Best universities in the world 2017

Find the world’s top universities using the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings data
September 21 2016

Almost 1,000 top universities feature in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-2017.

For the first time, a UK university has taken the top spot; the University of Oxford leapfrogged the California Institute of Technology to claim the highest position this year.

In total, 78 countries are represented in the ranking of 980 universities and 27 of these countries have at least one university in the top 200.


Resources: English-speaking regions

- Best universities in the United States
- Best universities in the UK
- Best universities in Canada
- Best universities in Australia


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 countries 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.


Resources: European universities

- Best universities in Europe
- Best universities in France
- Best universities in the Netherlands
- Best universities in Germany


Top 5 universities in the world

1. University of Oxford

Until now, the top university in the world has always been one of the elite American institutions, but this year one of the most prestigious universities in the UK has come out on top.

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

Currently, there are more than 22,600 students at Oxford, with an almost even number of undergraduates and postgraduates.

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

Admissions are extremely competitive; on average the university receives five applications for every place. About 18,300 students applied for 3,200 undergraduate places in 2015.

The university employs staff from just under 100 different countries and foreign citizens make up about 41 per cent of the student and academic body.

2. 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 3:1 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 dates to 1891 when it was founded as Throop University. It assumed its current name in 1920.

There were 6,506 applicants for the entry class who will graduate 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.

3. Stanford University

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

Not only do students go on to achieve great things, but in the current academic community there are 20 Nobel laureates.

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

Currently, there are just under 6,994 undergraduates and 9,128 graduates at the university, with a 4:1 student-to-staff ratio.

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

4. University of Cambridge

Cambridge operates on 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.

In Cambridge, there are 31 colleges and 150 academic departments.

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.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology dates back to the middle of the 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.


Resources: universities by region

- Best universities in Asia
- Best universities in South America
Best universities in Africa


