England is home to four of the Top 10 universities in the world according to this year’s prestigious QS World University Rankings.

The 20th edition of the QS World University Rankings features 1,500 institutions across 104 locations and is the only ranking of its kind to emphasise employability and sustainability.

Enjoying four of the top ten spots are British Universities. The University of Cambridge comes in second place just behind MIT, the University of Oxford takes third place, Imperial College London is fourth and University College London is 9th.

The results draw on the analysis of 17.5 million academic papers and the expert opinions of over 240,000 academic faculty and employers.

Once again the USA’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) celebrates twelve years at the top and the University of Cambridge retains 2nd place but this year the University of Oxford has climbed one position into third. 

The UK also has more universities ranked in the World Top 100 than all 27 EU countries combined.

The UK also has more universities ranked in the World Top 100 than all 27 EU countries combined. The UK is home to 17 of the world’s top 100, whereas the whole of the EU only has 14 in the top 100.

Top 10 ranked universities in the world

  1. United States : Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  2. United Kingdom : University of Cambridge
  3. United Kingdom : University of Oxford
  4. United States : Harvard University
  5. United States : Stanford University
  6. United Kingdom : Imperial College London
  7. Switzerland : ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  8. Singapore : National University of Singapore (NUS)
  9. United Kingdom : University College London
  10. United States : University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

Source: QS World University Rankings.

WORLD’S TOP TEN: About the 4 Top British Universities:

University of Cambridge

Ranked 2nd in the world, the University of Cambridge is rich in history – its famous Colleges and University buildings attract visitors from all over the world. But the University’s museums and collections also hold many treasures which give an exciting insight into some of the scholarly activities, both past and present, of the University’s academics and students. It is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest in the UK. Its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known world-wide and reflects the intellectual achievement of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges. Its reputation is endorsed by the Quality Assurance Agency and by other external reviewers of learning and teaching, such as External Examiners. These high standards are the result of both the learning opportunities offered at Cambridge and by its extensive resources, including libraries, museums and other collections. Teaching consists not only of lectures, seminars and practical classes led by people who are world experts in their field, but also more personalised teaching arranged through the Colleges. Many opportunities exist for students to interact with scholars of all levels, both formally and informally.

Cambridge University

University of Oxford

Ranked 3rd in the world, The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and is actually so ancient that its founding date is unknown – though it is thought that teaching took place there as early as the 11th century. It’s located in and around the medieval city centre of Oxford, dubbed “the dreaming city of spires” by the 19th century poet Matthew Arnold, and comprises 44 colleges and halls as well as the largest library system in the UK. There are 22,000 students at Oxford in total, around half of whom are undergraduates, while 40 per cent are international students. A quarter of the city of Oxford’s residents are students, giving the city the youngest population in the UK. 

In the Times Higher Education Report Oxford University is ranked number 1 in the world.

Imperial College London

Ranked 6th in the world, Imperial College London is a one-of-a-kind institution in the UK, focusing solely on science, engineering, medicine and business. Imperial offers an education that is research-led, exposing you to real world challenges with no easy answers, teaching that opens everything up to question and opportunities to work across multi-cultural, multi-national teams. Imperial is based in South Kensington in London, in an area known as ‘Albertopolis’, Prince Albert and Sir Henry Cole’s 19th century vision for an area where science and the arts would come together. As a result, Imperial’s neighbours include a number of world leading cultural organisations including the Science, Natural History and Victoria and Albert museums; the Royal Colleges of Art and Music; and the Royal Albert Hall, where all of their students also graduate. There is plenty of green space too, including two Royal Parks (Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens) within 10 minutes’ walk of campus.

University College London (UCL)

Ranked 9th in the world, UCL is a diverse community with the freedom to challenge, to question, and to think differently. The UCL community pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems. There have been 30 Nobel laureates among its former staff and students; a winner in every decade since the Prize started. At the very heart of UCL’s mission is their research. They offer over 675 postgraduate taught, research and initial teacher education programmes across a wide range of disciplines, and encourage their community to work across traditional subject boundaries. UCL’s research-based teaching methodology means that research is integrated into many of our degrees and students have the opportunity to make an original contribution to their field of study. UCL has 18,000 students from outside the UK, with over 150 countries represented, providing a truly global perspective.

The 17 UK universities in the World’s Top 100

  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Manchester
  • King’s College London
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • University of Bristol
  • The University of Warwick
  • University of Leeds
  • Durham University
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews

Source: QS World University Rankings.


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