THE releases World University Rankings for 2019

Sunday, September 30, 2018

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TIMES Higher E ducation (THE) published its 2019 edition of the prestigious World University Rankings on Wednesday at THE's World Academic Summit at the National University of Singapore.

The definitive annual table – now in its 15th year – lists more than 1,250 higher education institutions globally, up from just over 1,100 last year, and features 86 countries, up from 81, making it the most competitive listing yet.

The University of the West Indies becomes Jamaica's first ever entrant – joining the table in the 501-600 banding, with a strong international outlook. Other highlights are:

• Latin America increases its presence in the table, but countries struggle to progress amid economic and political turbulence and increased global competition

• UK's Oxford and Cambridge retain global top two; US still dominates – but signs of stagnation cut across Europe, US and Australia as global competition intensifies; China's swift ascent continues; Japan surpasses UK as second-most represented nation.

The Top 10

Oxford University claims first position for a third consecutive year, also topping the list for its research pillar (volume, income and reputation). Cambridge retains second, while Stanford in the US holds steady in third. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) rises one place to number four but the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) drops from last year's joint third position, to number five – however the university tops the list for the teaching pillar (learning environment). Yale is the highest riser in the top 20, scaling four places to join the top 10, in eighth.

The United States

The United States remains the most-represented nation in the table, with 172 institutions, up from 157. Though the majority of its universities – 130 of them – decline or remain static. While nation also continues to dominate the top 200, with 60 universities included, this is down from 62 last year, and more than half (32) decline, while 10 retain their previous position and 18 improve.


Seven European institutions are represented in the 2019 top 30, the same as last year, and its universities occupy almost half of the top 200.

The UK is surpassed as the second most-represented nation in the table for the first time – with Japan claiming 103 positions to the UK's 98 (up from 93). Oxford and Cambridge universities top the global table again, claiming first and second position respectively. But the majority of the country's previously ranked institutions – 77 of them – remain static or decline. The UK remains the second most-represented country in the global top 200 (after the US) - however, takes a modest reputational hit this year with the majority - 21 of 29 - remaining static or declining, and two slipping from the top 200 entirely.


Mainland China gets a new number one. Up eight places at number 22, Tsinghua University is the nation's new number one, surpassing Peking University (down four places to 31) to claim China's highest position since 2011. Tsinghua supplants the National University of Singapore as Asia's top institution. The institution also overtakes the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and New York University this year, and claims global sixth position for research (volume, income and reputation) – above Princeton, Yale and MIT. China sees several other strong performers this year: its highest-ranked new entrant, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) – only established in 2011 – makes an impressive debut in the listing's global top 350. China is fourth most-represented globally in the table, with 72 universities (up from 63) — and retains seven in the elite top 200.

Four of Hong Kong's six representatives rise up the table, with five making the top 200 for the third consecutive year, despite increased global competition. Taiwan has 32 institutions included in this year's global listing, up from 31, but sees the majority stay static or decline.

On the 2019 global picture, THE Editorial Director of Global Rankings, Phil Baty said: “As China and other emerging nations position universities at the heart of national economic growth strategies, they could well challenge the continued Anglo-American dominance of the rankings in future years.

“China's formula for success – strengthening its international outlook and global partnerships, sustaining heavy investment in lead institutions, an intense focus on attracting and retaining the best global talent – is boosting its reputation and influence worldwide, and other emerging nations have begun to emulate it.

“In contrast – traditional power regions like America, Europe and Australia are experiencing the effects of deepening cuts and creeping isolationism. Maintaining current standards of excellence on those terms is unsustainable.”

THE World University Rankings is the only global university performance table to judge research-intensive universities across each one of their core missions: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation), international outlook (staff, students and research); citations (research influence); industry income (knowledge transfer).

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