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Best universities in the world revealed: THE World University Rankings 2015-2016

The World University Rankings 2015-16 reveal which universities have climbed to the top.

  • Rankings for Students
Carly Minsky's avatar

Carly Minsky

September 30 2015
Average university in top 200


The world’s best universities have been revealed with the release of the 2015-16 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, which feature more institutions and countries than ever before.

For the fifth year running, the Harvard University’s reign in 2011-12.

The UK is putting pressure on the US in the highest ranks, with the Stanford University in third.

Oxford University vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton said: “Students coming to Oxford benefit from having both the resources of world-renowned research centres across a wide range of disciplines and a highly personalised education where access to leading academics is a central part of both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching. 

“Very few other universities offer this combination, and students who come to Oxford experience an institution where ground-breaking research and excellent teaching are both highly valued.”

Germany challenges the two powerhouses this year with 37 universities ranked in the top 600, and 20 of these within the top 200, behind the US with 63 universities and the UK with 34 universities in the top 200.

The best university in Germany is LMU Munich, which scored consistently well across all the performance categories, and particularly well for the income it receives from industry.

Germany’s success is in part due to its Excellence Initiative, which spent €2.7 billion over the past five years on a select group of the country’s top universities.

If you are heading to Australia for university, chances are you’ll be studying at a world-leading institution wherever you go.

The country achieved a standout performance this year, with 30 universities ranked in the top 600 – just under 75 per cent of the 43 institutions in the country.

For comparison, the US’ 137 universities in the top 600 represent under 3 per cent of its universities, Canada sees just over a quarter of its 98 universities ranked in the top 600, and the UK’s 62 top-ranked institutions count for 57 per cent of British universities.

Margaret Sheil, provost of the University of Melbourne, explained: “Australian universities, much like Australians, are outward looking and globally focused. We attract, welcome and seek the best students and academics from all over the world.

“Since 2012, the Australian government has streamlined and improved its student visa policy to make study in Australia easier for international students.

“Technological developments in the last decade have also accelerated international collaboration and engagements.

“Australian universities, including the University of Melbourne, have taken full advantage of globalisation and the way this diminishes the barriers previously enforced by physical geography.”

Map of universities in rankings

There were few changes to the group of countries with at least one top-200 university this year, with the exception of Luxembourg, which edged into the top-200 with the University of Luxembourg at position 193.

The best scores for teaching went to Caltech and Stanford, while the best scores for research were achieved by Harvard and Oxford.

Leading the way for international outlook are Qatar University, ranked between 601-800, and Luxembourg University.

Both institutions boast multilingual campuses and courses. They are reputed to attract the sons and daughters of foreign expatriates.

Overall, 800 universities were included in this year’s World University Rankings – double the number ranked in 2014-15.

Top 10: The THE World University Rankings 2015-16

Rank  University Country Overall Score
1 California Institute of Technology US 95.2
2 University of Oxford UK 94.2
3 Stanford University US 93.9
4 University of Cambridge UK 92.8
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US 92.0
6 Harvard University US 91.6
7 Princeton University US 90.1
8 Imperial College London UK 89.1
9 ETH Zurich–Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland 88.3
10 University of Chicago US 87.9

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Carly Minsky

September 30 2015
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