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UK edges up the global uni rankings

MATT SALUSBURY writes

UK universities have generally improved their positions in this year’s World University Rankings, slightly at the expense of US institutions.

The California Institute of Technology keeps its position at the very top of the 2015–16 THE World University rankings table. Right after Cal Tech are Oxford, Stanford and Cambridge, followed in fifth place by MIT (up one spot from last year), then Harvard (pushed down from second place last year by Oxford and Cambridge), Princeton and Imperial College London in eighth position (up one from last year). The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is in ninth place, up from thirteenth in 2014–15, followed by tenth-place university of Chicago (up one place). With the exception of University College London at fourteen and Toronto at nineteen, the rest of the top twenty is dominated by the usual US super-brands, with LSE and Edinburgh in 23rd and 24th place respectively. Melbourne was Australia’s top-rated university, holding a respectable 33rd place.

There are now 34 UK institutions in the top 200, a total second only to that of the US, and the UK now has the second-highest proportion of international students in its student body – the US still has the highest. After the US and the UK, Germany is the country with the highest number of top 200 universities – twenty – topped by LMU Munich in 29th place.

In the Nordics, the University of Copenhagen leapt 78 places to 82nd, Lund (Sweden) climbed 29 places to 90th and Helsinki, at 76th, became Finland’s first top 100-ranked university.

In Asia, Japanese universities didn’t do too well. The only two left in the top 100 are the University of Tokyo – falling twenty places to 43rd – and Kyoto, crashing 29 places to joint 88th. Tokyo Institute of Technology and Osaka dropped out of the top 200 altogether. The National University of Singapore held 25th place while Nanyang Technological University, also in Singapore, climbed six places to 55. Chinese climbers were Peking University – which rose six places to 42 – and Tsinghua, up two places to 47. Korean universities in the top 200 were topped by Seoul National (at 85th), while Pohang, Kaist and Sungyungkwan all fell slightly. India’s higher education institutes all remained somewhere below 250th place.

Some Russian institutions performed well, with Lomonosov Moscow State University – the Federation’s only top 200 institution – leaping 35 places to 161st place. The THE Brics and emerging economies universities ranking isn’t out until December.