The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has retained its top spot in Times Higher Education‘s (THE) annual World’s Best Small Universities list, followed by France’s École Normale Supérieure and South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech).
The universities, which must teach more than four subjects, have less than 5,000 students and are listed in THE‘s World University Rankings 2016-17, were ranked through surveys with their students.
In this year’s rankings, these smaller schools have an average of 3,038 students.
In contrast, the schools listed in THE’s World University Rankings 2016-17 have more than eight times the number of students, with an average of 24,953 students.
Among the many reasons the students love the schools, as told to THE, are smaller classes and closer teacher-student relationships, made possible by their small size.
One example can be found at Caltech, as THE’s rankings editor Phil Baty found when he visited the campus back in 2014.
— Cassandra Volpe Horii, PhD (she/her) (@cvhorii) March 2, 2017
With a small academic staff body and student population, students get plenty of opportunities for impromptu meetings and more multi-faculty collaboration, a perk which will prove harder to get in bigger campuses.
Caltech’s structure and operation have served as an inspiration to Postech.
The formula of running small science and technology-based research institutions well has played out right for both institutions. Both schools have retained their top five positions on the Best Small University list.
Choose what you want to learn
In École Normale Supérieure, home to the least number of students in the list, students get to enjoy the perks of going to a small school, but still not miss out on what a metropolitan city, such as Paris, can offer.
In addition, students also get the unique chance to design their own courses based on their interests and goals post-graduation.
“The effectiveness of our university training is strengthened by the personalised curriculum fitting our interests and professional projects,” says Aude Untersee, a geosciences undergraduate at the university.
Small universities work better for international students too, thanks to a more favourable student-to-teacher ratio, as the rankings found.
Chinese student at École Polytechnique (4th place on the list) Jianfei Zhang said the smaller class sizes, “really help us to master the various scientific concepts”.
“This is not easily feasible in big universities.”
Representing more than 10 countries in Europe, Asia and the US, here are the best “tiny” universities in the world:
|2017 Best Small
|University||Country||Total students||THE’s World University
|1||California Institute of Technology||US||2181||2|
|2||École Normale Supérieure||France||1548||66|
|3||Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech)||South Korea||3017||104|
|5||Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa||Italy||545||137|
|6||Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna||Italy||679||190|
|7||École Normale Supérieure de Lyon||France||2238||201-250|
|8||Indian Institute of Science||India||3398||201-250|
|9||Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences||Sweden||3838||251-300|
|10||Free University of Bozen-Bolzano||Italy||2813||251-300|
|13||University of Alaska Fairbanks||US||3875||301-350|
|16||Cyprus University of Technology||Cyprus||3012||401-500|
|17||Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU)||Tokyo||2906||401-500|
|18||University of Neuchâtel||Switzerland||4208||401-500|
|19||University of Tulsa||US||4682||501-600|