Top 200 universities in the world 2016-2017

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2016-2017 results

World University rank 2017

World University rank 2016

University

Country

1

2

University of Oxford

UK

2

1

California Institute of Technology

US

3

3

Stanford University

US

4

4

University of Cambridge

UK

5

5

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

US

6

6

Harvard University

US

7

7

Princeton University

US

8

8

Imperial College London

UK

9

9

ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Switzerland

=10

13

University of California, Berkeley

US

=10

10

University of Chicago

US

12

12

Yale University

US

13

17

University of Pennsylvania

US

14

16

University of California, Los Angeles

US

15

14

University College London

UK

16

15

Columbia University

US

17

11

Johns Hopkins University

US

18

20

Duke University

US

19

18

Cornell University

US

20

25

Northwestern University

US

21

21

University of Michigan

US

22

19

University of Toronto

Canada

23

22

Carnegie Mellon University

US

24

26

National University of Singapore

Singapore

=25

23

London School of Economics and Political Science

UK

=25

32

University of Washington

US

27

24

University of Edinburgh

UK

28

28

Karolinska Institute

Sweden

29

42

Peking University

China

=30

31

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Switzerland

=30

29

LMU Munich

Germany

32

30

New York University

US

=33

41

Georgia Institute of Technology

US

=33

33

University of Melbourne

Australia

35

=47

Tsinghua University

China

=36

34

University of British Columbia

Canada

=36

36

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

US

=36

27

King’s College London

UK

39

43

University of Tokyo

Japan

40

35

KU Leuven

Belgium

41

=39

University of California, San Diego

US

42

38

McGill University

Canada

=43

37

Heidelberg University

Germany

=43

=44

University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

45

50

University of Wisconsin-Madison

US

46

53

Technical University of Munich

Germany

47

52

Australian National University

Australia

48

=39

University of California, Santa Barbara

US

49

59

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong

50

46

University of Texas at Austin

US

=51

51

Brown University

US

=51

=44

University of California, Davis

US

53

=65

University of Minnesota

US

54

55

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

55

=56

University of Manchester

UK

56

63

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

US

=57

49

Humboldt University of Berlin

Germany

=57

=60

Washington University in St Louis

US

59

=65

Delft University of Technology

Netherlands

=60

=60

University of Queensland

Australia

=60

68

University of Southern California

US

=60

=56

University of Sydney

Australia

63

58

University of Amsterdam

Netherlands

64

64

Boston University

US

65

=47

Wageningen University and Research Center

Netherlands

66

54

École Normale Supérieure

France

67

117

University of Maryland, College Park

US

68

75

Pennsylvania State University

US

69

71

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Netherlands

70

=113

Purdue University

US

71

69

University of Bristol

UK

=72

=90

Ohio State University

US

=72

85

Seoul National University

South Korea

74

73

Monash University

Australia

75

72

Free University of Berlin

Germany

76

=138

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

77

67

Leiden University

Netherlands

=78

=82

University of New South Wales

Australia

=78

=110

RWTH Aachen University

Germany

=80

74

University of Groningen

Netherlands

=80

79

University of Pittsburgh

US

=82

=104

Dartmouth College

US

=82

=90

Emory University

US

=82

NR

Technical University of Berlin

Germany

=82

80

University of Warwick

UK

86

62

Utrecht University

Netherlands

87

=101

Rice University

US

88

=76

University of Glasgow

UK

=89

148

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

South Korea

=89

78

University of Tübingen

Germany

=91

=76

University of Helsinki

Finland

=91

=88

Kyoto University

Japan

93

81

Uppsala University

Sweden

94

=88

Maastricht University

Netherlands

95

84

University of Freiburg

Germany

=96

70

Durham University

UK

=96

=90

Lund University

Sweden

=98

=106

Aarhus University

Denmark

=98

=101

University of Basel

Switzerland

=98

=106

University of California, Irvine

US

101

=99

Michigan State University

US

102

=106

University of Mannheim

Germany

103

=113

University of Montreal

Canada

=104

=94

Georgetown University

US

=104

116

Pohang University of Science and Technology

South Korea

106

=104

University of Zurich

Switzerland

107

137

University of Alberta

Canada

108

87

Vanderbilt University

US

109

97

University of Sheffield

UK

=110

=120

University of Bern

Switzerland

=110

86

University of St Andrews

UK

112

=99

University of Göttingen

Germany

=113

=94

University of Bonn

Germany

=113

=94

McMaster University

Canada

=113

98

Queen Mary University of London

UK

=116

=127

University of Colorado Boulder

US

=116

=101

École Polytechnique

France

118

118

Ghent University

Belgium

119

201–250

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

120

=82

University of Copenhagen

Denmark

=121

=113

Pierre and Marie Curie University

France

=121

=125

Radboud University Nijmegen

Netherlands

=121

=110

University of Southampton

UK

=121

147

University of Virginia

US

125

109

University of Western Australia

Australia

=126

=133

Case Western Reserve University

US

=126

93

University of Exeter

UK

128

=167

Université Catholique de Louvain

Belgium

129

=131

University of York

UK

130

119

University of Birmingham

UK

131

189

Arizona State University

US

132

135

University of Oslo

Norway

133

=133

University of Leeds

UK

134

=120

University of Florida

US

=135

=127

Tufts University

US

=135

192

Ulm University

Germany

=137

=131

University of Geneva

Switzerland

=137

130

Lancaster University

UK

=137

112

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

Italy

=137

153

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

South Korea

141

=123

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

US

142

=149

University of Adelaide

Australia

143

108

University of Notre Dame

US

=144

=138

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Germany

=144

136

Stockholm University

Sweden

146

=144

University of California, Santa Cruz

US

147

143

University of Nottingham

UK

148

=120

University of Cape Town

South Africa

149

140

University of Sussex

UK

150

201–250

Indiana University

US

=151

=144

University of Lausanne

Switzerland

=151

=158

University of Rochester

US

=153

201–250

University of Science and Technology of China

China

=153

=149

University of Twente

Netherlands

155

201–250

Fudan University

China

=156

163

University of Arizona

US

=156

154

VU University Amsterdam

Netherlands

158

157

University of Liverpool

UK

159

155

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Sweden

160

=123

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Germany

=161

=125

University of Münster

Germany

=161

142

University of Vienna

Austria

163

146

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Spain

164

=158

TU Dresden

Germany

=165

=172

University of Auckland

New Zealand

=165

=167

University of California, Riverside

US

=165

=149

University of East Anglia

UK

=165

141

University of Massachusetts

US

169

=193

Texas A&M University

US

=170

156

University of Cologne

Germany

=170

=180

University of Gothenburg

Sweden

172

=167

University of Leicester

UK

=173

129

Royal Holloway, University of London

UK

=173

179

University of Waterloo

Canada

175

=164

Pompeu Fabra University

Spain

176

=167

Technical University of Denmark

Denmark

177

=176

Eindhoven University of Technology

Netherlands

178

=193

University of Luxembourg

Luxembourg

179

188

Paris-Sud University

France

=180

=185

University of Dundee

UK

=180

NR

University of Hamburg

Germany

=182

=182

Cardiff University

UK

=182

=161

University of Miami

US

=182

201–250

Northeastern University

US

=182

201–250

University of the Witwatersrand

South Africa

=186

178

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israel

=186

=185

University of Würzburg

Germany

=188

=172

University of Aberdeen

UK

=188

=161

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Russian Federation

=190

=196

Newcastle University

UK

=190

=180

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Italy

=192

201–250

Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong

=192

=164

University of Reading

UK

194

175

University of Konstanz

Germany

=195

201–250

University of Calgary

Canada

=195

=167

National Taiwan University

Taiwan

197

201–250

University of Duisburg-Essen

Germany

=198

=185

Brandeis University

US

=198

201–250

Tilburg University

Netherlands

200

201–250

University of Illinois at Chicago

US

Access the complete 2016-2017 THE World University Rankings table


World University Rankings by subject

- Best universities for arts and humanities
- Best universities for business and economics
- Best universities for clinical, pre-clinical and health
- Best universities for computer science
- Best universities for engineering and technology
- Best universities for life sciences
- Best universities for physical sciences
- Best universities for social sciences

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