University of Tartu programmes still on top

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Last week British higher education magazine Times Higher Education (THE) published four rankings of the life science, physical science, psychology and medical and health science programmes of the world’s best universities. The University of Tartu has improved its ranking in psychology and physical sciences and maintained its position in the ranking of medical and health sciences. The university’s life science programmes maintain their high place.

The psychology programme moved up 100 places to range 201-250 compared with last year’s 301-400. The ranking compared the 494 best universities in the world.

“The news about our high ranking brings us great joy, but it was not entirely unexpected,” said Kariina Laas, Head of the Institute of Psychology. “The people of the University of Tartu Institute of Psychology have worked for decades in order to ensure that studies and research meet world standards. We consider research and teaching inseparable in many ways: top researchers teach, lecturers engage in research and even competent practitioners participate in research and teaching. Students learn from both researchers and practitioners and defend high-quality theses. We are proud of our employees, students and alumni. It is important to us to ensure that the training of consulting practitioners has a strong scientific basis because psychologists work with human souls and should therefore keep themselves up to date with the latest scientific literature.”

Nevertheless, Laas expressed concern over the future: “Our joy is overshadowed by research funding, which has turned into a gamble and thus threatens the viability of several psychology labs and research groups that have brought us fame. As the situation progresses, we will no longer be able to maintain that position.”

UT physical science programmes, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and statistics, physics and other natural and exact sciences focusing on the non-living world, which shared places 401-500 last year, have moved up to the range 301-400 among 1054 world universities.

University of Tartu Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Peeter Burk feels that even though a high place in the ranking is a worthy recognition of the work of the researchers and lecturers in the field, they do not plan their work based on these indicators. “Our objective is to conduct interesting research, successfully publish our works, obtain grants and find conscientious people to work with. The improvement of the position of our programmes in these reputable rankings is also perhaps due to the first results we have achieved with the help of the equipment bought using the funds received from structural funds, which have been used to produce research articles that have garnered numerous citations. I believe and hope that this trend will continue.”

The rankings compared the medical and health science programmes of 775 universities and the University of Tartu fell within the range of 301-400. The university’s life science programmes fall within the range of 176-200 in the ranking of 821 world universities.

THE publishes the rankings of subjects in four stages. The first stage confirmed the world-class quality of the University of Tartu’s arts and humanities and the second the excellent position of its computer science. In the third stage it was revealed that the University of Tartu business and economics programmes have moved up to places 201-250, which is the highest result to date.

The University of Tartu falls within the range 301-350 in the THE overall ranking of world universities.

British magazine Times Higher Education bases its university rankings on 13 performance indicators that describe the learning environment, the impact of research results, the volume of research, academic reputation, revenue, innovation and the degree of internationalisation.

For further information, please contact: Lauri Randveer, University of Tartu Senior Specialist for International Cooperation, 512 9996,