CHE Ranking
CHE Hochschulranking
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the multidimensional ranking of higher education institutions

Ranking Qualitätssiegel


Methodology CHE ExcellenceRanking

For whom is the CHE ExcellenceRanking intended?
All those who, after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree, intend to continue their studies with a master’s programme at a European higher education institution (HEI), but who have no idea which programme to choose or where to attend. It is also intended for all students planning to earn a doctoral degree who are looking for a suitable HEI or research group, as well as all academics and non-academic staff interested in finding out the European standing of their HEI.

What does the CHE ExcellenceRanking offer?
The ExcellenceRanking gives evaluations by students and information about study programmes and teaching, computer and laboratory equipment, research performance and aspects on internationality. The disciplines examined were biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

The CHE ExcellenceRanking includes universities from across Europe that have been selected on the basis of excellent research results. There is no pan-European comparison of all study offers. This first edition focuses on the natural science disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Four indicators determine the selection of the universities to be assessed:

Size indicator: number of publications in international journals (1997 – 2004)
Perception indicator: citations (in relation to the international standard)
Beacon indicator: number of oft-cited authors and Nobel Prize winners at the university
Europe indicator: number of projects in the Marie Curie research promotion programme of the EU

Apart from the “ranked” criteria, the CHE ExcellenceRanking contains much more additional information that is not part of the ranking such as the size of the faculties, admission conditions and details on academic programmes. One of the ranking’s special features is the possibility to carry out a targeted search for research groups. Every faculty was asked to specify their research teams and classify them into one or more categories. All teams assigned to a particular subject category can be found by choosing that category.

What is special about the CHE ExcellenceRanking?

Detailed analysis rather than general ranking
The results of the research are deliberately not added together to give a total number of points. The reason for this is that there is simply no “best“ higher education institution, either for a single discipline let alone for all disciplines. Instead of crowning an overall winner, we offer a multidimensional ranking. 

Rank groups instead of ranking positions
The CHE ExcellenceRanking does not define "rank positions" for individual HEIs as other rankings do, but rather classifies the HEIs into the top, medium and bottom groups (gold, silver and bronze medals respectively, so to speak). When allocating rank positions, there is the danger of accidental fluctuations resulting in seeming differences that might wrongly be interpreted as real differences. If HEIs are close to each other in the ranking positions, there is also the risk that minimal differences translate into many ranking positions.

Relevance of disciplines
The CHE-ExcellenceRanking is exclusively about disciplines. HEIs are not identical and “the” best HEI does not exist. The performances of the HEIs in the individual disciplines, subjects and faculties differ too widely. An aggregate for an entire HEI offers no useful information to feed into the decision-making process of potential students who study a specific subject. It also blurs the differences between the disciplines of a given HEI, differences based on explicit profile decisions. The individual rankings will therefore always be compiled in relation to specific disciplines.

Diversity of methods
Rankings are meant to offer a differentiated impression of an HEI from different perspectives. Besides facts about disciplines and study programmes, students´ views are also part of the ranking.

Some of the data is not yet available in a standard form for all countries, so no comparison was made in these cases. The data collected will, however, be provided as additional information.


Britta Hoffmann-Kobert
Britta Hoffmann-Kobertmehr
Telefon: 05241 9761-27
Fax: 05241 9761-40
E-Mail: britta.hoffmann-kobert
Anita Schmitzmehr
Telefon: 05241 9761-41

Identifying the Best: The CHE ExcellenceRanking 2010 (pdf)mehr

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