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Student News

UK universities top the world rankings again – here’s how yours did

Two UK universities are top of the pile, but overall the country has seen a slight dip in performance.

best uk universities in the world

The University of Oxford has topped the list of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, marking its third year as number one.

The University of Cambridge enjoyed success, too, holding on to the second place spot it secured last year.

The UK did, however, fail to retain second place in the list of countries with the highest number of universities in the rankings. Among the 1,258 universities ranked, the UK accounts for 98 – now overtaken by Japan with 103, and far behind the USA with 172 (including seven in the top 10).

In fact, if you take the success of Oxford and Cambridge in isolation, the UK has actually seen an overall drop in performance in this year’s table.

UK universities in the global top 200

Has your uni made the global top 200? Check the table below to find out!

THE world ranking
University of Oxford
University of Cambridge
Imperial College London
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
University of Edinburgh
King's College London
University of Manchester
University of Bristol
University of Warwick
University of Glasgow
University of Sheffield
Durham University
University of Birmingham
University of Southampton
University of York
Queen Mary, University of London
University of Exeter
Lancaster University
University of Nottingham
University of Leeds
University of Aberdeen
University of Sussex
University of St Andrews
University of Leicester
Newcastle University
University of Liverpool
Cardiff University
University of East Anglia (UEA)

This year there are 29 UK universities in the top 200 institutions in the world, with the Universities of Dundee and Royal Holloway both sadly losing their places in the top 200.

LSE also fell one spot to 26th place, while Edinburgh dropped from 27th to 29th.

That said, there was also some positive news for other UK universities. University College London, for example, climbed two spots to 14th. while Warwick rose by 12 places to 79th.

Birmingham also jumped significantly to 116th, while the University of Aberdeen made huge progress, leaping 27 positions to 158th place.

Phil Baty, editorial director of the rankings, said UK universities have “taken a hit” this year when it comes to their international reputation.

Professor Louise Richardson, University of Oxford vice chancellor, said:

[As UK universities] face the great unknown that is Brexit, we look forward to ever deeper cooperation with colleagues abroad. It has never been more important that we engage internationally.

How about the rest of the world?

world university rankings

Credit: CBS

The top 20 places in the ranking are dominated by US universities, with the top 10 alone including Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Chicago.

This said, there are plenty of places in the wider table where new institutions have entered and other countries have shown themselves to be doing really well.

Asian nations in particular are on the up when it comes to their university education. China’s new university, Tsinghua, won the 25th spot, while Japan has stepped up and now has more top universities than the UK.

Russia has also increased the number of universities it has featured in the ranking, with that figure now standing at 35.

New entrants to the table included Nepal, Tanzania, and Kazakhstan, while Iraq’s biggest university, the University of Baghdad, also made its first appearance in this year’s list.

Other ways to choose a uni

how to choose a university

Credit: Nickelodeon

You don’t necessarily have to base your university choice on reputation rankings alone - there are other points to consider.

Location is incredibly important for some people, so some prospective students might focus on which cities are the best for students above anything else.

Equally, the student experience is a huge part of higher education for many people, so choosing a university based on this is a priority for some.

Another interesting angle to think about is how easy universities are to get into. Oxford and Cambridge, for instance, have low offer rates of 23% and 30.7% respectively, while University College Birmingham and Aberystwyth have offer rates of 93.5% and 96.1% respectively.

And what about finances? When it comes to the biggest spenders at university, London-based students splash out the most - though students Ulster, Coventry, Edinburgh, and Glasgow are also pretty willing to part with their cash.

Unfortunately London is also home to the highest rent-payers of all universities, with the average rent per week for LSE students amounting to £293.

Do you think the THE university rankings have got it right, or do you think some unis are over or underrated? Let us know in the comments!

Lucy Skoulding

WRITTEN BY Lucy Skoulding

Lucy Skoulding specialised in student news reporting while writing for Save the Student, sharing the latest data and top stories affecting our readers.
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