University rankings have been established in Germany for a few years now. They assess the quality of research and teaching at institutions of higher education using various indicators and provide the basis for ranking lists with individual or group rankings. The University of Potsdam belongs to the national network of mid-sized universities. Diverse national and international university rankings consistently mirror the excellence of the University of Potsdam.
The University of Potsdam has been part of the annual international university rankings by the London-based magazine Times Higher Education since 2017. In the current edition of the “Times Higher Education (THE) – World University Ranking 2024” out of a total of 1,904 institutions across the globe, Brandenburg’s largest university placed in the ranking group from 201–250 and was ranked 22th in Germany (press release). Potsdam took first place in the 2023 THE Rankings for Young Universities in Germany and 22nd place worldwide (press release).
The world’s top universities were evaluated using 13 indicators in five core areas: Teaching, strength of research, citations, external funding from industry (knowledge transfer) and internationalization. The University of Potsdam proved itself as above-average in all of the five core areas. The University of Potsdam received a particularly high mark in the area of research, thus establishing itself as a high-performance, internationally visible university in the global field.
The University of Potsdam is ranked within the same group as the universities of Jena and Frankfurt and is situated in the same cluster as its international partner institutions Tel Aviv University (TAU) and University of São Paulo (USP).
The University of Potsdam achieved the following rankings in individual subjects (based on WUR 2023 rankings): “Arts and Humanities” # 126-150, “Computer Science” # 301-400, “Life Sciences” # 201-250, “Physical Sciences” # 151-175, “Education” # 201-250, and “Psychology” #101-125 .
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also called the Shanghai Ranking, ispublished each year by the Center for World-Class Universities (CWCU) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China). The renowned ranking compares research performance from more than 1,800 universities and publishes the 1000 best. In the years 2016-2023 the University of Potsdam succeeded in positioning itself in the global Top 1000 rankings and is currently one of 45 German universities listed there. The current ARWU ranking (2023) lists the University of Potsdam in group 401-500 and in group 25-31 among German universities, together with the Universities of Jena, Regensburg, Marburg, and Ulm, as well as the Technical University Darmstadt and Medical University of Hanover.
The world's top universities are evaluated on the basis of six indicators divided into four categories: quality of education (alumni who have won Nobel Prizes or Fields Medals), quality of academic staff (Nobel Prizes, Fields Medals, number of citations in important journals), scientific output (publications) and per capita performance (the aforementioned indicators divided by number of academic staff).
The World University Ranking, published annually by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), currently ranks 1500 universities. The University of Potsdam is currently ranked in place 460.
The QS World University Ranking uses nine different indicators and groups academic institutions on the basis of the following indicators and weightings: Academic reputation (30%), Research performance (per capita citations of scholars in relation to institution size) (20%), Reputation among employers (15%), Teacher-to-student ratio (10%), Number of international faculty (5%), international students (5%), joint international publications (5%).
The CHE University Ranking is meant primarily to provide prospective students with assistance in deciding where they want to study their selected subject. Classification is not done solely by means of a general ranking with a placement, but rather through a subject-related comparison that categorizes subject-specific strengths and weaknesses at individual universities in three different groups (top, middle or bottom group). In addition to facts about university studies, teaching, facilities and research, this ranking program also invites statements from students about conditions at their university and collects subject-specific reputation data among professors for selected disciplines.
The following subjects are published for the University of Potsdam:
- English / American Studies (as of 2016),
- Biology / Life Sciences (as of 2016),
- Business Administration (as of 2017),
- Chemistry (as of 2016),
- Educational Science (as of 2016),
- Geography (as of 2015),
- Earth Sciences (as of 2015),
- German Studies (as of 2016),
- Computer Science (as of 2015),
- Law (as of 2017),
- Mathematics (as of 2015),
- Physics (as of 2015),
- Political Science / Social Sciences (as of 2015),
- Psychology (as of 2016),
- Romance Studies (as of 2016),
- Sports / Sports Science (as of 2015),
- Economics (as of 2017),
- Business Informatics (as of 2017).
The Humboldt Rankings show how many scholars and scientists have come to Germany in the recent five years with funding from the Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation, and where they have spent their time doing research. It therefore provides an indicator for the international perception of research performance at an institution, as well as a measure of the success achieved in competition for international (young) researchers. The results are based on the funding statistics of the AvH Foundation. The number of scholarship holders and prize winners funded by the AvH Foundation is counted by institution. Results are weighted according to the size of the institution.
Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 6,196 Humboldt fellows completed a stay in Germany; of these, 74% were at universities and 26% were at non-university research institutions and other institutions of higher education. The current Humboldt Rankings (2020) put the University of Potsdam in 9th place out of 82 ranked universities, which constitutes an improvement of two places since the last ranking in 2017 and means that the University is in the top 10 group of Germany’s most sought after university locations for the first time. Between 2015 and 2019, all in all 68 AvH fellows and award winners spent time at the University of Potsdam.
The DFG Funding Atlas provides a detailed overview of the volume of publicly financed research in Germany. The Funding Atlas therefore continues a series of detailed reports on “key figures relating to publicly funded research in Germany.” The results are based on evaluations of DFG funding statistics. The current DFG Atlas identifies the University of Potsdam as among the 40 universities with the highest numbers of DFG grant application approvals in the humanities and social sciences (22nd place), life sciences (40th) and the natural sciences (34th) for 2014–2016.
In 2021, the University of Potsdam was once again ranked in group 3 of the CEWS overall ranking of universities with 10 out of 12 points and thus in the highest category that was achieved (on par with the University of Bielefeld and the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich). The University of Potsdam reached the top group for a total of 4 out of 6 indicators, and the middle group for 2 others:
Top group for the following indicators:
- Academic and artistic staff who have their primary occupation at the university
- Increase in the proportion of women among academic and artistic staff with primary occupation at the university compared to 2014
- Increase in the proportion of female professors compared to 2014
Middle group for the following indicators:
This means that the University of Potsdam continues to be one of the leading universities in Germany in terms of gender equality!
This is also reflected in the CEWS state ranking: In it, the state of Brandenburg with 11 out of 14 points (corresponding to ranking group 4) ranks in the top group of higher education institutions together with Berlin (ranking group 3).
The Founders’ Radar compiled by the Stifterverband compares universities on the basis of how much they support start-up companies. It therefore serves as an important instrument for assessing knowledge and technology transfer at an institution of higher education. A successful start-up culture affects a university’s attractiveness, both for students and for nearby companies or networks.
The University of Potsdam ranked third behind the Munich University of Applied Sciences and the Saarland University in the latest “Gründungsradar” (Start-up Radar) 2022. In the category of “large universities” with more than 15,000 students, the university is at the top of the list in the Berlin/Brandenburg metropolitan region.