They are the Baby Boomers of academia – universities born in the decades after World War Two, a period of rapid expansion of higher education in many countries.
Times Higher Education has used the same methodology it applies to its World University Rankings to grade the world’s Golden Age institutions – universities founded between 1945 and 1967 which are now between around 50 and 80 years old.
There are 271 Golden Age universities; the US, UK and India all have a heavy presence in the table, but Japan is the most-represented nation with 46 institutions.
Australia takes three of the top slots in the top 10; two go to the US; while China, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea and the UK have one each.
10. Free University of Berlin, Germany
After the Second World War, Berlin was divided into areas controlled by the victorious allies. The Universität Unter den Linden in Berlin found itself in the Soviet zone.
The Free University of Berlin was set up as an alternative in West Berlin 1948. It has more than 32,000 students, around 5,000 academic staff and offers over 150 degree programmes.
=8. UNSW Sydney, Australia
UNSW came into being in 1949 and has a student body of around 52,000. Some 13,000 of them are international students from more than 130 countries.
The university describes itself as a world leader in photovoltaics, HIV/AIDS research and quantum computing, and has 4,300 research staff.
=8. University of California, Irvine, US
Irvine, one of 10 institutions that make up the University of California, is based in Orange County – just to the south of Los Angeles.
It has around 30,000 students and a library of 3.6 million books.
7. University of Science and Technology of China
The University of Science and Technology of China was founded in 1958 to meet China’s growing need for a highly skilled workforce with world-class knowledge of science and technology. Originally, it was located in Beijing but in 1970 during the Cultural Revolution moved to Hefei.
It has around 15,000 students and 3,500 faculty members across its 15 schools, which cover physical sciences, life sciences, software engineering and electro-optical technology, plus other science and technology disciplines.
6. Monash University, Australia
Monash has more than 77,000 students from over 170 countries – making it Australia’s largest university.
Established in Melbourne in 1958, it now has campuses in China, India and Malaysia.
5. University of Warwick, UK
Based just outside the city of Coventry, the University of Warwick has around 26,500 students and almost 2,500 academic staff.
It was incorporated in 1965 and has 29 academic departments plus more than 50 research centres and institutes.
4. Seoul National University, South Korea
Seoul National University came into being in 1946, not long after Korea gained independence from Japan
Today, it has around 16,500 undergraduate and 11,600 graduate students, 2,609 full-time faculty members and 15 colleges with 83 departments.
3. Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong operates nine separate colleges and was established in 1963 with the stated aim of combining tradition with modernity.
Around 20,000 students attend the university, with medical and health-related subjects the most popular. But it also prides itself on the study of Chinese language, culture and economics.
2. Australian National University
Although it came into being as a national university in 1946, Australian National University brought together several older, smaller institutions, many of them involved in astronomy, which is still a key area for the Canberra-based ANU.
It has a student body of around 25,500 – half of whom are postgraduates.
1. University of California, San Diego, US
The University of California, San Diego, established in 1960, has more than 38,000 students, just over 2,500 faculty staff and is home to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the largest geological and marine science institute in the world.
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