The top of the latest Times Higher Education or THE World University Rankings, released on Wednesday 27 September, remains dominated by institutions in the United States and United Kingdom, with the University of Oxford from the UK taking top spot for an unprecedented eight consecutive years.
But the upward march of Chinese universities continues.
THE’s World University Rankings 2024 assess research-intensive universities across 18 calibrated performance indicators covering their core missions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and internationalisation.
In the 20th year of the ranking 1,904 universities – up from 1,799 last year – from 108 countries and regions are ranked.
The US has seven universities in the top 10, led by Stanford University in second place, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology third, Harvard University fourth, Princeton University sixth, California Institute of Technology seventh, the University of California, Berkeley ninth and Yale University 10th.
The US also has 13 in the top 20, 22 in the top 50 and 36 in the top 100 places (from 20 states), with 169 universities featured in the overall ranking – more than any other country. However, the US now accounts for only 9% of institutions in the table.
The UK has three universities in the top 10, with the University of Oxford at first, followed by the University of Cambridge in fifth place and Imperial College London at eighth. The UK has 104 universities ranked – the third highest – with 11 in the top 100 and 25 in the top 200.
But while the US and UK lead the university rankings, their positions and powers are waning.
The ranking data reveal the average rank of US universities has declined from 296 in the 2019 edition to 348 this year. In contrast, the average rank of universities in China, Australia and Canada has improved – from 635 to 502; 322 to 282; and 349 to 337, respectively.
The UK has three fewer universities in the world top 200 since last year – from 28 down to 25.
One of the reasons for the US’ waning performance is falling levels of research funding relative to other countries, according to THE.
In contrast, in China, South Korea, Canada and Australia, universities’ average proportion of research income has increased since 2019, THE says. The US ranks 20th for research income as a proportion of institutional income out of 28 countries with at least 10 universities ranked in the rankings.