Best universities in the world 2019

Find the world’s top universities using the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings data

September 26 2018
Best universities in the world 2018

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019, released on 26 September 2018, has revealed the world's top universities. 

For the second time, two UK universities have taken the top spots; the University of Oxford takes first place while the University of Cambridge climbs two places into second position. 

In total, 86 countries are represented in the ranking and 25 of these have at least one university in the top 200.

Resources: applying to universities overseas

Applying to university overseas: what to consider
Five reasons why you should study in China
7 tips for applying to top universities in England and the United States
A guide to UK tuition fees and student visas: Preparing for university as an international student 
A guide to university rankings for international students
Applying through Ucas as an international student
How to choose where to study abroad
How to choose a UK university
Hoping to apply to a US university as a foreign student?
A guide for international students choosing a university in Australia
THE World University Rankings explained
How to use the rankings: frequently asked questions

Both in terms of the overall ranking and the highest positions, the US and the UK are well represented. Japan and China are among the best represented countries in the ranking but they fall behind other nations such as Germany and the Netherlands for universities in the top 200.

The results are calculated using 13 performance indicators underlying five metrics: research, teaching, research influence, industry income and international outlook. The full methodology can be found here.

Best universities worldwide

Best universities in France
Best universities in Germany
Best universities in the UK
Best universities in the United States 
Best universities in Australia 
Best universities in Canada

Top 5 universities in the world

1. University of Oxford

One of the most prestigious universities in the UK has come out on top on for the third year running.

The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the UK and one of the best known in the world.

There are more than 20,000 students at Oxford, with an almost equal number of undergraduates and postgraduates.

About 95 per cent of Oxford graduates are either employed or in postgraduate study within six months of leaving.

Admission is extremely competitive; on average the university receives five applications for every place. 

The university employs staff from just under 100 different countries and foreign citizens make up about 40 per cent of the student and academic body.

Dispelling the myths around elite universities 

2. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge operates a collegiate system, much like the University of Oxford. Almost all of the 18,000 students belong to a college or hall, where they have the option to live, study and sleep on site.

There are 31 colleges and 150 academic departments at Cambridge.

The university has a long and prestigious history dating back to 1209, when scholars in Oxford fled to Cambridge after clashes with local people.

Many famous politicians, cultural figures and scientists spent time in Cambridge, including Isaac Newton and John Harvard, who would go on to found Harvard University.

Every college has unique traditions and all students matriculate in a formal ceremony when arriving at the university.

Life at the University of Cambridge

3. Stanford University

Stanford has generated many start-ups and entrepreneurs and was partly responsible for the development of the surrounding Silicon Valley.

Many students go on to achieve great things and 31 Nobel laureates are currently affiliated with Stanford.

The large campus is home to 97 per cent of undergraduates and nearly 700 university buildings, alongside museums, gardens and recreational centres.

There are just under 7,000 undergraduates and 9,000 graduates at the university, with a 7:1 student-to-staff ratio.

Research at Stanford has a $1.22 billion budget and more than 5,000 of the projects are externally funded.

The 10 most beautiful universities in the US 

Have you considered these countries? 

Best universities in Poland
Best universities in Italy
Best universities in Taiwan
Best universities in Denmark
Best universities in New Zealand
Best universities in India
Explore more countries

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in the middle of 19th century and has always endeavoured to provide financial aid to students on a needs basis.

The very first architecture classes anywhere in the US were taught at MIT. The first female student, Ellen Swallow Richards, was admitted to the chemistry department in 1871.

Just two years later, the first international student – from Canada – graduated from MIT.

The campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, includes 18 student residences, many gardens and public works of art.

Admission to the university is extremely selective; only 8 per cent of applicants won a place in the graduating class of 2019.

Graduates are employed by top companies, including Google, Amazon and Apple.

Women in STEM: stories from MIT students

5. California Institute of Technology

One of the most striking features of Caltech is its unusually small size; only about 1,000 undergraduates and 1,250 postgraduates are enrolled there. The college boasts a high student-to-staff ratio.

Caltech aims to foster an interdisciplinary environment in which students learn about and tackle the most challenging and fundamental scientific or technological problems.

