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Diverse national and international university rankings consistently mirror the excellence of the University of Potsdam.

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.

International Rankings

THE: Times Higher Education – World University Ranking

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 2021” out of a total of 1,527 institutions across the globe, Brandenburg’s largest university again placed in the ranking group from 251–300 and was ranked at the 25th ranking in Germany (press release).  In June 2021, Potsdam took third place in the THE Rankings for Young Universities in Germany and 30th 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 Frankfurt, Kiel, Jena, and Bochum, and is situated in the same cluster as its international strategic partner institutions at HSE Moscow and Stellenbosch University.

The University of Potsdam achieved the following rankings in individual subjects (based on WUR 2021 rankings): “Arts and Humanities” # 126-150, “Computer Science” # 201-250, “Life Sciences” # 201-250, “Physical Sciences” # 251-300, “Education” # 201-250 and “Psychology” # 89. 

Academic Ranking of World Universities

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also called the Shanghai Ranking, is published 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 -2020the University of Potsdam succeeded in positioning  itself in the global Top 1000 rankings and is currentlyone of 49  German universities listedthere. The current ARWU ranking (2020) lists the University of Potsdam in group 401-500 and in group25-30 among German universities, ahead of Saarland University and theUniversity of Bremen

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).  

QS World University Ranking

The World University Ranking, published annually by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), currently ranks more than 1000 universities. The University of Potsdam is currently ranked in the 701–800 group. In national comparison within Germany, the University of Potsdam occupies 41st place out of 46 ranked universities.

The QS World University Ranking compares six different indicators and groups academic institutions on the basis of the following indicators and priorities: International reputation (40%), Reputation among employers (10%), Teacher-to-student ratio (20%), Research performance (per capita citations of scholars in relation to faculty) (20%), and International faculty ratio/international student ratio (5% each). Two of the indicators (International reputation and Reputation among employers) are based on evaluations from two surveys conducted by QS.

National Rankings

CHE University Ranking

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).

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation: Humboldt Ranking

 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.

German Research Foundation (DFG) Funding Atlas

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.


The University of Potsdam placed excellent again in the top group of the overall evaluation in the “University Rankings according to Equal Opportunity” study published in 2019. This ranking instrument is published by the Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences (gesis) and the Center of Excellence Women and Science (CEWS) and depicts the performance of universities with regard to equal opportunities for men and women at different stages of their academic careers. The rankings evaluate data from official statistics related to students, doctorates, post-doctorate qualifications (Habilitation) and staff as well as professorships. The vital factor is the proportion of women at various qualification stages in scholarly careers, related to the proportion of female students at a university. 

Founders’ Radar

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 Technical University of Munich and the Munich University of Applied Sciences in the latest “Gründungsradar” (Start-up Radar) 2020. 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. Among non-technical universities, the University of Potsdam even ranks first nationwide.