Rankings & accreditations

Maastricht University (UM) has built a solid reputation, and is today considered one of the best young universities in the world. UM consistently earns top positions in various national and international rankings.

UM has been awarded two prestigious quality certificates from the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO): the Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment and the Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation.

Rankings & Accreditations

International rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking* 
Maastricht University ranks 128th in the latest edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, slightly dropping from 103rd last year.

The THE World University Rankings are based on 13 strict and comprehensive performance indicators for education, research, knowledge transfer and internationalisation. UM still scores particularly well in terms of international outlook (e.g. percentage of international staff and students; score 97.0). On the other THE-pillars UM scores 79.6 for citations, 47.1 for research, 38.8 for teaching and 79.8 for industry income.

Based on this ranking, THE publishes specialised rankings each year, such as:

  • THE 250 under 50.
    UM scores particularly high marks when the university is compared to other young universities. In the THE list of 250 universities under 50 years, UM sores 5th place worldwide.
  • THE World University Rankings by SubjectIn the 2019 THE Subject rankings, UM is ranked 31st for Education, showing an increase of 25 places compared to last year. Furthermore, UM is now ranked 46th for Law; an increase of 15 places. Business and Economics rank 56th, a slight decrease of 12 places compared to last year. Social Sciences ranks 101-125, maintaining last year’s score.
    The Subject Rankings are mainly based on the 13 performance indicators for education, research, knowledge transfer and internationalisation made for the THE World University Rankings. For a full overview of the results, visit the THE subject rankings page.
  • New ranking: THE Best universities in Europe
    Maastricht University occupies the 36th place in this year's first annual publication of the Best universities in Europe ranking. This ranking shows the top 200 of Europe's leading universities. For more details, visit the THE Best universities in Europe page.

High scores in 'under 50' rankings

In two prestigious rankings that list the best universities worldwide under the age of 50, UM scores very high grades. In the 2018 edition of Times Higher Education 250 under 50, UM is placed 5th. In the 2017 QS ‘top 50 under 50’, UM is the 15th best young university worldwide.

QS World University Rankings**
In the 2018 QS World University Rankings, UM ranks 211th, which is a slight decrease compared to 2017, when UM was ranked 200th. Visit the QS website  for the full ranking.

Based on this ranking, QS publishes specialised rankings each year, such as:

  • QS ‘top 50 under 50’
    In the 2018 QS ‘top 50 under 50’, UM is the 15th best young university worldwide.
  • QS Employablity
    The university has been included in the QS Employability ranking for the first time this year, ending up in position 171-180 (out of the 500 universities evaluated). UM was assessed based on public data; no data were submitted by the university that were included by the QS in the assessment. This ranking includes the reputation of UM as an employer, the places that UM alumni occupy in a 'high achievers list', cooperation with international companies and the percentage of graduates who have a part-time or a full-time job within 12 months after graduation.

Shanghai Ranking***
Maastricht University has maintained its place in the top 300 in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The ARWU, better known as the Shanghai Ranking , assesses universities on the quality of education, quality of academic staff, research output and academic staff performance.

CWTS Leiden ranking
UM ranks 236th in the 2018 CWTS Leiden Ranking, dropping 14 places from the 222nd position in 2017 (based on the publications of the university compared to other publications in the same discipline that year). This ranking measures the scientific performance of more than 900 major universities in 55 countries, based on Web of Science indexed publications from 2013-2016. In the domain of Biomedical & Health Sciences, UM scores 101st (same as last year) and in the domain of Social Sciences & Humanities, UM dropped from the 73rd to the 81st position.

Financial Times
In 2017, Maastricht University's master's programme in International Business was ranked 33rd, according to the Masters in Management ranking. In the Financial Times European Business Schools ranking of 2016, the School of Business and Economics is ranked 62nd.

*The next THE ranking will be published in October 2018.
**The next QS ranking will be published in June 2019.
***The next Shanghai Ranking will be published in August 2019.

National rankings

Keuzegids Universiteiten 2018*

  • In the 2018 Keuzegids Universiteiten, which ranks bachelor’s programmes, the three UM colleges were awarded a quality seal, which distinguishes them as top programmes. Remarkably, University College Venlo, participating for the first time, immediately ranked #1 in its field, and University College Maastricht and the Maastricht Science Programme maintained their top positions.
  • 15 of our 18 bachelor’s programmes are among the top 3 in their field (two more than last year).
  • 7 of our programmes rose in the rankings, and 3 of those achieved 1st place in their field. Most notably, Psychology advanced from 9th in 2014 to 1st place in the latest ranking, while Dutch Law rose from 8th last year to 3rd. The Medicine programme improved from 6th place in 2015 to 2nd place.
  • 4 programmes, including Knowledge Engineering, retained their 1st place positions.
  • University College Maastricht is part of a group of 20 Dutch bachelor’s programmes that have delivered ‘top quality’ for 5 years in a row.

As the country’s most international university, UM scores highest in the categories international exchange and international outlook. The quality of English as the language of instruction at UM is also highly ranked. Most UM programmes with high rankings in the Keuzegids Universiteiten score particularly well for their practice-oriented approach, facilities and curriculum.

