American and British universities dominate world top 10

by Ray Clancy on September 15, 2017

Four American universities top the latest world rankings with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) the leading university for a record sixth year in a row.

In second place is Stanford University, followed by Harvard and then the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the QS 2018 rankings, which cover 959 universities around the world.


The next four are all from the UK, namely Cambridge University in fifth place, followed by Oxford University, University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London. The University of Chicago takes ninth and the only non-British or American in the top 10 is Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich).

However, it is not good news for other universities in the UK with 51 out of 76 moving down the rankings which the QS report suggests is due to prolonged funding cuts, the increasing use of adjunct faculty, improvements from other nations, and concerns about the potential impact of Brexit.

In the latest list it is universities with a strong technological focus that are succeeding. For example, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University has gone up to eleventh place, Korea’s KAIST to a record high of 41 and Delft University of Technology becoming the Netherlands’ leading university for the first time since 2005.

Australian universities are also improving with the Australian National University and six Chinese universities now feature in the top 100, two more than last year while India has three universities among the top 200, one more than last year.

Lomonosov Moscow State University enters the top 100 for the first time at 95 but universities in Latin American institutions struggle to improve although the Universidad de Buenos Aires has reached its highest ever position at 75.

‘MIT is the nucleus of an unrivalled innovation ecosystem. Companies created by its alumni enjoyed combined revenues of $2 trillion, making them the equivalent of the world’s eleventh largest economy,’ said Ben Sowter, QS research director.

‘However, their continued dominance at the top should not obscure a changing landscape elsewhere, with other US and UK institutions making way for the best of Russia, China and India among others,’ he added.

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