The latest World University Rankings, compiled by the British journal, Times Higher Education, has ranked four Estonian higher education institutions: TalTech – the Tallinn University of Technology – is ranked higher than in 2020, while the University of Tartu has kept the same position and Tallinn University has slipped; for the first time, the ranking includes the Estonian University of Life Sciences.
The ranking, compiled since 2004, considers 13 performance indicators that are grouped into five areas: the learning environment, research, research influence, industry income and international outlook.
TalTech is ranked as the 601-800th best university in the world – just a year ago, the institution was in the 801-1,000 bracket. But Tallinn University, a year ago positioned equally with TalTech, is now ranked in the 1,001-1,200 bracket. For the first time, the ranking includes the Estonian University of Life Sciences, in the 801-1,000 bracket. However, the University of Tartu is still the best higher education institution in Estonia – it is ranked among the 251-300 best universities in the world.
TalTech attracts international students
TalTech, founded in 1918 by the Estonian Engineering Society and over the course of the century named the Tallinn College of Engineering and during the Soviet occupation of Estonia, Tallinn Polytechnic Institute, is the country’s only technical university. It is also the most international of the Estonian universities – more than 1,000 international students study here. Its campus is home to many high-tech companies as well as the Estonian Information Technology College and a science park.
Tallinn University was formed in 2005 by the merger of several institutions, of which the oldest was the Tallinn Teachers Institute, founded in 1919. While there is a school of natural science and health, the emphasis is on the humanities through schools of education, arts and communication, government, law and society, humanities and film and media. The Asian studies section of the school of humanities runs courses in Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, Sanskrit, Korean and Persian.
Established in 2005, the Estonian University of Life Sciences is located in Tartu. It traces its history back to 1951 as the former Estonian Agricultural University.
Students can study at bachelor’s, master’s and PhD level across subjects such as agriculture, forestry, animal science, veterinary science, rural life and economy, food science, biodiversity, nature protection, renewable natural resources and environmentally friendly technologies.
It’s the only university in Estonia that provides research into the sustainable development of natural resources necessary for the preservation of heritage and habitat. In addition, it’s known as the greenest university in the country thanks to the adoption of various sustainable practices on campus.
Tartu University still the best
The University of Tartu, in Estonia’s second largest town, was founded by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632. Today, it is a leading centre of research and training in Estonia; it is the only university in the country licensed to teach medicine.
The institution collaborates with over 70 international universities in 27 countries and is also a member of the prestigious Coimbra Group of European universities. More than 13,000 students attend the university – including around 800 international students from 70 different countries, as several of its courses are taught in English.
The University of Tartu’s alumni make up 40 per cent of Estonia’s parliament, 87 per cent of the country’s attorneys, 100 per cent of its judges, and 99 per cent of Estonia’s medical doctors. Three Estonian presidents – Konstantin Päts, Lennart Meri and Kersti Kaljulaid – graduated from the University of Tartu.
The best universities in the world, according to World University Rankings 2022, are the University of Oxford (UK), California University of Technology (US), Harvard University (US), Stanford University (US), the University of Cambridge (UK) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US).
Cover: TalTech’s campus in Tallinn. Photo by TalTech.