4:06 am - Wednesday December 13, 2017

MIT overtakes Cambridge and Harvard as world’s best university

2012/13 QS World University Rankings

Top 700 universities published Tuesday 11th September www.topuniversities .com 

London, 7 September: Cambridge is once again home to the world’s number one university. Yet this year the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, not the UK’s second-placed Cambridge University, takes the crown for the first time.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts–based research powerhouse is propelled to the top spot by its superior citation rates and student/faculty ratio, alongside an increase in international faculty.

Neighboring Harvard University slips to third, having topped the table every year between 2004 and 2009. In contrast, MIT has risen steadily up the rankings from 10th in 2007.

“The rise of MIT coincides with a global shift in emphasis toward science and technology”, says QS head of research Ben Sowter. “MIT perfects a blueprint that is now being followed all over the world as governments compete to innovate through research and development”.

Nine of the top 10 tech-focused universities improve their position, led by MIT, Imperial College (6), Caltech (10) and ETH Zurich (13).

The US claims nine of the top ten universities for research citations, led by Harvard, Stanford and Caltech. However, this dominance is not reflected in all of the indicators, with UK universities in particular scoring highly for their international reputation and the diversity of their staff and student body.

The UK claims four of the top six places for the first time with University College London (4), Oxford University (5) and Imperial College London (6) joining second-placed University of Cambridge. Yale drops from four to seven, while University of Chicago, Princeton and Caltech all make the top ten.

“The US dominates in terms of research citations, but UK universities are very highly regarded by global academics and employers for the intensity of their undergraduate teaching,” says QS head of research Ben Sowter. “A survey of 25,000 graduate employers named five UK universities among the top ten producers of graduate talent.”

The top 100 universities average nearly 10% more international students than in 2011, the biggest single-year increase in the rankings’ nine-year history.

Sowter states: “The unprecedented acceleration in international recruitment reflects an escalating global battle for talent. 120,000 more international students were reported by the top 500 universities this year, suggesting the global total may now exceed 4 million”.

Global top twenty


2012 2011 Institution Name Country
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
1 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
2 Harvard University United States
7 UCL (University College London) United Kingdom
5 University of Oxford United Kingdom
6 Imperial College London United Kingdom
4 Yale University United States
8 University of Chicago United States
13 Princeton University United States
10  12 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) United States
11  10 Columbia University United States
12  9 University of Pennsylvania United States
13  18 ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Switzerland
14  15 Cornell University United States
15  11 Stanford University United States
16  16 Johns Hopkins University United States
17  14 University of Michigan United States
18  17 McGill University Canada
19  23 University of Toronto Canada
20  19 Duke University United States

© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2012  www.topuniversities.com . All rights reserved.


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