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Oxford tops World University Rankings

The UK university has beaten Caltech, last year’s top-ranked school, in the latest Times Higher Education global list
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   23-09-2016
University of Oxford grounds with green grass under a clear blue sky
University of Oxford (photo by hnphotog, used under CC BY 2.0 licence)

The University of Oxford broke the five-year run of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) at the top spot in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. This makes it the first UK university to top the list in its 12-year history. Caltech took second place in the 2016-2017 rankings, announced this week.

THE attributed Oxford’s success to improved performance on the four main indicators used in the ranking methodology: teaching, research, citations and international outlook. It noted that Oxford’s total income and research income were rising faster than its staff numbers, its research was more influential, and it had been more successful at attracting international talent.

It has been a good year for Asian universities. Two new entrants into the top 100 are the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Another four made the top 200: City University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology of China, Fudan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

China’s two flagship universities moved up in the rankings – Peking University is at No. 29, up from No. 42 last year), and Tsinghua University is ranked 35th, up from joint 47th last year. Asia’s leading institution, the National University of Singapore, is at its highest ever rank this year – 24th.

India’s leading university, the Indian Institute of Science, has claimed a spot in the 201-250 band, and is at its highest ever position.

A total of 289 Asian universities from 24 countries are in the overall list of 980 institutions, and 19 of these (compared to 15 last year) are among the top 200.

When analysing which countries achieve the highest average scores, Singapore comes top on all five of the pillars underlying the ranking – teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook. Hong Kong is second for teaching, third for research and fourth for citations.

On its website, THE quoted Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice-president of research and evaluation at the Institute of International Education and co-editor of the book Asia: The Next Higher Education Superpower?, as saying the “sharp rise” of Asia’s universities was due to growing demand for higher education in the region, governments investing in universities, and improvements by individual institutions. She predicts continued expansion of cross-degree and campus partnerships among institutions in Asia and the West, as well as a “huge push towards intra-regional higher education partnerships and mobility within the Asia-Pacific region”.

The top 10 schools in the THE 2016-2017 rankings include 3 from the UK, 7 from the US, and from Switzerland (there are 11 because the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago share 10th place. The complete rankings table is here.

2016-2017 Rank University Country
1 University of Oxford UK
2 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) US
3 Stanford University US
4 University of Cambridge UK
5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) US
6 Harvard University US
7 Princeton University US
8 Imperial College London UK
9 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland
=10 University of California, Berkeley US
=10 University of Chicago US



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