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QS University Ranking: Top universities in the world 2014/15

Not many surprises for the 10th edition of the QS World University Rankings, released on 16 September 2014. The ranking, using six performance indicators to assess and compare the top universities in the world, has remained fairly stable over a decade of existence. While the very top positions of the ranking have been steadily dominated by US and UK universities - experiencing only some minor position shifts each year - beyond the 20ish positions the list becomes much more internationally diverse. 

The most successful universities at meeting the challenge of balancing research excellence with small sizes and comprehensive internationalization seem to be those with a focus on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), accounting for a quarter of the top 20 places. This is exemplified by table-topper Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and its fellow US STEM specialist California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which has gained two places this year. UK’s Imperial College London, another STEM-focused institution, boasts the biggest leap, rising from 5th to the 2nd place, shared with the University of Cambridge. 

However, if we look at the global top 200 universities, positions are spread across a total of 31 countries, more than half of which are located outside the US and UK. Switzerland’s ETH Zurich is leading the chart of highest-ranked institutions from elsewhere, followed by its country-mate Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) – respectively in 12th and 17th position. Canada’s University of Toronto and McGill University place 20th and 21st respectively, with the National University of Singapore (NUS) following directly behind in 22nd position. Also ranked within the global top 30 are Paris’ Ecole Normale Supérieure, Australian National University and the University of Hong Kong. South Korea, Japan, Denmark, China, Germany and the Netherlands also have at least one representative among the top 50 universities in the world this year, while the top 100 also features universities in Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Taiwan, Belgium and New Zealand. 

 QS Top University
 Full QS University Ranking