The California Institute of Technology is the world’s top university, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings of 2015-16. A total of 147 U.S. universities made the top 800. Stanford made it at number three; Massachusetts Institute of Technology at number five, Harvard at number six, Princeton at number seven and the University of Chicago at number 10.
However, THE noted signs that the global dominance of U.S. universities has declined this year. While having 47 universities among the top 800, this is the first that Harvard is outside the top four in the rankings. Harvard had consistently made it to the top tier in 12 consecutive years the rankings were being conducted.
Another sign of the decline is that the U.S. now has 63 universities in the top 200, down from 74 last year, and 77 the year before. THE added that seven U.S. universities in 2015 made it in the top 10 compared to only six this year.
Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the UCL Institute of Education, offered a different perspective. He told THE that U.S. is not declining but it was because other countries are improving and crowding the top 200 space.
The U.K., for example, has improved its standing this year. A total of 78 UK universities made it to the top 800. The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom made it to number two; U.K.’s Cambridge at number four and Imperial College London made it to number eight.
There are also countries in Europe that did well this year. Germany, for example, has 20 universities that made it in the top 200. It only has eight universities last year that made it to top 200. The Netherlands now has 12 up from 11 last year. Switzerland’s ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich at number nine completed the top ten list.
In total, Europe has 345 universities in the top 800, comprising more than two-fifths of the list. Indonesia, Bangladesh and Kenya made it to the list for the first time this year.