Top Chinese Universities 2021: World Ranking Released

How do the top Chinese universities compare with world universities in 2021? ShanghaiRanking Consultancy released the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for 2021 showing the world’s top 100 universities.

China has 180 universities ranked in ARWU’s Top 1000, including 84 Top 500 universities, and 7 Top 100 universities. This year, one new Chinese university has entered the Top 100 list for the first time: Sun Yat-Sen University located in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. Read more about how Chinese universities are ranked.

Let’s see how the top Chinese universities compare in 2021!

Top 100 World Universities 2021

2021 Rank 2020 Rank Institution Country/Region
1 1 Harvard University United States
2 2 Stanford University United States
3 3 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
4 4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
5 5 University of California, Berkeley United States
6 6 Princeton University United States
7 9 University of Oxford United Kingdom
8 7 Columbia University United States
9 8 California Institute of Technology United States
10 10 University of Chicago United States
11 11 Yale University United States
12 12 Cornell University United States
13 14 Paris-Saclay University France
14 13 University of California, Los Angeles United States
15 19 University of Pennsylvania United States
16 15 Johns Hopkins University United States
17 16 University College London United Kingdom
18 18 University of California, San Diego United States
19 16 University of Washington United States
20 21 University of California, San Francisco United States
21 20 ETH Zurich Switzerland
22 23 University of Toronto Canada
23 23 Washington University in St. Louis United States
24 26 The University of Tokyo Japan
25 25 Imperial College London United Kingdom
26 22 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
27 27 New York University United States
28 29 Tsinghua University China
29 30 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
30 33 University of Copenhagen Denmark
31 32 University of Wisconsin – Madison United States
32 27 Duke University United States
33 35 The University of Melbourne Australia
34 30 Northwestern University United States
35 39 Sorbonne University France
35 36 The University of Manchester United Kingdom
37 34 Kyoto University Japan
38 36 PSL University France
38 42 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
40 40 University of Minnesota, Twin Cities United States
41 41 The University of Texas at Austin United States
42 45 Karolinska Institute Sweden
42 43 Rockefeller University United States
42 38 University of British Columbia Canada
45 49 Peking University China
46 44 University of Colorado at Boulder United States
47 47 King’s College London United Kingdom
48 48 The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas United States
48 51 University of Munich Germany
50 52 Utrecht University Netherlands
51 54 The University of Queensland Australia
52 54 Technical University of Munich Germany
52 58 Zhejiang University China
54 56 University of Zurich Switzerland
55 45 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
56 53 University of Maryland, College Park United States
57 57 Heidelberg University Germany
57 49 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
59 63 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
60 59 University of Geneva Switzerland
61 60 University of Oslo Norway
61 61 University of Southern California United States
63 73 University of Science and Technology of China China
64 69 University of Groningen Netherlands
65 74 The University of New South Wales Australia
65 62 Vanderbilt University United States
67 78 McGill University Canada
67 67 The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center United States
69 74 University of Sydney Australia
70 69 University of California, Irvine United States
71 69 Aarhus University Denmark
71 66 Ghent University Belgium
73 65 University of Paris France
74 69 Stockholm University Sweden
75 80 National University of Singapore Singapore
76 67 The Australian National University Australia
77 100 Fudan University China
78 64 University of Bristol United Kingdom
78 77 Uppsala University Sweden
80 85 Monash University Australia
81 91 Nanyang Technological University Singapore
82 74 University of Helsinki Finland
83 80 Leiden University Netherlands
84 83 Nagoya University Japan
84 87 University of Bonn Germany
86 79 Purdue University – West Lafayette United States
87 97 KU Leuven Belgium
87 88 University of Basel Switzerland
89 101-150 Sun Yat-sen University China
90 101-150 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
91 83 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne Switzerland
92 98 McMaster University Canada
92 93 Weizmann Institute of Science Israel
94 101-150 Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Israel
95 90 Boston University United States
96 85 The University of Western Australia Australia
97 95 Carnegie Mellon University United States
97 93 Moscow State University Russia
97 88 University of Florida United States
100 91 University of California, Davis United States


Introducing the Top Chinese Universities 2021

There are seven Chinese universities in ARWU’s top 100 this year. Let’s take a look at the top Chinese universities 2021!