The institution was founded as Throop University in 1891. It assumed its current name in 1920.

There were 6,506 applicants for the entry class graduating in 2019 and 99 per cent of the students accepted across all years were in the top 10 per cent of their high school class.

More than half of Caltech students receive need-based financial support. The average financial aid package is $38,983 (£29,890).

Caltech’s mascot is a beaver, “nature’s engineer”.

Among the unusual features of the university are the customary cookie break taken every Thursday by physicists and their students and the university’s status as a distributor of olive oil.

The world’s best small universities

Best universities by region

Best universities in Asia
Best universities in South America
Best universities in Africa
Best universities in Latin America
Best universities in the Asia-Pacific region 
Best universities in Europe
Best universities in the Arab World

Top 200 universities in the world 2019

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2019 results

WUR Rank 2019  WUR Rank 2018 University Country
 1  1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
 2  2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
 3  =3 Stanford University United States
 4  5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
 5  =3 California Institute of Technology United States
 6  6 Harvard University United States
 7  7 Princeton University United States
 8  12 Yale University United States
 9  8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
 10  9 University of Chicago United States
 11  =10 ETH Zurich Switzerland
 =12  13 Johns Hopkins University United States
 =12  =10 University of Pennsylvania United States
 14  16 UCL United Kingdom
 15  18 University of California, Berkeley United States
 16  14 Columbia University United States
 17  15 University of California, Los Angeles United States
 18  17 Duke University United States
 19  19 Cornell University United States
 20  21 University of Michigan United States
 21  =22 University of Toronto Canada
 22  30 Tsinghua University China
 23  =22 National University of Singapore Singapore
 24  24 Carnegie Mellon University United States
 25  20 Northwestern University United States
 26  =25 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
 27  =27 New York University United States
 28  =25 University of Washington United States
 29  =27 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 30  31 University of California, San Diego United States
 31  =27 Peking University China
 =32  =34 LMU Munich Germany
 =32  32 University of Melbourne Australia
 34  33 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
 35  =38 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
 36  40 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 37  =34 University of British Columbia Canada
 38  36 King’s College London United Kingdom
 39  49 University of Texas at Austin United States
 40  =38 Karolinska Institute Sweden
 41  =72 Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
 41     44 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
 42  46 The University of Tokyo Japan
 43  43 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 =44  42 McGill University Canada
 =44  41 Technical University of Munich Germany
 47  45 Heidelberg University Germany
 48  47 KU Leuven Belgium
 49  48 Australian National University Australia
 50  37 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 51  52 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 52  53 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
 53  =50 Brown University United States
 53  58 Chinese University of Hong Kong  Hong Kong
 54  =50 Washington University in St Louis United States
 56  =56 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 57  =54 University of Manchester United Kingdom
 58  63 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
 =59  =54 University of California, Davis United States
 =59  61 University of Sydney Australia
 =59  64 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
 62  59 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 63  =74 Seoul National University South Korea
 64  60 Purdue University United States
 65  =74 Kyoto University Japan
 66  66 University of Southern California United States
 67  62 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
 68  67 Leiden University Netherlands
 69  65 University of Queensland Australia
 70  =72 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
 =71  =56 University of Minnesota Twin Cities United States
 =71  =70 Ohio State University United States
 73  NR Sorbonne University France
 =74  =70 Boston University United States
 =74  68 Utrecht University Netherlands
 76  82 University of Freiburg Germany
 77  78 McMaster University Canada
 78  76 University of Bristol United Kingdom
 =79  =83 University of Groningen Netherlands
 =79  91 University of Warwick United Kingdom
 81  77 Pennsylvania State University United States
 =82  69 University of Maryland, College Park United States
 =82  =111 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
 =84  98 Emory University United States
 =84  =80 Monash University Australia
 86  =86 Rice University United States
 =87  79 RWTH Aachen University Germany
 =87  =86 Uppsala University Sweden
 89  94 University of Tübingen Germany
 =90  =126 Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Germany
 =90  108 University of Montreal Canada
 =90  136 University of Zurich Switzerland
 =93  =80 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 =93  =83 Michigan State University United States
 =93  132 University of Science and Technology of China China
 =96  99 University of California, Irvine United States
