Cambridge has become the first non-US university ever to head the QS World University Rankings, in the 7th annual edition published today.
Harvard, which has topped the table since 2004 drops to 2nd place. MIT jumps to 5th from 9th, reflecting a strong performance by technology universities. There are 22 countries represented in the Top 100 - up from 19 last year. Over 15,000 academics surveyed including 700 university leaders.
The University of Cambridge was voted the best for research quality, as selected by over 15,000 academics around the world. Although Harvard was the most popular among the 5,007 employers polled globally, Cambridge edged ahead overall.
QS World University Rankings measure university research quality, graduate employability, teaching commitment and international commitment. QS rankings use a combination of global surveys and audited data including citation counts from Scopus, the world's largest database of academic publishing.
"Unlike other rankings systems which rely heavily on statistical indicators of university research, QS also takes into account the most up-to-date views of employers and academics, reflecting the broader interests of students and parents. QS rankings reflect the highly competitive environment of global higher education," notes Ben Sowter, head of research at QS.
John O' Leary, executive member of the QS Academic Advisory Board adds that governments around the world have been directing academics to be more actively engaged with their peers, partly in response to rankings. This has resulted in 50 countries, more than ever before, being featured in the QS Top 500.
"Given the uncertain economic outlook, it is reassuring for students that the top 200 universities are also, by and large, the most popular universities with employers, suggesting that a world-class degree remains the best path to a great job," adds Sowter.
In the Asian university rankings, University of Hong Kong is the region's top university (No. 23 in the world), followed by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (No. 40 in the global ranking) and the National University of Singapore (No. 31).
World's Top 10 universities
2010 2009 Institution Name Country
1 2 University of Cambridge U.K.
2 1 Harvard University U.S.
3 3 Yale University U.S.
4 4 UCL (University College London) U.K.
5 9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) U.S.
6 5= University of Oxford U.K.
7 5= Imperial College London U.K.
8 7 University of Chicago U.S.
9 10 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) U.S.
10 8 Princeton University U.S.
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