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Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17: UK uni top for first time, Asia rising

Oxford University replaces five-time winner California Institute of Technology as the world’s number one institution meanwhile Asian unis are prominently improving

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A UK university has claimed the top spot over a US institution for the first time ever in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2016-17 published on September 21, 2016.


Oxford University has bumped long-standing number one university California Institute of Technology into second place, while 90 other UK universities appear in the overall ranking.

 
Cambridge and Imperial College London join Oxford at the top end of the table, taking 4th and 8th place respectively. The remaining top 10 is made up of Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, California and Chicago.

 

The UK is second only to the US, but there are warnings that UK universities may face challenges maintaining their positions in future rankings owing to negative student perceptions following Brexit, funding issues and the threat of emerging markets like Asia.


Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, notes the changing landscape of global higher education. “This year’s expanded list is testament to just how competitive global higher education has become. For starters, our top 980 universities come from 79 different countries. 


“There is also a new number one for the first time in six years; the US loses the top spot for the first time in the 12-year history of the rankings as the UK’s University of Oxford becomes the world’s top university.”

 

After the UK, Germany is the next top-performing European country with 41 universities and many top 100 appearances and European institutions overall make up just over 40% of the rankings.

 

Europe is a slightly mixed bag with some worrying results. There is just one Czech Republic institution in the top 600 this year, down from six last year and the universities of Copenhagen and Helsinki have fallen by 38 and 15 places respectively. 


Mr Baty notes that “Europe’s decline occurs as Asia continues its ascent” and there are four new Asian entries in the top 200 this year, bringing its total to 19. 


At the top end, China’s Peking University reaches 29th place, up from 42nd last year, Tsinghua takes 35th place, up from joint 47th and the National University of Singapore is at 24th, its highest ever position.

 

Meanwhile, South Korea has vastly improved its positioning this year and Hong Kong is the best performing Asian country, with five of its six universities making the top 200.

 

In Australia, the University of Melbourne is still the highest ranked institution scooping 33rd place for the seventh year in a row. 


Now in its 13th year, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings feature 980 institutions across the world. The benchmarks consider research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

 

See the full list of results here

 

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17 - Top 30

 

Rank 2016-17

Rank 2015-16

Institution

Country

1

2

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

2

1

California Institute of Technology

United States

3

3

Stanford University

United States

4

4

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

5

5

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

6

6

Harvard University

United States

7

7

Princeton University

United States

8

8

Imperial College London

United Kingdom

9

9

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Switzerland

=10

13

University of California, Berkeley

United States

=10

10

University of Chicago

United States

12

12

Yale University

United States

13

17

University of Pennsylvania

United States

14

16

University of California, Los Angeles

United States

15

14

University College London

United Kingdom

16

15

Columbia University

United States

17

11

Johns Hopkins University

United States

18

20

Duke University

United States

19

18

Cornell University

United States

20

25

Northwestern University

United States

21

21

University of Michigan

United States

22

19

University of Toronto

Canada

23

22

Carnegie Mellon University

United States

24

26

National University of Singapore

Singapore

=25

23

London School of Economics and Political Science

United Kingdom

=25

32

University of Washington

United States

27

24

University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

28

28

Karolinska Institute

Sweden

29

42

Peking University

China

=30

31

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Switzerland

=30

29

LMU Munich

Germany

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About Author

Katie Duncan is Editor of Hotcourses Abroad and is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and University of Exeter graduate. Having worked at an English language school in the UK, as an educational consultant in Spain and as a reporter in the international education sector, she is well placed to guide you through your study abroad journey. Katie grew up in Australia, which perhaps explains her unusual reptile collection, comprising of a bearded dragon (Bill) and tortoise (Matilda).