University of Auckland climbs to 137th in world rankings - the highest of any NZ university ever

The University of Auckland.
The University of Auckland. Photo credit: Getty Images

The University of Auckland is celebrating a rise up the leaderboard in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

It's now ranked 137th in the world, up from 147th last year - the highest any New Zealand university has ever been since the table was introduced in 2010. 

"Maintaining and improving our internationally recognised levels of education and research despite the uncertainties of the current environment, and at the same time positioning the University for a post-Covid reality, has been no mean feat," said vice-chancellor Dawn Freshwater. 

"I commend University of Auckland staff for their dedication in achieving this outstanding result. It is the strength of our academic disciplines, including transdisciplinary collaborations, whole heartedly supported by our professional staff, that is reflected in this result."

This year's list ranked more than 1600 universities in 99 countries, based on "13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook".

Top of the list - for the sixth year in a row - is the UK's University of Oxford. Second-equal are California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Harvard University, both in the US. The top 10 is rounded out by Stanford (US), Cambridge (UK), MIT (US), Princeton (US), University of California, Berkeley (US), Yale (US) and Chicago (US). 

The highest-ranked university outside of the UK or US was Switzerland's ETH Zurich - matching the results of another university leaderboard, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which released its results in June. QS ranked MIT number one, with the University of Auckland at 85th. 

For the first time, two Chinese universities made the top 20 - Peking and Tsinghua in equal 16th. 

Below 200th place, universities are sorted into groups. AUT and the University of Otago made the 201st-250th group, Waikato 401st-500th, Canterbury, Lincoln and Victoria 501st-600th, and Massey 601st-800th. 

Australia has a few universities ranked higher than Auckland, including Melbourne in 33rd, followed by Australian National University and Queensland (54th), Monash (57th), Sydney (58th), UNSW Sydney (70th), Adelaide (111th) and Western Australia (132nd).