Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! 2019-5: THE Young Universities 2019: where old universities become new universities

(2 July 2019) We covered young university rankings in depth in Ruth’s Rankings 25, in April 2017, and did a brief update in 2018.  The 2019 release includes 3 rankings:

  • Young Universities: 351 universities from THE’s 2019 World Rankings, established from 1969 to the present. World Rankings’ metrics are used but recalibrated.
  • Millennials: 64 universities in the Young University rankings that were established from 2000 and extrapolated from the Young University list.
  • Golden Age: 271 universities founded from 1945 who are over 50 years old. The list is taken from the World Rankings.

We expect to see changes each year as universities reach their Golden Age. This year’s changes result from mergers of old universities into new universities and an increase in the number of universities included in THE’s 2019 world rankings. The number of ranked young universities jumped from 100 in 2012 to 200 in 2017 and in 2019 there are 351. 60 countries are represented. Click here for methodology.

The UK leads the list with 34 universities followed by France with 24. Australia leads the Asia-Pacific region with 22 followed by India with 21, Taiwan with 13, Japan with 11 and Malaysia with 10. The U.S. has 7, 6 of which are state university branches. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology repeats as number one from 2018. Unlike many top universities on the Young list, it opened in 1991, starting from “the ground up” (HKUST). See Table 1 (in pdf) for top 10 in the World.  5 of the top 10 are from Asia and 5 from Europe with the newly re-established Sorbonne University being the only new entrant (Sorbonne 2018).

7 of the top 10 in the Asia/Pac/South Asia region are from Asia and 10 of the top 20 are from Oceana.  8 of the top 10 specialize in science and technology. See Table 2 (in pdf) for the top 20 in the region and the top university from each regional country.

The millennial rankings subset has a different geographic profile.  9 of the top 10 are European.  5 result from mergers of old universities, 2 are medical schools that were part of historically old universities and a third medical school was formed as a joint venture between two universities (see Note 1 below). The top two, Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) and the 2018 version of the Sorbonne, originally founded the 13th century, are in the top 100 in the world.

This year’s universities in the Golden Age group were established between 1945 and 1967. Golden Age rankings are extrapolated from THE’s World University rankings. Top ranked is the University of California San Diego followed by Australian National University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. Japan has the largest contingent with 28, followed by the UK with 23.

Notable trends in the Young Rankings include:

  • Five of the top 10 from Asia
  • Subject emphasis of the newly founded young universities on Sci Tech
  • Historical universities in Europe merging to form new universities
  • Annual increases in the number of ranked universities, but stability at the top of the rankings

In the future, News Flash! will be released monthly as News Updates and include changes to rankings and other information of relevance to Ruth’s Rankings articles.



Our story (undated) Hong Kong University of Science and Technology accessed at June 29, 2019

History (25 July 2018).  Sorbonne Université accessed 29 June 2019 at


NOTE: THE only includes universities that teach undergraduates.  In countries following the British model, medical school is an undergraduate program.


Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! is written by Ruth A. Pagell, emeritus faculty librarian at Emory University.  After working at Emory, she was the founding librarian of the Li Ka Shing Library at Singapore Management University and then adjunct faculty [teaching] in the Library and Information Science Program at the University of Hawaii.  She has written and spoken extensively on various aspects of librarianship, including contributing articles to ACCESS –