The overall opinion on information provision is less positive—a known issue at the university. With the recent launch of the new Student Portal, where students can access personalised and protected study information online, anytime and anywhere, a major step has already been taken in improving our information provision.

Keuzegids Masters 2018**

  • Maastricht University has been ranked as the country’s 2nd best university in the Keuzegids Masters.
  • 11 programmes were designated ‘top study programmes’: Management of Learning (SBE), Research Master European Studies (FASoS), European Studies on Society, Science and Technology (FASoS), Research Master Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology (FASoS), Forensic Psychology (FPN), Data Science for Decision Making (FSE/DKE), Global Supply Chain Management and Change (SBE/UM Campus Venlo), Human Decision Science (SBE), Research Master Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (FPN), Governance and Leadership European Public Health (FHML/CAPHRI) en Health Professions Education (FHML/SHE). This quality certificate is given only to the programmes that receive a score of 76 or higher in the Keuzegids assessment.
  • The programme Health Education and Promotion came in 1st in its category.

Elsevier Best Studies 2018***
In the annual ‘Best Studies’ edition of the Dutch magazine Elsevier, universities are ranked based on the quality and variety of their programmes, facilities, curriculum, teaching quality, testing standards and overall organisation and communication. In 2018, the following UM programmes are ranked:

  • 3 bachelor’s programmes are ranked 1st: Arts and Culture, European Studies and University College Maastricht.
  • University College Maastricht is ranked 1st and University College Venlo is ranked 2nd (the colleges switched places this year). Both colleges belong to the same category. All Maastricht colleges received an exceptionally high student rating.
  • In the student evaluations, Maastricht University is ranked 3rd (out of 4) in the ‘specialised universities’ category.
  • Fiscal Economics is the most improved course in terms of student assessment. The Medicine bachelor's programme boasted the largest percentage of UM students recommending their programme to others.

Elsevier also publishes results for the master’s programmes. As it is not always possible to compare master’s programmes, national comparisons were only made for 14 programmes. Three UM master's programmes were ranked 1st: Artificial Intelligence, Health Sciences (Research) and Cultures of Art, Science and Technology (Research)

It is notable that the master’s programme Economics and Operations Research shows a significant improvement in student satisfaction. Management of Learning also has very satisfied students this year.

*The next Keuzegids Universiteiten will be published in November 2018.
**The next Keuzegids Masters will be published in February 2019. 
***The next Elsevier will be published in September 2019.


The quality of university programmes is regularly evaluated by national and international accreditation organisations. 

NVAO quality certificates
UM has been granted to prestigious quality certificates by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)

  • the ‘Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment’ 
  • the ‘Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation’

NVAO Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment
The ‘Institutional Quality Assurance Assessment’ focuses on university-wide internal quality assurance for study programmes. The six-year, university-wide accreditation means not only that UM has first-rate education, but also that it is supported by an overarching system that ensures the continuous high quality of the curricula. 

For this certificate, NVAO evaluated, among other things, the quality assurance system, the planning and control cycle, the way in which programmes are improved, the governance and organisational structure, and how the process of university decision-making promotes the quality of education.

NVAO Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation
In 2013, UM was awarded the NVAO’s Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation. This accreditation is for six years and is an external acknowledgement of the university’s efforts towards internationalisation. According to the NVAO, internationalisation is ‘in UM’s DNA’.

The following programmes have been awarded the NVAO Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation:

School of Business and Economics

  • BSc in International Business
  • MSc in International Business
  • MSc in Information & Network Economics
  • MSc in Management of Learning
  • MSc in Global Supply Management & Change

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences

  • BSc in European Public Health
  • MSc in European Public Health
  • MSc in Global Health
  • MSc in Health Professions Education

Dutch & European Quality Certificates for Internationalisation
A number of programmes from Maastricht University have been awarded the 'Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation' from the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). For this quality feature, NVAO uses the Frameworks for the Assessment of Quality in Internationalisation that were created by the European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education (ECA).  The ECA is the first quality assurance agency to assess the quality of internationalisation in compliance with current international quality assurance practices. Once a programme is awarded the NVAO quality feature, they can apply for the ECA Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation.

The following programmes have been awarded both the NVAO Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation and the ECA Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation (View the full ECA report) :

School of Business and Economics

  • BSc in International Business
  • MSc in International Business
  • MSc in Information & Network Economics
  • MSc in Management of Learning
  • MSc in Global Supply Management & Change

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences

  • BSc in European Public Health
  • MSc in European Public Health
  • MSc in Global Health
  • MSc in Health Professions Education

NVAO quality certificate ‘small-scale and intensive’
The University College Maastricht bachelor’s programme at as well as the master’s programme in Forensic Psychology received the special NVAO quality label 'small-scale and intensive'.

NVAO quality certificate for the excellent achievement level of its graduates
In 2008, University College Maastricht was the first to receive an NVAO quality label for the excellent achievement level of its graduates. It is an exceptional additional certificate, on top of the regular accreditation, for programmes that excel in a specific area. Only two higher education programmes have been awarded this label.

'Triple crown' of accreditations
The Maastricht University School of Business and Economics is internationally accredited by the renowned AACSB (American), EQUIS (European) and AMBA (UK), making it part of an elite group of international schools with all three accreditations. This means that graduates of the school can take their degree anywhere in the world.


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