Best universities in the world 2018

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

September 5 2017
Best universities in the world 2018

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 released on 5th September 2017, has revealed the top 1,000 universities in the world. 

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

In total, 77 countries are represented in the ranking and 27 of these countries have at least one university in the top 200.


Resources: applying to universities overseas

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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
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Hoping to apply to a US university as a foreign student?
A guide for international students choosing a university 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. The full methodology can be found here.


Best universities worldwide

Best universities in France
Best universities in Germany
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Best universities in the United States 
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Top 5 universities in the world

1. University of Oxford

This year one of the most prestigious universities in the UK has come out on top on for the second year running.

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 22,000 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.

Dispelling the myths around elite universities 

2. University of Cambridge

The University of 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.

Life at the University of Cambridge

=3. 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 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.

The world’s best small universities


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=3. Stanford University

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

Many students go on to achieve great things and in the current academic community there are 20 Nobel laureates affiliated with Stanford.

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 7,000 undergraduates and 9,000 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.

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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.

Women in STEM: stories from MIT students


Best universities by region

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Top 200 universities in the world 2018

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2018 results

World University Rank 2018 World University Rank 2017 University Country/Region
1 1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
2 4 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
=3 2 California Institute of Technology United States
=3 3 Stanford University United States
5 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
6 6 Harvard University United States
7 7 Princeton University United States
8 8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
9 =10 University of Chicago United States
=10 9 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland
=10 13 University of Pennsylvania United States
12 12 Yale University United States
13 17 Johns Hopkins University United States
14 16 Columbia University United States
15 14 University of California, Los Angeles United States
16 15 University College London United Kingdom
17 18 Duke University United States
18 =10 University of California, Berkeley United States
19 19 Cornell University United States
20 20 Northwestern University United States
21 21 University of Michigan United States
=22 24 National University of Singapore Singapore
=22 22 University of Toronto Canada
24 23 Carnegie Mellon University United States
=25 =25 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
=25 =25 University of Washington United States
=27 27 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
=27 32 New York University United States
=27 29 Peking University China
30 35 Tsinghua University China
31 41 University of California, San Diego United States
32 =33 University of Melbourne Australia
33 =33 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
=34 =36 University of British Columbia Canada
=34 =30 LMU Munich Germany
36 =36 King’s College London United Kingdom
37 =36 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
=38 =30 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
=38 28 Karolinska Institute Sweden
40 =43 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
41 46 Technical University of Munich Germany
42 42 McGill University Canada
43 45 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
44 49 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
45 =43 Heidelberg University Germany
46 39 University of Tokyo Japan
47 40 KU Leuven Belgium
48 47 Australian National University Australia
49 50 University of Texas at Austin United States
=50 =51 Brown University United States
=50 =57 Washington University in St Louis United States
52 54 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
53 48 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
=54 =51 University of California, Davis United States
=54 55 University of Manchester United Kingdom
=56 53 University of Minnesota United States
=56 56 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
58 76 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
59 63 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
60 70 Purdue University United States
61 =60 University of Sydney Australia
62 =57 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
63 59 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
64 65 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
65 =60 University of Queensland Australia
66 =60 University of Southern California United States
67 77 Leiden University Netherlands
68 86 Utrecht University Netherlands
69 67 University of Maryland, College Park United States
=70 64 Boston University United States
=70 =72 Ohio State University United States
=72 69 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
=72 NR Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
=74 =91 Kyoto University Japan
=74 =72 Seoul National University South Korea
