US and UK dominate world university rankings

by Ray Clancy on September 9, 2016

Expat parents seeking the best university choice for their offspring should look to the United States and the UK, with institutions from both countries dominating the latest international rankings.

For the fifth year in the row MIT in Boston is ranked top in the annual QS World University Rankings report, followed by Stanford in second place and Harvard in third. It is the first time that the US has held the top three places since 2004.

Massachusetts-Institute-of-TechnologyIn fourth place is Cambridge, one of the UK’s top universities and the country also has Oxford in sixth place, University College London in seventh place and Imperial College London in ninth. California Institute of Technology is in fifth and University of Chicago in 10th. The only other country in the top 10 is Switzerland with ETH Zurich in eighth place.

Overall the winners this year in terms of moving up the rankings are South Korea, Russian, the United States and China, while the fallers include Western and Southern Europe, South Africa and Latin America.

According to the report it is investment in higher education that makes the difference. Indeed, South Korea now has 16 universities in the top 500 compared to just 13 last year and China continues to progress with Tsinghua at 24 rising to its highest ever position.

National University of Singapore in 12th remains the leading Asian university and Australia and Canada have increased their representation in the top 200, with nine universities apiece, one more than last year.

Latin America has struggled but gets its first top 100 place with the Universidad de Buenos Aires at 85, the highest rank ever achieved by a university from the region.

‘This year’s rankings imply that levels of investment are determining who progresses and who regresses. Institutions in countries that provide high levels of targeted funding, whether from endowments or from the public purse, are rising,’ said Ben Sowter, head of research at QS.

‘On the other hand, some Western European nations making or proposing cuts to public research spending are losing ground to their US and Asian counterparts,’ he added.

Some 74,651 academics and 37,781 employers contributed to the rankings through the QS global surveys, the largest of their kind. QS analysed 10.3 million research papers and 66.3 million citations and over 3,800 institutions were considered for inclusion and 916 were ranked for 81 countries.

There are 33 countries featured in the top 200. The United States dominates with 48 institutions, ahead of the UK with 30, the Netherlands 12, Germany 11, Canada and Australia both have nine, Japan eight, China seven and France, Sweden and Hong Kong all have five.

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