World University Rankings Announced

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The latest world university league tables have been announced, with a British university topping the rankings for the second year running.                                                                                                                                                       __________________________________

Cambridge University has beaten off Harvard for the second year in succession to claim the coveted top spot in one of the major international university league tables. There were also three other UK universities in the top ten, with US institutions making up the other six spots.

The annual rankings are released by international Higher Education research company QS and are based on a number of different factors. Institutions are ranked on academic reputation, graduate employability, research, staff-student ratio and how international the faculty and student body is.

UK Universities Amongst the Best 

Apart from Cambridge, the University of Oxford and Imperial College both improved, rising to fifth and sixth respectively, whilst University College London (UCL) dropped from fourth to seventh. Outside of the top ten, there were a further 27 UK institutions in the top 200- an improvement of one since last year.

The Russell Group- a group of 20 of top universities in the UK, were pleased with the results which gave "another indication that UK universities punch well above their weight on the world stage". They also used it as a chance to put pressure on the government amid plans to reduce university funding, asking them to "recognise the importance of world-class research-intensive universities".

Reduced Funding

Indeed, despite such positive results this year, QS warned that reduced funding and increased fees at UK universities could damage their performance in future years. Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, revealed that he believes it is "inevitable" that financial pressures will affect the staff, research and influence of universities in the coming years unless major changes are made.

The true impact of the vast changes to the Higher Education system in the UK will be seen in the years to come, but for now, the reputation of British universities is looking healthier than ever. You can see the top 10 below, or the top 20 on our world university rankings page

2011 World University Rankings

1. Cambridge (position last year: 1)
2. Harvard (2)
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (5)
4. Yale (3)
5. Oxford (6)
6. Imperial College London (7)
7. University College London (4)
8. University of Chicago (8)
9. University of Pennsylvania (12)
10. Columbia University (11)

For the full list of the top 300 universities in the world, visit the QS website.

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