76 71 University of Bristol United Kingdom
77 68 Pennsylvania State University United States
78 =113 McMaster University Canada
79 =78 RWTH Aachen University Germany
=80 88 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
=80 74 Monash University Australia
82 95 University of Freiburg Germany
=83 =80 University of Groningen Netherlands
=83 101 Michigan State University United States
85 =78 University of New South Wales Australia
=86 87 Rice University United States
=86 93 Uppsala University Sweden
88 75 Free University of Berlin Germany
89 =82 Dartmouth College United States
90 =91 University of Helsinki Finland
91 =82 University of Warwick United Kingdom
92 =82 Technical University of Berlin Germany
93 =96 Lund University Sweden
94 =89 University of Tübingen Germany
=95 =98 University of Basel Switzerland
=95 =89 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea
97 =96 Durham University United Kingdom
98 =82 Emory University United States
99 =98 University of California, Irvine United States
=100 =113 University of Bonn Germany
=100 =116 University of Colorado Boulder United States
=100 =80 University of Pittsburgh United States
103 94 Maastricht University Netherlands
104 109 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
=105 =110 University of Bern Switzerland
=105 108 Vanderbilt University United States
107 118 Ghent University Belgium
108 103 University of Montreal Canada
=109 =98 Aarhus University Denmark
=109 120 University of Copenhagen Denmark
=111 =137 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
=111 125 University of Western Australia Australia
=113 112 University of Göttingen Germany
=113 =121 University of Virginia United States
115 =116 École Polytechnique France
116 155 Fudan University China
=117 150 Indiana University United States
=117 =131 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
=119 107 University of Alberta Canada
=119 119 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
121 =113 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
122 =121 Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
=123 =104 Georgetown University United States
=123 =121 Pierre and Marie Curie University France
125 102 University of Mannheim Germany
=126 131 Arizona State University United States
=126 NR Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin Germany
=126 =121 University of Southampton United Kingdom
129 128 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
=130 =126 University of Exeter United Kingdom
=130 =137 University of Geneva Switzerland
132 =153 University of Science and Technology of China China
133 =144 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany
=134 142 University of Adelaide Australia
=134 =144 Stockholm University Sweden
136 106 University of Zurich Switzerland
=137 =104 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea
=137 129 University of York United Kingdom
139 133 University of Leeds United Kingdom
140 175 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
=141 130 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
=141 177 Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
=143 134 University of Florida United States
=143 =110 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
145 =170 University of Cologne Germany
146 132 University of Oslo Norway
=147 163 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
=147 147 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
=147 149 University of Sussex United Kingdom
=150 =137 Lancaster University United Kingdom
=150 143 University of Notre Dame United States
152 =151 University of Lausanne Switzerland
=153 176 Technical University of Denmark Denmark
=153 =151 University of Rochester United States
=155 =190 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Italy
=155 164 TU Dresden Germany
=155 =135 Ulm University Germany
158 =126 Case Western Reserve University United States
=159 172 University of Leicester United Kingdom
=159 169 Texas A&M University United States
161 =156 University of Arizona United States
=162 146 University of California, Santa Cruz United States
=162 =182 Cardiff University United Kingdom
=162 160 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
=165 =161 University of Vienna Austria
=165 =156 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
=165 =186 University of Würzburg Germany
168 NR University of Alabama at Birmingham United States
=169 201-250 Nanjing University China
=169 =135 Tufts University United States
171 148 University of Cape Town South Africa
172 141 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
=173 159 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
=173 =161 University of Münster Germany
=175 201-250 Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium
=175 =190 Newcastle University United Kingdom
=177 158 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
=177 201-250 Zhejiang University China
=179 178 University of Luxembourg Luxembourg
=179 =153 University of Twente Netherlands
181 179 Paris-Sud University France
=182 201-250 École Normale Supérieure de Lyon France
=182 =192 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
184 =137 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
185 =188 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
186 =182 University of Miami United States
187 =180 University of Dundee United Kingdom
=188 =165 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
=188 201-250 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
190 201-250 Aalto University Finland
191 =165 University of Massachusetts United States
192 =165 University of Auckland New Zealand
193 =182 Northeastern University United States
194 =188 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
195 =198 Tilburg University Netherlands
196 351-400 Paris-Sorbonne University – Paris 4 France
197 =173 Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
=198 =165 University of California, Riverside United States
=198 =170 University of Gothenburg Sweden
=198 =195 National Taiwan University Taiwan

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

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