in English) CHE University Ranking
Name of the ranking (in original) CHE Hochschulranking
Scope of the ranking ranking by subject
Name of person in charge of ranking Frank Ziegele
Website of the ranking
First year of publication 1997
Most recent year of publication 2022
Date of last update 2023-05-06
Publication frequency annual
Ranking organization CHE Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung gGmbH
Methodology website

CHE University Ranking is not an overall ranking, but a detailed analysis. The ranking deliberately chooses not to add the results of the survey together to produce an overall points score. It is a result of the fact that there simply is no “best higher education institution”, not in one subject and certainly not in all subjects. For example, a university may indeed be a leader in the field of research, but the equipment it offers its students may be miserable, or it may be strong in German Studies, but poor in Economics and Business Administration. Instead of crowning some presumed overall winner, a multidimensional ranking is offered. Several ranking (league) lists produced on the basis of quite different criteria paint a differentiated picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual universities. In the CHE University Ranking users can find valuable information for their choice of the right subject of study and the university in Germany fitting best for them. The ranking results are based on facts as well as assessments by 120,000 students and 3,000 professors.

There are several possibilities to make use of the ranking: a user starts into the ranking by selecting a subject and a type of degree. Subsequently he/she will get to the tabular view which lists all German and some selected Austrian universities offering this subject. On the basis of some preselected criteria a user can see how they performed within the ranking. A special way of finding the right university for a user is the comparison, which can be used for all subjects. With the comparison a user can compare departments from universities and universities of applied science with each other and decide for himself/herself which one fits his/her needs best.

The CHE University Ranking is exclusively subject specific. Just as universities are not all equally good, so there is no “the best university”. The universities’ performance in the individual disciplines, subjects and departments differs far too greatly. Aggregation at the level of whole universities offers no useful information as a decision-making aid for prospective students who want to study a specific subject. This is why the individual rankings are always subject specific. Rankings should draw a differentiated picture of the universities from various perspectives. This is why, besides facts on the departments and degree programs, the perspective of university teachers and students is also considered in the ranking. This produces a more differentiated view than rankings based solely on the survey of one group of persons and so allow subjective assessments and objective indicators to be contrasted.

The CHE University Ranking has up to 37 different indicators for each university. The Decision-Making Model allows them to be thematically summarised in the following nine criteria:

  • Job market and career-orientation (including e.g. percentage of bachelor theses that are compiled in cooperation with work environment, percentage of teaching by practitioners, job market preparation, etc.),
  • Equipment (including e.g. IT-infrastructure, self-study places, library, etc.),
  • Research (including e.g. citations per publication, integration of theory and practice, third party funds per academic, etc.),
  • International orientation (including e.g. proportion of international students, share of foreign language courses, combined study program with foreign HEI, etc.),
  • Result of study (including e.g. graduates per year, study duration (median), graduations in appropriate time, etc.), 
  • Town and university (including e.g. proportion of students that come to the university mostly by bicykle, opening hours central student counselling, special features regarding university sports, etc.), 
  • Students (including e.g. gender balance, number of students etc.),
  • Academic studies and teaching (including e.g. admission requirements, exam preparation – additional services, extra-curricular activities, etc.).

Additional information

  • Main target groups: students and parents
  • Level of comparison: subjects: 33, study programs: 3000
  • Major dimensions covered: employability, internationalization, reputation, research, teaching, student satisfaction, student facilities
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