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5 Charts: University of Waterloo vs. Germany’s Top Engineering Schools

Five charts that compare the University of Waterloo's engineering and research credentials to Germany's top engineering schools.

We write about the University of Waterloo a lot.

Why? We’re proud of it. The University – or UWaterloo, as it’s often called – is Canada’s top technology university. A Canadian publication ranked it #1 in Canada for engineering and computer science. It’s one of the world’s top-25 computer science schools, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). It’s also a force in engineering – home to Canada’s largest engineering school.

When we compare it to some of America’s top schools – Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, etc. – it’s exceptionally competitive.

What happens when we compare it to the top schools in Germany? That’s the question this blog post will answer.

We know engineering is a strength of some of Germany’s best universities, so we’ve chosen Electrical and Electronic Engineering – Elektrotechnik – programs as the comparator. This is very relevant as much of the German business investment in Waterloo is manufacturing-oriented and this discipline of engineering is central to the future of manufacturing. It also allows us to use discipline-specific data from the QS global university ranking, which is the standard for objectively evaluating universities.

Here’s how the University of Waterloo compares to Germany’s top engineering schools:

Round One: Global Electrical and Electronic Engineering Ranking

Overall Ranking - Engineering

Source: QS University Subject Rankings, 2022

The obvious first comparison: which program scores higher in the QS ranking for Electrical and Electronic Engineering. As you can see, the Technical University of Munich sets the standard at 18th overall. It’s the highest-ranked German university. At 33rd overall, UWaterloo is second on this list. At the most basic level, the University of Waterloo competes with the best Germany has to offer, which is great news for German companies looking for a university to recruit from if they expand to Canada.

If your company does substantial tech work, you may also be interested to learn that UWaterloo is ranked 25th globally for computer science, which is better than all of its German competitors.

Round Two: Engineering University Program Size

Number of Engineering Students - New

Sources: Technische Universität Berlin , RWTH Aachen University, Technical University of Munich, KIT Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and University of Waterloo, 2022

German universities have truly massive engineering programs. You simply won’t find many universities in North America with nearly 20,000 engineering students.

In fact, you might not find *any* programs of that size – the University of Waterloo is home to Canada’s largest engineering school and has larger engineering enrollment than the top schools in Austin, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Columbus, which suggests it’s a leader in North America. German universities operate on a completely different scale.

*We couldn’t find engineering enrollment numbers for Technische Universität Berlin.

Round Three: Overall Student Employability (ranking)

Employability Ranking

Source: QS University Rankings 2022

The total number of students and the quality of students matters, but whether they’re ready for the workplace is more important for your company.

This is one of UWaterloo’s greatest strengths. Just about every engineering and computer science student takes part in co-operative education, which means they graduate with 2+ years of on-the-job experience. That’s why they’re in the top-25 globally for student employability – you can be confident any student coming from the University of Waterloo engineering program is ready to contribute on day one.

Round Four: Research Capabilities (Citations Per Paper; 0-100)

Citations Per Paper - New

Source: QS University Rankings, 2022

Every manufacturer wants to add value and move up the value chain. New products and better processes will keep your company relevant in a fast-changing world. That type of innovation requires access to strong research capacity – something all five schools we’re highlighting can deliver, but the University of Waterloo is head and shoulders above the rest. If you work with UWaterloo researchers you’re working with some of the world’s best.

Round Five: Employer Reputation Ranking (0-100)

Employer Reputation Rating - New

Source: QS University Rankings, 2022

Employer reputation is, obviously, connected to graduate employability. If your students aren’t good workers then your university won’t have a strong reputation, but it’s more than just initial employability. They can do the job, but can they make an impact? The QS rating – this section is a rating rather than a ranking – considers employer impressions of graduate competence, innovative mindset and effectiveness. All of the universities profiled here produce excellent workers, but UWaterloo produces the best, according to employers.

Tap into our incredible talent and work with our exceptional researchers

Waterloo EDC has helped numerous companies from Germany – like HAHN Plastics, Viessmann and Bosch – land and expand in our community.