Prospective students heads up! The Times Higher Education (THE) has released its annual World University Rankings after analysing more than 1,300 institutions across the world.

Considered the most comprehensive global ranking, it uses 13 “performance indicators” to judge institutions’ excellence in terms of teaching, research, job placement, income and international outlook.

This year’s ranking was along the same lines as last year – there was no change at the top this year – European and North American universities continue to dominate.


The University of Oxford took the top spot for the fourth year in a row, with its traditional rival the University of Cambridge dropping to third place behind the California Institute of Technology.

UK’s highest-ranked universities including Imperial College London, UCL, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Edinburgh have all dropped by one place.

Switzerland was the only country outside the United Kingdom and North America to break into the top 20, with the ETH Zurich coming in joint 13th place. Ellie Bothwell, THE’s rankings editor, said that while Europe continued to perform “extremely well” and attract academics from around the world, there could be challenges ahead.

Seven territories included in the analysis for the first time were Bangladesh, Brunei, Cuba, Malta, Montenegro, Puerto Rico and Vietnam. Iran was one of the biggest overall climbers, overtaking France and Australia with 40 universities included.

Asia is the only region posing a serious threat to Anglo-American dominance in the rankings, now in their 16th year. China has grown to be the fourth-most-represented country in the world, while Japan has strengthened its position as the second, though it lags behind countries such as Denmark and Belgium in terms of top-200 representation.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam University (401-500) was the highest-ranked in the country followed by COMSATS University (601-800), Islamabad and University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Lahore University of Management Sciences, National University of Sciences and Technology and the University of Punjab in the 801-1000 bracket.