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Rubrik: News

New swissUp ranking of the natural sciences
Educational reputation a major plus

Published: 20.04.2006 06:00
Modified: 19.04.2006 18:20

(per) ETH Zurich performs well as compared to other Swiss universities, according to the new swissUp rating of the natural and exact sciences (1) . ETH’s educational reputation is apparently outstanding. This was the judgment passed by polled professors who were asked which university other than their own they would recommend for study in their own fields. The recommendation was to be made on the basis of the school’s educational quality. ETH found its way into the highest ranking group in six out of seven disciplines. For the seventh discipline, Pharmacy, there was no assessment made. In the area of scientific publications, as well, ETH is among the best in the country, as measured by the number of publications per researcher: ETH places first in Mathematics, with 8.4 publications per researcher, and second in Physics – behind the EPFL – with 14.1 per researcher.

Technically: Simply the best

According to the swissUp study, ETH’s technical equipment and facilities are also the very best. The infrastructure in the Computer Science Department, as well as in the Biology, Pharmacy, and Physics laboratories, all made it into the top spots.

In the nation-wide comparison, Chemistry and Earth Sciences were seen as especially attractive disciplines. The Earth Sciences count the highest number of doctoral candidates registered per professor.

One somewhat peculiar result was ETH’s poor rating in the category “Allocation of third-party resources per researcher and year”. The Earth Sciences are in the lowest group, as are Chemistry and Computer Science; Pharmacy and Mathematics are in the middle group.

Care of students is only average

The new swissUp rating of Swiss universities also took into account a rather sobering poll conducted among students. No university was considered top class. The student poll placed the ETH departments of Pharmacy, Computer Science and Physics in the bottom group, with Biology in the middle group. According to swissUp, however, Swiss students are more critical of the care they receive than are their colleagues in Germany and Austria.

Results concerning the general student situation are mixed. The assessment is not limited to the student’s own field but extends to the entire school; budding ETH physicists are dissatisfied with the circumstances of their studies. In Mathematics and Pharmacy, ETH was given an average rating. Biology and Computer Science students, however, placed the school at the top.

Second comparison of German, Austrian and Swiss Universities

The new swissUp study, the fifth since 2001, is based on information gathered from more than 2,700 students and 1,100 professors. swissUp also incorporated figures from the Bundesamt für Statistik (BfS – Swiss Federal Statistical Office) and the universities. Eleven disciplines were examined (Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Earth Sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, Pharmacy, Physics, Human Medicine, and Dentistry) across eight universities (Basel, Bern, Geneva, Fribourg, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, and Zurich) and the two ETHs.

This was the second time that swissUp has compared the Swiss universities with those in Germany and Austria. This overall comparison will be published at the beginning of May.

(1 Detailed study, plus clarification of the indicators applied: (

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