The 20th edition of the World’s Best Universities by the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings has been released with Britain’s Oxford University in first place for an unprecedented eighth consecutive year and Stanford University in second, making it the top ranked U.S. university.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is third.
The largest edition of the World University Rankings 2024 includes 1,904 universities – up from 1,799 last year — from 108 countries and regions, assessing research-intensive universities across 18 performance indicators covering their core missions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and internationalization.
The 10 first institutions on the list, which is still dominated by U.S. universities, are: University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Cambridge (UK), Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, University of California, Berkeley and Yale University.
U.S. and UK top rankings but waning positions
The U.S. has 13 in the top 20 and 56 in the top 200 with 169 universities featured in the ranking – more than any other country. Asia is the most-represented continent since the 2021 edition (overtaking Europe), while Africa and South America each have more than 100 universities represented.
The U.K. has three universities in the top 10 with Oxford at the top spot, the University of Cambridge at fifth and Imperial College London eighth. As a whole, the country has 104 universities ranked – the third highest – with 11 in the top 100 and 25 in the top 200.
Although U.S. and U.K. universities lead the rankings “their positions and powers are waning with declining numbers of U.K. and U.S. institutions in the top 200 – by four and three institutions, respectively, since 2021,” THE explains.
Outside the U.K., Switzerland’s ETH Zurich is the highest ranked institution in 11th place.
Germany finds 49 universities ranked, with Technical University of Munich the highest placed, sharing the 30th position. The country has eight universities in the top 100 and 21 in the top 200.
Spain’s highest ranking is University of Barcelona, which improved this year, moving up 30 places from 182 to joint 152.
There are four new European countries this year: Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Armenia.
Turkey’s highest-ranked universities are Koç University, Middle East Technical University and Sabancı University, in the band ranging from 351 to 400.
China has two universities in the top 20, seven in the top 100 and 13 in the top 200. In the 2018 edition, six years ago, it had two top 100 universities.
The number of Chinese institutions in the top 400 of the World University Rankings has doubled from 15 in 2021 to 30 this year. Tsinghua University is the best-performing Chinese institution coming 12th, while the country has 86 universities ranked – the fifth highest.
Asia the most represented
Asia is the most represented continent with 737 universities ranked; Europe is second with 664. The National University of Singapore is 19th, while the country’s other ranked university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), is 32nd.
Japan has the second most universities, ranked with 119; the University of Tokyo remains the country’s highest-placed university, in 29th position.
India has a record 91 universities in the ranking. The Indian Institute of Science is the country’s highest-ranking institution, sitting in the 201–250 band. Its northern neighbour, Pakistan, has 39 ranked universities, with Quaid-i-Azam University the highest placed in band 401–500.
Middle East, North Africa and Africa
Middle East and North African nations are led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel with all three countries having universities in the top 250. Egypt’s Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST), which was not ranked last year, comes in as the country’s highest-ranked university in band 601–800.
Africa has seen a participation growth of 16% year-on-year, with rankings rising from 97 to 113 institutions – the largest increase of any continent. The highest-ranking university in Africa is University of Cape Town at 167th place.
Latin America and the Caribbean
The Latin America and Caribbean region sees a record 144 universities from 12 countries ranked.
Brazil’s University of São Paulo remains the highest-ranked institution in the region in the 201-250 band. The regional top three is completed by Brazil’s University of Campinas, 351-400, and Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in the 401-500 band.
Colombia and Chile have a high number of new entrants, with six newly-ranked universities for Colombia, five for Chile and two for Brazil. Colombia’s University of la Costa is the highest positioned new joiner in Latin America, ranked in the 801-1,000 band.
Mexico’s two highest-ranked universities, Monterrey Institute of Technology and National Autonomous University of Mexico both jumped up a band to 601–800 and 801–1,000 respectively.
For the first time
165 universities are ranked for the first time: 89 from Asia, 38 from Europe, 19 from Africa, 14 from South America and five from North America.
At country level, there are: 20 newly-ranked universities from India, 14 from Turkey, 11 from Pakistan and nine from Algeria and Iran. Among these 165 universities, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in South Korea has the best performance and is ranked in the 351-400 band.
THE’s World University Rankings started with 200 universities and now includes some 2,000, making it the world’s most global and inclusive ranking.
The updated methodology for the 20th edition of the World University Rankings to reflect the diverse range of research-intensive universities across the world can be seen here.
These are the top 12 institutions in the ranking:
1- University of Oxford, U.K.
2- Stanford University, U.S.
3- Massachusetts Institute of Technolog, U.S.
4- Harvard University, U.S.
5- University of Cambridge, U.K.
6- Princeton University, U.S.
7- California Institute of Technolog, U.S.
8- Imperial College London, U.K.
9- University of California, Berkeley, U.S.
10- Yale University, U.S.
11- ETH Zurich, Switzerland
12- Tsinghua Universit, China
View the full World University Rankings 2024 results.