No Hungarian university among the top 500

August 17, 2017

Lágymányos campus of Eötvös Loránd University. Photo: Facebook/ELTE Társadalomtudományi Kar

There is no Hungarian university among the 500 best according to Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities list, reports Index.hu.

Top Hungarian universities only managed to make it into the top 800, with Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) ranking in the 501-600 echelon and Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) ranking among the top 701-800 group. Index points out that this shows a deteriorating trend, since in 2015 both ELTE and the University of Szeged ranked among the top 500, and the previous year ELTE made it into the top 400.

Other post-socialist countries still lag behind their Western-European counterparts in the field of higher education. From the East-Central European region only six universities made it into the top 500, with top-ranking Prague’s Charles University and the University of Belgrad falling in the 201-300 echelon.

Hungarian institutions received remarkably better ratings in specific science fields:

  • ELTE’s Institute of Mathematics was ranked best such institution among post-socialist countries.
  • Both ELTE’s and the University of Debrecen’s Institute of Physics ranked among the top 300, however in this category Czech, Slovakian and Serbian institutes had better scores.
  • In the field of chemical engineering, Veszprém’s University of Pannonia was ranked among the top 150.
  • In the field of medical sciences, Semmelweis University is also among the top 150, only overtaken by Prague’s Charles University.
  • In the field of social sciences, only the Central European University (CEU) made it into the top 500. CEU’s departments of Political Science and Economics are ranked among the top 150 and 200, respectively.

The new site notes that lists of rankings should be interpreted with care, as there can be huge differences in the underlying methodology. The Academic Ranking of World Universities, for example, places great emphasis on the amount of scientific research and publication taking place at universities. However, it should be noted that Hungary’s underfunded universities have also failed to enter the top 500 of other international ranking lists in the previous years. As a result, university teachers are over-stressed and have little time to conduct research or publish.