Times Higher Education: World University Rankings for 2016-2017

The University of Oxford has become the first UK university to be ranked number one in the 12 year history of the Time Higher Education World University Rankings taking the top spot from the California Institute of Technology.

Oxford improved it’s performance across all of the four main categories which underlie the ranking methodology–teaching, research, citations and international outlook. In particular, however, the university’s total income and research income has been rising faster than its staff numbers, its research is more influential, and it has been very successful successful at attracting international talent.

While the western universities remain very prominent in the ranking, the biggest change has been the extent to which Asian universities are improving. Two new Asian universities make the top 100 (Chinese University of Hong Kong and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)), while another four join the top 200: City University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology of China, Fudan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Two of China’s main universities moved up the list, while the most highly ranked institution in Asia, the National University of Singapore, received it’s highest ever ranking at 24th. Overall, 289 Asian universities from 24 countries make the overall list of 980 institutions and an elite group of 19 are in the top 200, which is an improvement over 15  from last year.

A further indicator of the quality of Asian universities is, despite Oxford being ranked number one, when analysing which countries achieve the highest average scores, Singapore achieved top five on all of the pillars underlying the ranking:

  • teaching,
  • research,
  • citations,
  • industry income, and
  • international outlook.

In fact, Asia is being referred to as the next ‘Education Superpower’. In an interview with Times Higher Education, Rajika Bhandari, deputy vice-president of research and evaluation at the Institute of International Education commented that the rising quality of Asia’s universities is due to three main factors:

  1. rapidly growing populations and demand for higher education in the region
  2. governments making “significant investments” in universities, and
  3. improvements by individual institutions.

World University Rankings 2016-2017: top 10

2016-17 rank 2015-16 rank Institution Country
1 2 University of Oxford United Kingdom
2 1 California Institute of Technology United States
3 3 Stanford University United States
4 4 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
5 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
6 6 Harvard University United States
7 7 Princeton University United States
8 8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
9 9 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland
=10 13 University of California, Berkeley United States
=10 10 University of Chicago United States

Photo credit: “www.colourbox.com”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Times Higher Education.



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