The fourth annual edition of the EU-backed U-Multirank league table, published on Thursday, is the largest since its launch in 2014, showcasing 1,500 universities and increasing the coverage of countries from 70 to 99.
The table differs from traditional rankings by allowing students to select their own personal top list based on their study interests.
By eschewing the horse-race structure of the big three league tables, the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the QS World University Rankings, the U-Multirank, “shines a spotlight on high-performing universities that would otherwise go unnoticed,” according to a statement.
It compares university performance across 16 subject areas, grading them from 'A' (very good) to 'E' (weak).
This year's data reveals that business studies is the ”most international discipline”, attracting globally mobile students and staff to move around the world.
The ranking also attempts to record the employment rate of graduates from various bachelors and masters courses and show the number of graduates who have remained working in the region of their university.
Concerned that Europe’s universities were doing so badly in global rankings, France proposed developing the ranking system back in 2008.
The European Commission responded and has provided seed funding since 2014.