Cambridge rises in global university rankings

UK is home to four universities in the top 10.

Catherine Lough
Wednesday 08 June 2022 21:00
King’s College in Cambridge (Joe Giddens/PA)
King’s College in Cambridge (Joe Giddens/PA)

Cambridge University has risen to second place in new global university rankings, with the UK home to four universities in the top 10.

The QS Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings for 2023 have seen Cambridge rise from third place to silver, while Oxford fell two places to fourth in the global rankings.

The University of Cambridge topped the rankings in 2010 and 2011, and this year has its best rank since 2014.

Both Cambridge and Oxford achieved perfect scores for academic reputation, graduate quality and teaching capacity.

The Radcliffe Camera at Oxford (William Conran/PA)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has retained first place in the rankings for 11 years.

In the UK, Imperial College London rose from seventh place to sixth in 2023, while University College London was ranked eighth, as in 2022.

Of the 90 British universities ranked, 10 improved their position since last year, 48 had declined and 32 remained stable.

The ranked universities seemed to decline most when it came to teaching capacity – the ratio of academics to students, with 92% of UK ranked universities declining between 2022 and 2023 for this measure.

Ten UK universities rank among the world’s top 150 in QS’s indicator of research impact, with 12 UK universities among the top 50 in the new International Research Network metric – where UCL is the national leader.

The research impact score is the result of high levels of global collaboration – while 20% of the world’s research is done as a result of global collaboration, for the UK, the figure is 55%.

The rankings show that 40% of the UK’s research papers are published in the top 10% of academic journals by impact – four times the global average (10%).

Ben Sowter, director of research at QS, said: “Perhaps no British research success story has captured the public imagination to the extent that the University of Oxford’s role in developing the ChAdOx1 vaccine has – and quite rightly.

“Only UCL has produced a higher number of academic research papers over the last five years, and no British university’s research has enjoyed a higher impact, with almost 1.5 million citations yielded on Oxford’s papers.”

He added: “Despite an overall decline compared to last year’s performance in our rankings, the UK remains indisputably the world’s second most successful higher education system.

“As British higher education navigates its post-Brexit and post-pandemic future, it should continue to build on its ability to form effective partnerships and collaborations and attract global talents.

“It is no accident that the most internationally collaborative universities are also those enjoying success and growth in global rankings.”

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