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Cambridge retains number one spot in world university league table | Immigration Matters

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Cambridge University has retained its top place in an international university league table, having ended Harvard’s six-year lead last year, the BBC reports.

The rankings assess factors including reputation, graduate employability, research and staff-student ratios.

The picture was similar to a year ago, with US institutions leading overall.

As last year, three other UK universities made the top 10 – Oxford rose one place to fifth, while Imperial College rose one place to sixth and University College London dropped from fourth to seventh.

In total there were 31 UK institutions in the top 200, compared with 30 last year – but the number in the top 100 dropped from 19 to 18.

Ben Sowter, head of research at QS which compiled the list, said that in the context of the debate over raised tuition fees and cuts to teaching and research budgets, the largely unchanged picture would be seen as “welcome news”.

In total, 34 out of 37 UK universities in the top 300 had dropped down the list when institutions were ranked purely on this measure, he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said UK universities’ global reputation was “well deserved”.

“Our reforms will put students at the heart of the system, allowing popular universities to expand and putting the sector on a sustainable financial footing.

“We expect total funding for UK universities to grow by around 10% by 2014-15,” the spokesman said.

US universities maintain their dominance in the rankings, making up 31 of the top 100 institutions.

However, the main up-and-coming region is East Asia, particularly Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, said Mr Sowter.

But at the lower levels in the rankings, universities in Latin America and the Middle East were climbing the table, he added.

The QS rankings are weighted 40% to academic reputation, 10% to employability, 20% to research citations, 20% to the staff-student ratio and give a further 10% weighting to how international the make-up of the faculty and student body is. Source: BBC.

A spokesman for UK University Services (UKUS) the free student placement service said:

‘This is fantastic news for Britain’s world class academic reputation, however, the vast majority of international students Tier 4 student visas opt for less expensive middle ranking universities or private institutions, which tend to offer better value.’ 


  1. Cambridge (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)

See also:


Can family dependants of Tier 4 Students work while studying in the UK?

UK University places filling up faster than last year

Colleges and Universities discount fees to attract more Tier 4 students

Pre Tier 4 students in the UK under the Immigration Rules that were in place before 31 March 2009

New Tier 4 student visa rules now in force

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Looking for a Tier 4 college or University or need advice?

UKUS is a free University and College Admissions and advice service based in London, UK. Students interested in studying abroad can complete the Online UKUS Registration Form for more details.

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