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Mathematics University: 44 of the Best Math Universities Globally

Oh, mathematics. You either love it or hate it, right? Although, admittedly, I did LOVE math until I got to university when it became about letters, different dimensions, proofs, and a bunch of other (ludicrous!) things I will NEVER understand. Now, if you really do love math and want to pursue it at tertiary level, this post brings you the best universities for studying mathematics (UK, US, and worldwide). Ready to study advanced analysis, multivariable calculus, and set theory? Let’s go!

Mathematics University StudySmarter Magazine

I have GREAT respect for those who pursue mathematics at university, I really do. After scraping through first-year math and then dropping out during my second year to take a much easier language (French – YES, even French is easier than math), I will forever marvel at the minds of those who sail through math and then even pursue a PhD in it later. A part of me would like to think that if I had had all the time in the world to just study math, I would’ve made it. But I don’t ever intend to find out 😉! (PS I [partially] studied math at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, which, according to the Center for World University Rankings, is ranked second in South Africa and 275 in the world). But, let me stop rambling about my awe of those who study math and let’s look at …

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… Mathematics University Rankings: How Does It Work?

There are numerous university ranking systems, each with its own methodology and criteria for ranking. For this post, we use the QS World University Rankings by Subject, a ranking system based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact. However, I do suggest that you use different ranking systems (e.g., ShanghaiRanking, Scimago Institution’s Ranking) to get a fuller, somehow “less-biased” picture!

Disclaimer: I am aware that most of these universities are Western ones, which ties into a lot of debate on the power of the West and historical injustice. At the end of this post, I also give a few of the much lesser-known universities to try to provide a more comprehensive, less-Western-biased post.

With that being said, let’s look at the top universities for math in the UK and US based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Mathematics University Mathematics university ranking StudySmarter Magazine

Just some fun to get you excited about maths 😉. Source

University Ranking Mathematics 2022: The UK 🇬🇧

The table below shows the top universities in the UK for math (as a whole subject) for the year 2022. The rank indicates the position of the university globally. The overall score is based on an average of the following: academic reputation, employer reputation, and quality of research (based on H-index citations and citations per paper).

Rank University Overall Score
3 University of Cambridge 95.7
6 University of Oxford 93.9
11 Imperial College London 88.1
23 The University of Warwick 84
=37 The University of Edinburgh 79.8
39 UCL 79.3
69 The University of Manchester 76.2
=72 King’s College London 75.4
81 University of Bristol 74.5
=97 University of Bath 72.9


There is a channel on YouTube, Oxford Mathematics, where you can get a taste of what you can expect when studying math Oxford. Below is a student lecture on Oxford’s Introductory Calculus course, showing you how the course works and what you, as an aspiring math student, should already know before taking the course:

And if you want a little inspiration, then check out this video of Oxford Mathematician and Number Theorist, Professor James Maynard, who won the highly prestigious Fields Medal.


University Ranking Mathematics 2022: The US 🇺🇸

The table below shows the top universities in the US for math (as a whole subject) for the year 2022. The rank indicates the position of the university globally. The overall score is based on an average of the following scores: academic reputation, employer reputation, and quality of research (based on H-index citations and citations per paper).

Rank University Overall Score
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 97.2
2 Stanford University 96.1
4 Harvard University 95.4
5 University of California, Berkeley 94.2
7 Princeton University 92.6
8 New York University 91.3
10 University of California, Los Angeles 88.3
15 Columbia University 86.3
16 University of Chicago 86.2
17 California Institute of Technology 85.5


* Extra: The University of British Columbia, Canada, ranks at 28.

If you’d like to see how different US universities rank for different topics/fields in math, you can follow this link. For example, I played around with the filters and chose rankings specifically for Geometry. Here, Harvard and Princeton are ranked first, the University of California, Berkeley, is ranked third, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ranked fourth.

Also, if you’re looking for some brilliant free math resources from top lecturers, you can head on over to MIT’s MITOpenCourseware. You can also check out the YouTube Channel, MIT OpenCourseWare. Here’s a lecture on Sets, Set Operations, and Mathematical Induction in case you’re interested in what MIT has to offer:


The Best University for Mathematics in the World

OK, so I’m sure it comes as little surprise that the likes of Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard rank as some of the top universities globally for studying math. I mean, these are the most prestigious universities with exceptionally strong academic reputations that span decades.

But, I want you to know that you also DON’T NEED to attend such a prestigious university to get a good, worthwhile education. Every university will have its good and bad lecturers and its pros and cons. And by all means, if you want to apply to the top universities in the world, you should absolutely go for it (you can check out our scholarship application article for some advice on securing financial assistance)! I mean, OF COURSE receiving an education from a top university will open many, many doors for you.

