This standing represents a bit of a drop off for the Bogotá research university that is often called Uniandes. In 2017, Times Higher Education placed Los Andes fifth in all of Latin America.
Photo: The Edifício Mario Laserna at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. (Credit: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo / Universidad de los Andes)
Despite the slight fall, Universidad de los Andes, which has 16,664 students, according to the organization’s data, was easily the top performer in the country and scores favorably against its peers across Latin America when it comes to research and citations.
“It is an innovation- and research-led university with 163 laboratories, and admission is competitive,” wrote Times Higher Education in its summary of the school. “Its students tend to have a strong academic background before applying. The university aims to produce ‘highly skilled’ and ‘well-rounded’ graduates. Many stay on to pursue further studies.”
But after Uniandes, the nation’s institutions continue to lag behind many of their regional peers in the rankings.
The massive population of Brazil, in addition to its cultural heritage, is a key factor for its dominance of the list. Overall, the country of 200 million citizens occupies 24 of the top 50 spots for Latin American universities, including first and second place (State University of Campinas and the University of São Paulo).
But Colombian schools also significantly underperform compared to Chilean institutions, despite the Andean country having nearly three times the population.
Only three other Colombian schools — Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín (20th), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá (29th), and Universidad Nacional de Colombia (31st) — even placed in the top 50 for the region.
Chile, by comparison, has nine in the top 50, led by Pontificia Universidad Católica (3rd) and Universidad del Chile (6th).
Argentina also beats Colombia with five in the top 50, although it has no institutions on par with Universidad de los Andes. Its highest-ranking universities this year are Universidad Nacional de San Martín (19th) and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (22nd).
Colombia did perform well compared to Mexico, however, despite it having a population of around 120 million versus less than 50 million for Colombia. Each placed four institutions in the top 50, although Mexico as expected does better in terms of volume with 16 in the top 100 compared to just nine for Colombia.
The five other Colombian schools ranked in the top 100 of Latin America are: Universidad Industrial de Santander in Bucaramanga, Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Universidad Antonio Nariño in Bogotá, and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín.