Cambridge is rated the best university in the world

There is some good news for UK higher education today – Cambridge University has become the first non-United States institution to top a prestigious international league of university performance.

Ever since the QS World University Rankings were first published seven years ago, Harvard has claimed the top spot. But this year Cambridge claimed top spot, after votes from 15,000 academics recruited from around the world were counted.

Employers still put Harvard at number one, but Cambridge edged ahead overall. Its quality of research was particularly praised.

Today's table shows four British universities in the top seven – the other three are University College London (fourth), Oxford (sixth) and Imperial College London (seventh). All of the others were based in the US. Queen's University Belfast also broke into the top 200 in the world this year – bringing the number of UK institutions in the list to 29, second only to the US.

In the individual subject rankings, Oxford comes top in the arts and humanities while Cambridge leads the world in natural sciences.