Cambridge University Voted Best In The World, Says QS World University Rankings

First Posted: 05/09/2011 09:19 Updated: 11/09/2012 08:36

Cambridge has been crowned the best university in the world for the second year running.

The leading university beat Yale, Oxford, and other elite institutions to top the eighth QS World University Rankings, which are released annually.

Harvard- which was Cambridge's main competition- was relegated to second place for the second year in a row. The American university had held first place since the league tables began but was pipped to the post by Cambridge last year.

Professor Steve Young, senior vice-chancellor at Cambridge said: “While university league tables tend to over-simplify the range of achievements at institutions, it is particularly pleasing to note that the excellence of the transformative research – research that changes people’s lives - carried out at Cambridge is so well regarded by fellow academics and by employers worldwide.”

The university rankings rates universities according to standards of teaching, research and graduate employability prospects. The system considers more than 2,000 institutions, evaluating the top 700 and then ranking the best 400.

Nine UK institutions were in the top 50, with Oxford coming fifth in the league table, Imperial College London sixth and University College London seventh.

Paul Marshall, executive director of the 1994 Group of leading research-intensive universities, said:

“For a country of our size to have 31 institutions in the top 200 is an outstanding achievement. It proves the UK’s higher education sector is one of the country’s most important assets. We need to ensure that it is not put at risk by short term financial restrictions, poorly thought-through policy reforms, and lack of holistic support. Admissions policies must allow all good universities the chance to take on more students, not just those that have historically attracted those with the highest grades. And the Government needs to set out an overarching vision for higher education that demonstrates support for research and internationalism as well as teaching and learning.”

The remaining top 10 were composed of US universities, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranking third, Yale fourth, University of Chicago eighth, University of Pennsylvania ninth, and Columbia University 10th.

Oxford University came fifth in the tables, up one place from last year, while Imperial College London came sixth this year, and University College London took seventh place.

The UK universities which ranked in the top 50 included:
Edinburgh University (20th)
King's College London (27th)
Manchester University (29th)
Bristol University (30th)

Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, said: "This year's QS rankings show that the worst effects of the funding cuts have yet to be felt by UK universities. However, pre-emptive redundancies and increased student intake have led to worse student to faculty ratios relative to their international peers. Of the 37 UK universities in the top 300, 34 fared worse in this measure than in 2010."

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Filed by Lucy Sherriff  |