 =96  85 University of New South Wales Australia
 98  93 Lund University Sweden
 =99  89 Dartmouth College United States
 =99  90 University of Helsinki Finland
 101  =177 Zhejiang University China
 102  =95 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea
 103  =95 University of Basel Switzerland
 104  88 Free University of Berlin Germany
 104  116 Fudan University China
 106  104 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 107  =113 University of Virginia United States
 108  115 École Polytechnique France
 109  =123 Georgetown University United States
 =110  =105 University of Bern Switzerland
 =110  =100 University of Bonn Germany
 =110  =119 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =110  =100 University of Pittsburgh United States
 =114  =100 University of Colorado Boulder United States
 =114  97 Durham University United Kingdom
 =116  =141 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 =116  =109 University of Copenhagen Denmark
 118  =126 University of Southampton United Kingdom
 119  =137 University of York United Kingdom
 120  =117 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
 =121  146 University of Oslo Norway
 =121  =105 Vanderbilt University United States
 =123  =109 Aarhus University Denmark
 =123  =126 Arizona State University United States
 =123  =113 University of Göttingen Germany
 =123  125 University of Mannheim Germany
 =123  122 Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 =128  129 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 =128  103 Maastricht University Netherlands
 130  121 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 131  92 Technical University of Berlin Germany
 =132  =119 University of Alberta Canada
 =132  158 Case Western Reserve University United States
 134  =111 University of Western Australia Australia
 134    =169 Nanjing University China
 =135  =134 University of Adelaide Australia
 =135  =130 University of Geneva Switzerland
 =135  201–250 University of Hamburg Germany
 =135  133 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany
 =135  140 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
 141  =130 University of Exeter United Kingdom
 142  =137 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea
 =143  107 Ghent University Belgium
 =143  =165 University of Vienna Austria
 145  =147 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 =146  145 University of Cologne Germany
 =146  =117 Indiana University United States
 =146  =150 Lancaster University United Kingdom
 =149  =147 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 =149  =155 Ulm University Germany
 151  =155 TU Dresden Germany
 152  =169 Tufts University United States
 =153  139 University of Leeds United Kingdom
 =153  =155 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Italy
 =153  =134 Stockholm University Sweden
 =156  171 University of Cape Town South Africa
 =156  =143 University of Florida United States
 158  185 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
 =159  161 University of Arizona United States
 =159  =165 University of Würzburg Germany
 159     =182 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
 =161  184 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
 =161  =147 University of Sussex United Kingdom
 =163  =153 University of Rochester United States
 =163  =153 Technical University of Denmark Denmark
 165  =143 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
 166  =165 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 =167  =162 University of California, Santa Cruz United States
 =167  =141 Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
 =167  =159 University of Leicester United Kingdom
 170  =198 National Taiwan University Taiwan
 =171  =175 Newcastle University United Kingdom
 =171  =159 Texas A&M University United States
 =173  =150 University of Notre Dame United States
 175  =162 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 =176  152 University of Lausanne Switzerland
 =176  201–250 University of Ottawa Canada
 =176  172 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
 179  168 University of Alabama at Birmingham United States
 180  201–250 University of Bologna Italy
 =181  190 Aalto University Finland
 =181  201–250 George Washington University United States
 =181  =177 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
 =184  =173 University of Münster Germany
 =184  193 Northeastern University United States
 =184  =179 University of Twente Netherlands
 =187  =162 Cardiff University United Kingdom
 =187  =173 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
 189  201–250 University of Konstanz Germany
 189    =188 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 =190  201–250 University of Duisburg-Essen Germany
 =190  =188 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
 =190  201–250 Western University Canada
 =194  201–250 Aalborg University Denmark
 =194  201–250 Paris Diderot University – Paris 7 France
 196  201–250 University of Technology, Sydney Australia
 197  201–250 University of Bergen Norway
 198  201–250 Korea University South Korea
 =199  201–250 University of Calgary Canada
 =199  194 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation

Editor's note: This page was updated on 22 November 2018 to reflect minor changes in the positions of a small number of universities. More information can be found here.

Read more: The top universities with the highest proportion of international students 

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Study Business & Management

Study Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Study Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Study Accounting & Finance

Study Biological Sciences