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THE World University Rankings 2015: Europe climbing and US slipping

US universities are losing their grip on top positions and Europe is strong in this year's rankings

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is the first non-Anglo-American university to make it into the top 10 in 10 years


The latest Times Higher Education Rankings World University Rankings unveiled in Melbourne, have revealed that European institutions are growing stronger and US institutions are losing their grip on the top positions.

California Institute of Technology has topped the table for the fifth consecutive year; the University of Oxford was second, followed by Stanford University, the University of Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Despite a strong US performance in the top five, only 14 US institutions made the top 20 this year compared to 15 last year.


There is a similar pattern in the top 200, where only 63 US institutions featured, compared to 77 last year.


The European star this year is ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, the first non-Anglo-American university to make it into the top 10 in 10 years.


Germany took 20 positions in the top 200 and the other strong European performer is the UK, which claims 34 top 200 positions.


Notable UK institutions include University College London (14th), the London School of Economics (23rd), the University of Edinburgh (24th) and the University of Exeter, which makes its debut in the top 100.

The UK may have performed well this year, but THE Rankings Editor Phil Baty warned that it will have to work hard to keep up in future.


"Despite the UK’s success, its continued cuts in higher education funding – the Higher Education Funding Council for England received a £150m budget slash this year – and series of immigration measures affecting overseas students, will hinder its performance in the long run.


"Many of the country’s European rivals, such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, are also performing well, but are less hindered by funding cuts and more welcoming for international students."


In Australia, six universities have made the top 100. This year, the University of New South Wales joins the University of Melbourne, Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland and Monash University.

The top Australian performer, Melbourne University, maintained its position at 33rd, and also hosted this year’s rankings launch, the THE World Academic Summit.


Mr Baty noted that Australia is in a good position, but like the UK, will also need to up its game to keep up with the best going forward.


"Australia will have to raise its game to ensure it can compete with the leading Western powerhouses of the US and the UK and rising stars in Asia that are heavily investing in research," he said.


This year was the largest THE rankings to date and featured 800 institutions from 70 different countries, compared to 400 institutions previously.


The full rankings list can be found here.

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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).


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