That being said, university and the experience you have also come down to you and the effort you put in. I definitely didn’t attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities, but I still got an outstanding education and learned from some truly brilliant minds – and that’s also because I worked hard, attended my lectures, and had respect for my lecturers and the education I was lucky enough to receive.

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Mathematics University: What Students at StudySmarter Say

As I mentioned at the beginning, I also want to talk about lesser-known universities, so I spoke to some of our content creators at StudySmarter who study/have studied math.

  • Aberystwyth University, Wales. Ryan Moorcroft, one of our physics content creators, says that the student experience and teaching quality for math at Aberystwyth are regularly rated top in the UK. He also says that there are many optional modules you can study to tailor the course to your own learning and interests, along with different math courses (normal math, pure math, applied math) and an option for an integrated master’s year.
  • Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Arjan van Denzen says Utrecht is great for studying math at the bachelor’s degree level because you can pick a lot of different free-choice subjects in all kinds of sub-directions of math. He also says that the Netherlands, as a whole, offers fantastic opportunities to study math at the master’s degree level. This is because the Netherlands has something called MasterMath, and if you enroll for your master’s degree, you can also enroll in MasterMath courses. According to Arjan, roughly one quarter of these are given at Utrecht University, one quarter at the University of Amsterdam (ranked 80 in the world), one quarter at Leiden University, and some others at other universities. There are at least 100 MasterMath courses to choose from, which can get extremely advanced. Universities decide on who the most competent math lecturer for a particular subject is, and then they’ll offer a suitable course for most beta master students in the country.
  • University of Campinas, Brazil. Vladmir Sicca, one of our math content creators, studied mathematics here and says this university has a common program in mathematics, physics, and applied math that is really well-rounded and creates a very interesting environment regarding the interaction between math and physics. Vladmir went on to complete his PhD in math at the renowned McGill University in Canada, and he says that his undergrad degree really prepared him well to study at McGill.
  • At the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, Keshav Singh, one of our physics content creators, says he had one of South Africa’s best lecturers teaching math. The reason I mention this is because even though you won’t find the University of KwaZulu Natal ranked anywhere, Keshav (and students just like him) still received lessons from some excellent lecturers and academics. As I said, university is also what YOU make of it!

Mathematics University List: Other Countries

Below are the universities not located in the UK or US ranked in the top 100 for math (based on the QS World University Rankings):

  • Universities in Germany. Because StudySmarter is a German company, how could we not see how German universities for mathematics fare? Well, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject, Germany fares VERY well: The Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität is 49 in the world, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is 51, and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) is 64.
  • Universities in Europe. ETH Zurich comes out top here, ranking at 9, followed closely by Université PSL in France (number 12). The Institut Polytechnique de Paris is ranked 14, and Sorbonne University, also in France, comes in at 18.
  • In the Middle East, King Abdulaziz University (KAU) ranks at 65.
  • For universities in Asia, you can take a look at the National University of Singapore (ranked 13), Tsinghua University in China (ranked 24), Peking University (ranked 25), the University of Tokyo (31), and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (33).
  • In Australia and New Zealand, the top-ranking universities for math include The University of Melbourne (=41), the Australian National University (=47), the University of New South Wales (=57), and The University of Auckland (=115).
  • In South America, the top-ranked university for math is Universidade de São Paulo, which is ranked at 95. Universidad de Buenos Aires is tied at 104.
Mathematics University Best university for mathematics StudySmarter Magazine

ETH Zurich is ranked number 9 globally for studying math. Source: ETH Zurich

The Best Universities for Studying Mathematics …

… well, you can look at the rankings, BUT I also encourage you not to take the rankings too seriously. Sure, the likes of Oxford, MIT, and Stanford are likely to remain at the top of the rankings for years to come, but every university will offer you something special. Don’t just rely on rankings – do your own research, go to open days, speak to other students, and research what you can study regarding the math department at a specific university.

And you know what? Sometimes, you just won’t be able to attend your dream university, and that’s OK! I really wanted to study at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, but finances wouldn’t allow. So, I went to Wits University instead (where I also managed to get a scholarship), and I truly got an outstanding education from there. So don’t be disheartened – work hard at whichever university you go to, and doors will open up. And who knows? Maybe you’ll get a scholarship or research grant to study at a top-ranked university for your master’s or PhD!

All the best! Go show calculus or set theory who’s boss.

Mathematics University: Frequently Asked Questions

What university has the best math program?

Some of the top universities with the best math programs are the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, ETH Zurich, Imperial College London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Université PSL, the National University of Singapore, and Tsinghua University.

Which university is known for mathematics?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked number one in the world (for the year 2022) for mathematics based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Which university has the best mathematics?

Different universities will be the best for mathematics depending on which branch of math you want to study. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked number one in the world for math as a whole, but Harvard and Princeton rank number one specifically for Geometry. You need to do your research carefully and choose a university that offers quality education for the specific type of maths you want to study.