The UK has increased its share of institutions in a global ranking of the world’s most prestigious universities.
The results of the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015 show that the UK now boasts 12 of the 100 most renowned higher education institutions in the world (up from 10 last year), while its two strongest performers, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, have improved their positions.
The University of Bristol entered the ranking this year in the 91-100 band, while Durham University and the University of Warwick entered the 81-90 group, although the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine dropped out. Both Cambridge and Oxford climbed two places, and are ranked second and third respectively. Scotland’s sole representative, the University of Edinburgh, climbed 17 places to 29th.
Vince Cable, the business secretary, said the findings illustrated “government efforts to support a world-class system that we can be proud of” but warned that other nations were “hot on our heels”. He said that was why the coalition had taken steps to “secure the reputation” of UK universities through greater fee income and removal of student number caps.
The US remains dominant in the annual rankings, claiming 43 of the top 100 universities and eight of the top 10, although the total number of American institutions is down from 46 last year.
For the fifth consecutive year, the rankings highlight an elite group of six US and UK “super-brands” that hold a significant lead over the rest. Although the order has changed over the years, the institutions in the top six have remained constant: Harvard University, Cambridge, Oxford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
“What we are finding year on year is that universities in this group of six tend to stand out well above the seventh- and eighth-placed institutions,” said THE rankings editor Phil Baty. “They seem to be in a super-league all of their own.”
Germany remains the best-represented nation after the US and the UK, with six top 100 universities (the same as last year). Its neighbour France now boasts five institutions in the table (all of them based in Paris), up from two last year.
Asia’s best performer, the University of Tokyo, slipped one place to 12th position. Meanwhile, China’s top institution, Tsinghua University, climbed 10 places to 26th, and Peking University leaped from 41st to 32nd place.
THE partnered with Elsevier to disseminate the Academic Reputation Survey on which the results are based. Questionnaires, which asked participants to nominate up to 10 of the best institutions in their field of expertise, were completed by some 10,000 academics selected to give a statistically representative sample of global scholars.
The survey was available in more languages than ever (15, up from 10 last year), and responses from more than 140 countries were received.
World Reputation Rankings 2015 results: top 10
|2015 rank||2014 rank||Institution|
|1||1||Harvard University (US)|
|2||4||University of Cambridge (UK)|
|3||5||University of Oxford (UK)|
|4||2||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)|
|5||3||Stanford University (US)|
|6||6||University of California, Berkeley (US)|
|7||7||Princeton University (US)|
|8||8||Yale University (US)|
|9||9||California Institute of Technology (US)|
|10||12||Columbia University (US)|