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California Institute of Technology top Times university rankings 2011-2012

Read our coverage of the Times Higher Education rankings of the best universities in the world for 2011-2012

Harvard University

The Times Higher Education Rankings, one of the most consulted university league tables, was published last week bringing new surprises to the ranks of the best universities in the world. International rankings offer some guide to the global standing of universities, helping millions of international students to make their best choice every year. In this article, Hotcourses wants to give you an insight on the latest results and universities featuring in the 2011-2012 rankings.

This year, The California Institute of Technology topped the list with an overall score of 94.8% of excellence in combined criteria of teaching, research, student satisfaction and industry income. The California Institute of Technology –also known as Caltech- overtakes Harvard with marginally better scores for "research - volume, income and reputation", research influence (measured by paper citations) and the income it attracts from industry.

In the case of UK institutions, long-established universities such as Oxford and Cambridge are still classified in the top 10 of the rankings. However, other institutions have shown improvement in their performance this year. King’s College London ascended from 77th place in last year’s results to 56th place and the University of Bristol achieved 66th position.

The findings were welcomed by the Russell Group, which represents Britain’s 20 biggest research universities, but it warned that the Government’s freeze four year in research funding meant they risked being overtaken in international league tables.

Apart from UK and US universities, this year’s ranking shows a wide presence of Australian and Dutch Universities in the Top 200. University of Melbourne and University of Sydney in Australia conquered the 37th and 58th place respectively whilst the Netherlands stands out as national performer in this year's tables. With 12 institutions in the top 200, including Utrecht University in 68th place, Dutch universities are showing their capability to be an excellent option for higher education in Europe.

As trustworthy comparable data about the overall performance of universities is difficult to come by, these rankings offer some guide to the global standing of universities, helping millions of international students to make their best choice every year.

The rankings seek to examine all core missions of the modern global university - research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity and reflect the unique subject mix of every institution across the full range of performance indicators.

Additionally, one of the novelties of this year’s THE University Rankings was the category that considers international outlook. Last year, the category was based only on the proportion of international staff and students at institutions in the field.

However, the assessment criteria have been enhanced with an indicator that examines the proportion of research papers each institution publishes with at least one international co-author. This is a reward to the important contribution of international students and researchers in the overall assessment of universities across the globe.


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Harvard University

Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd