The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, released on 2 September 2020, has revealed the world’s top universities.
In total, 93 countries or regions are represented in the ranking and 27 of these have at least one university in the top 200.
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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, Australia 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.
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Top 5 universities in the world 2021
One of the most prestigious universities in the UK has come out on top for the fifth year running.
The University of Oxford is the UK’s oldest university and one of the best known in the world.
There are more than 20,000 students at Oxford, with a roughly equal number of undergraduates and postgraduates.
About 95 per cent of Oxford graduates are employed or in postgraduate study within six months of completing their studies.
Admission is extremely competitive; on average the university receives five applications for every place.
The university employs staff from just under 100 countries and foreign citizens make up about 40 per cent of the student and academic body.
Stanford University has produced many entrepreneurs and start-ups and was partly responsible for the development of the surrounding Silicon Valley.
Many students go on to achieve great things; 17 Nobel laureates are 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 postgraduates at the university, with a 7:4 student-to-staff ratio.
Research at Stanford has a $1.22 billion budget and more than 5,000 of the projects are externally funded.
Harvard University finds itself back in the top five this year, climbing four places from number seven last year.
It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and has topped the Times Higher Education Reputation Ranking for nine consecutive years. It is also part of the Ivy League, a group of eight private universities in the US, which are highly regarded.
Established in 1636, it is the oldest university in the country.
The institution is connected to more than 45 Nobel laureates, at least 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer prizewinners. Thirteen US presidents have honorary degrees from the institution; the most recent of these was awarded to John F. Kennedy in 1956.
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One of the most striking features of Caltech is its 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.
Caltech’s mascot is a beaver, “nature’s engineer”.
Among the unusual features of the institution 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 Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in the mid-19th century and has always endeavoured to provide financial aid to students on a needs basis.
The first architecture classes 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.
Best universities by region
Top 200 universities in the world 2021
Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2021 results
Read more: Most international universities in the world