Thirteen Spanish universities make top 500 on world ranking

The influential ARWU list shows Barcelona University within the 151-200 tier, but educators say centers in Spain are underfunded

Students at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.
Students at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.C. Ribas

Thirteen Spanish universities are among the top 500 in the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), released on Thursday by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

The 38 Spanish universities that made it into the top 500.
The 38 Spanish universities that made it into the top 500.

This influential list, which helps shape educational policies in many countries, shows a slight improvement from last year, when Spain had 10 centers in the top 500 tier.

The University of Barcelona is the first of the 13 Spanish institutions of higher learning to make the list, ranking within the 151-200 range. Barcelona’s Autonomous University, Madrid’s Complutense University, and the universities of Granada and Valencia placed in the 200-300 bracket.

Madrid’s Autonomous University and Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra ranked between the 300th and 400th positions, while Valencia’s Polytechnic University and the universities of Oviedo, Seville, Balearic Islands, Basque Country and Zaragoza ranked between 400 and 500.

Seventeen of the world’s top 20 universities, according to this study, are in the United States.

Spanish academic sources underscore the vast difference in funding, and note that public universities suffered budget cuts of €9.5 billion between 2010 and 2018. Spanish universities are also held back by a culture of patronage (73% of professors teach at the same center where they obtained their doctoral degrees), and a faculty that is made up of aged staff on permanent contracts and young educators with precarious jobs.

English version by Susana Urra.


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