MIT takes over Cambridge in world university rankings
* Harvard comes in at third in QS World University Rankings
By Asif Mehmood
LONDON: According to a list compiled by QS World University Rankings, Cambridge University has lost its place as the top university of the world, slipping to second behind the American Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Harvard, which topped the table for six years between 2004 and 2009, and is the world’s wealthiest university, with an endowment of more than £20 billion, was ranked third. Oxford University was pushed to the fifth place behind University College London (UCL), while Imperial College London ranked sixth.
Britain still has four universities in the top ten, the same as last year, and 18 in the top 100, one fewer than last year’s rankings. The rest of the top ten are other American universities.
Universities from around the world are judged on their academic and employment reputations from a global survey, the number of citations per faculty in academic research journals, the staff-to-student ratio and the proportion of international students and staff.
The results this year were based on surveys of more than 46,000 academics and 28,000 employers.
John O’Leary, the editor of The Times Good University Guide, said, “It is vital that British universities maintain their positions among the leaders in the world both for research and the recruitment of international students. Their own finances depend on it and both contribute large sums to the national economy. Other countries are well aware of this and are throwing their weight behind their universities — the US and Australia through their visa policies, and Germany, China and a number of other countries through extra funding for their top research institutions. Global competition is becoming more intense every year.”
The table illustrates the importance of international students to universities’ reputations and finances.
In 2010 the British Library and the Higher Education Policy Institute found that international students were worth about £5 billion a year to the British economy.
The rankings are published a fortnight after London Metropolitan University had its licence to take international students revoked by the UK Border Agency, which said that the university had not conducted rigorous checks on overseas students it recruited.
Academics are worried this could have a negative impact on the reputation of British higher education.
There is no Pakistani university in the top 100 list of best educational institutions of the world.