Tsinghua University

Tsinghu University LogoTsinghua University is China’s best university, frequently ranked number one in the country. Tsinghua is ranked #28 in the world in 2021. With a motto of “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment”, Tsinghua University is committed to academic excellence, social responsibility, and global development. It’s no surprise that Tsinghua University is the top Chinese university in 2021.

Tsinghua University’s notable alumni include current Chinese president Xi Jinping and former president Hu Jintao.

Read more about Tsinghua University!

Peking University

Just behind Tsinghua University, Peking University is one of the most famous schools in China with a unique history and excellent academic reputation. Peking University is ranked #45 in the world in 2021, moving up from #49 in 2020.

Peking University is popular for having one of the most beautiful campuses in China. With the famous Weiming Lake, traditional Chinese architecture, and eyecatching Boya pagoda, it is no surprise to see both students and tourists on the campus grounds.

Read more about Peking University!

Zhejiang University

Zhejiang University logoZhejiang University is located in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, famed through Chinese history as a city of great natural beauty and cultural richness. Zhejiang University is ranked #52 in the world in 2021, up from #58 in 2020. It is famous for research, excellent academic quality, and a high output of publications and patents.

Founded in 1897, Zhejiang University is one of the oldest institutes of higher education in China.

Read more about Zhejiang University!


Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Located in the modern metropolis of Shanghai, Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks #59 in the world in 2021. Established by the Guangxu Emperor in 1896, this institution has a long history and today is a major research university in one of the world’s biggest and most advanced cities.

Alumni of Shanghai Jiao Tong have excellent research career opportunities: More than 200 of the academics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering are graduates of this University.

Read more about Shanghai Jiao Tong University!

University of Science and Technology of China

USTC, HefeiThe University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) is ranked #63 in the world in 2021, jumping up from #73 in 2020. Located in Hefei, Anhui province, the university contributes to modern scientific advancement in the city. Hefei has a long history dating back to the 8th century BCE.

USTC’s core strength is scientific and technological research, and more recently has expanded into humanities and management with a strong scientific and engineering emphasis. USTC is a world leader in fields like quantum manipulation, nanotechnology, high-temperature superconductivity, speech processing, fire science, and life science.

Read more about USTC!

Fudan University

Fudan University is located in Shanghai, the commercial and financial center on China’s eastern coast. Fudan University is ranked #77 in the world in 2021, a huge improvement from a #100 ranking in 2020.

Fudan is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary research university with many highly-ranked majors and programs. The university has 70 bachelor’s degree programs, 229 master’s degree programs, and 187 Ph.D. degree programs. Fudan has an excellent reputation for liberal arts, science, and medicine.

Read more about Fudan University!

Sun Yat-Sen University

Sun Yat-sen University LogoSun Yat-Sen University is ranked in the Top 100 ARWU for the first time this year! Sun Yat-Sen University is ranked #89 in the world in 2021, rising from #101-#150 in 2020. Located in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, the university is close to global cities like Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Sun Yat-sen University is a comprehensive multi-disciplinary university, including the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, technical sciences, medical sciences, pharmacology, and management sciences.

The university is named after Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a great democratic revolutionary leader of early 20th century China. His ideas profoundly influenced modern China.

Read more about Sun Yat-Sen University!

Do rankings matter?

Is it better to choose a top Chinese university in the 2021 rankings? Short answer: it depends. Watch China Admissions CEO Rich Coward explain more:


Savannah Billman has a master's degree in Chinese Law and Society at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She holds a B.A. from NYU Shanghai and has also written for The World of Chinese, TechNode, SupChina, and Sixth Tone.
Savannah Billman

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