The University of Phoenix was the most searched for university in the world over the past 12 months.
The for-profit US institution is ahead of the likes of Harvard, Stanford and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the table, which was produced by search engine Google at the request of the BBC.
The ranking reveals a very different picture to other global league tables, such as those produced by Times Higher Education, with institutions that offer a strong online offering appearing in the upper echelons.
The top ranked UK institution, for example, is The Open University (3rd place), ahead of the London School of Economics (8th), University College London (12th), the University of Oxford (13th) and the University of Cambridge (18th).
There are five Indian universities in the top 20, but none from mainland Europe. The analysis also revealed that searches for massive open online course (Mooc) providers were also on the up, with Coursera – a US Mooc platform – being googled more often than all of the UK’s traditional campus-based institutions.
The top 20 most searched universities on Google:
1. University of Phoenix
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. Open University
4. University of Calicut
5. University of California, Los Angeles
6. Anna University
7. Stanford University
9. Columbia University
10. New York University
11. University of Mumbai
12. University College London (UCL)
13. University of Oxford
14. Florida State University (FSU)
15. Harvard University
17. Liberty University
18. University of Rajasthan
20. Annamalai University