World Party – the latest THE world university rankings

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The latest league table of the season is out with the publication of the all new THE World University Rankings 2018. And it’s glory for the UK as two of our most ancient of universities bag the top two places for the first time ever. The full details can be found here but it is interesting to note the narrative of at least partial Western decline (leaving aside the Oxford and Cambridge result):

The headlines are:

  • Oxford and Cambridge are the world’s top two universities for the first time ever
  • Brexit poses a risk to the global performance of the UK’s leading universities
  • European institutions occupy half of top 200 places but face a challenge from Asia

In more detail, the decline of the UK is at least partly underway:

the results underline the risk Brexit may pose to the global performance of the UK’s leading universities. Almost a quarter of the research funding from competitive grants to the University of Cambridge comes from the EU, while the proportion at the University of Oxford is about a fifth. In addition, there are signs that UK universities are already starting to suffer from the Brexit vote. The number of EU applicants looking to study on full-time undergraduate courses in the UK declined by five per cent since last year.

The findings also suggest a widening gulf between the UK’s super elite institutions and other universities. While institutions in the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and London have remained steady – Imperial College London remains at eighth, UCL is down just one place at 16th, and LSE remains at 25th, for example – several of the lower-ranked universities have declined.

The University of Warwick has dropped nine places to 91st and the University of St Andrews plummeted 33 places to joint 143rd, for example. Overall, just over half of the UK’s top-200 representatives (16 out of 31) have dropped places.

Looking in detail then at those slightly disappointing UK results

Rank 2018Previous yearInstitution
11University of Oxford
24University of Cambridge
88Imperial College London
1615University College London
2525London School of Economics and Political Science
2727University of Edinburgh
3636King’s College London
5455University of Manchester
7671University of Bristol
8088University of Glasgow
9182University of Warwick
9796Durham University
104109University of Sheffield
121113Queen Mary University of London
126121University of Southampton
130126University of Exeter
137129University of York
139133University of Leeds
141130University of Birmingham
143110University of St Andrews
147147University of Nottingham
147149University of Sussex
150137Lancaster University
159172University of Leicester
162182Cardiff University

(Data is Copyright Times Higher Education 2018 – you can find their full results and analysis here.)

The international top 25 is as follows with Cambridge leapfrogging Caltech and Stanford into the second berth. The only other significant changes in the top 20 include the drop of eight places by Berkeley to 18th and the modest climbs of a few places by Johns Hopkins (from 17th to 13th) and Pennsylvania (from 13th to 10th equal).

Rank 2018Previous yearInstitutionCountry
11University of OxfordUnited Kingdom
24University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
32California Institute of TechnologyUnited States
33Stanford UniversityUnited States
55Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States
66Harvard UniversityUnited States
77Princeton UniversityUnited States
88Imperial College LondonUnited Kingdom
910University of ChicagoUnited States
109ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerland
1013University of PennsylvaniaUnited States
1212Yale UniversityUnited States
1317Johns Hopkins UniversityUnited States
1416Columbia UniversityUnited States
1514University of California, Los AngelesUnited States
1615University College LondonUnited Kingdom
1718Duke UniversityUnited States
1810University of California, BerkeleyUnited States
1919Cornell UniversityUnited States
2020Northwestern UniversityUnited States
2121University of MichiganUnited States
2224National University of SingaporeSingapore
2222University of TorontoCanada
2423Carnegie Mellon UniversityUnited States
2525London School of Economics and Political ScienceUnited Kingdom
2525University of WashingtonUnited States

(Data is Copyright Times Higher Education 2018 – again, you can find their full results and analysis here.)

The methodology has not changed since last year although the terminology has. The THEWUR website has all the details about the methodology but put simply the WUR claim to be the only global performance tables that judge research-intensive universities across all their core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

We use 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.
The performance indicators are grouped into five areas:

  • Teaching (the learning environment)
  • Research (volume, income and reputation)
  • Citations (research influence);
  • International outlook (staff, students and research)
  • Industry income (knowledge transfer)

These are weighted in the following proportions:

  • Teaching 30%
  • Research 30%
  • Citations 30%
  • International outlook 7.5%
  • Industry income 2.5%.

So, bigger and brighter than ever before, the latest THE #rankings continue to provide lots to talk about.

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