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UK and US universities slip in latest rankings


The California Institute of Technology was ranked #1 university in the world by the Times Higher Education, but overall the US lost three institutions from the top-200.

Bob Paz/Caltech

Universities in both the United States and United Kingdom slipped slightly down the tables in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-15, released on 1 October.

Both countries still dominate the rankings, with 103 of the top 200 institutions — and the totality of the top 12 spots — between them. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena topped the table for the fourth year in a row (see Top 10 below). But overall the US lost three institutions from the top 200, and the UK lost two. According to THE, over four years the US has suffered the largest total loss in rankings position.

Meanwhile universities on the Asian continent continued to rise within the ranking, with China, Russia and Hong Kong gaining one top 200 representative each, and Turkey gaining three. German universities also increased their representation, with two new top-200 entrants.

The rankings, which were revamped in 2010, try to measure an institution’s research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international outlook, based on 13 criteria, which include a reputation survey, subject-averaged citation impact, income from industry and international co-authorship.

Flaws in such rankings are well documented (see ‘University rankings ranked’), but the annual tables continue to prove popular among students and policymakers. The THE results come on the back of the QS World University Rankings, which painted a rosier picture for UK universities.

2014-15 Rank
2013-14 Rank
Institution name
1 1 California Institute of Technology
2 2 Harvard University
3 2 University of Oxford
4 4 Stanford University
5 7 University of Cambridge
6 5 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
7 6 Princeton University
8 8 University of California, Berkeley
9 10 Imperial College London


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