Oxford ranked world’s best university again, but German unis could snatch top spot next year

Morgan Sindall Construction Oxford University

Oxford has been named the world’s number one university for the fourth successive year in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The new league table for 2020 was unveiled at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit in Switzerland on 11 September 2019.

But Phil Baty, THE’s chief knowledge officer, said that, based on current trends and with Brexit looming, Germany was “poised to overtake the UK as Europe’s number one higher education nation”, thanks to its extra research spending, increased focus on internationalisation and successful excellence initiative.

Meanwhile, mainland China has continued its ascent of the rankings this year and is now home to the top two universities in Asia for the first time. Tsinghua University holds on to the number one spot in the region, despite dropping one place since last year to 23rd, while Peking University is now second in Asia and 24th overall, after rising seven places. The National University of Singapore drops two places to 25th.

The international rankings assess the quality of research, teaching and innovation at more than 1,200 institutions worldwide.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to have retained our position at the top of the Times Higher Education world university rankings for a fourth consecutive year.

‘While UK universities face great uncertainty around Brexit and funding, these results demonstrate that we are well prepared to meet these challenges. Oxford’s success is in large part due to our research collaborations with other excellent universities around the world and we remain determined both to deepen and to expand these partnerships, whatever Brexit brings.’

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings assess universities on teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).

Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at the Times Higher Education, said: ‘The THE World University Rankings use 13 separate performance indicators, covering all of a global research university’s core missions: teaching, research, knowledge-transfer and international collaboration, and to not only reach to the top of the global list, but to retain the number one position for four consecutive years, Oxford has to excel across all of these areas.

‘Particularly outstanding is Oxford’s research: strong across a wide range of disciplines and between disciplines, with huge impact and a powerful global reputation among peers. Oxford is also more international than its close rivals in North America, with deep and rich research collaborations across the world, and a strong record in attracting the world’s leading talent to its doors.’

The award follows a year of significant developments which will further strengthen the University’s research, teaching and innovation capabilities. A major partnership with Legal & General was announced in June. The long-term partnership will lead to the development of thousands of homes for students and staff at Oxford University, together with world-class science and innovation districts.

The University also received its largest single donation since the Renaissance for the new Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, which will bring together the University’s humanities faculties with a new humanities library for the first time. The Centre is made possible by a £150 million gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, philanthropist and Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative investment firm.

More information on the rankings can be found here.

 

2020 rank

2019 rank

University

Country

1

1

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

2

5

California Institute of Technology

United States

3

2

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

4

3

Stanford University

United States

5

4

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

United States

6

7

Princeton University

United States

7

6

Harvard University

United States

8

8

Yale University

United States

9

10

University of Chicago

United States

10

9

Imperial College London

United Kingdom