A UK university has taken the top spot: the University of Oxford. There is now a new world number two, with the California Institute of Technology climbing three places from last year to second place.
In total, 92 countries are represented in the ranking and 27 of these have at least one university in the top 200.
Both in terms of the overall ranking and the highest positions, the US and the UK are well represented. Japan and China are among the best represented countries in the ranking but they fall behind other nations, such as Germany and the Netherlands, for universities in the top 200.
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The results are calculated using 13 performance indicators underlying five metrics: research, teaching, research influence, industry income and international outlook.
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One of the most prestigious universities in the UK has come out on top for the fourth year running.
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the UK and one of the best known in the world.
There are more than 20,000 students at Oxford, with an almost equal number of undergraduates and postgraduates.
About 95 per cent of Oxford graduates are either employed or in postgraduate study within six months of completing their studies.
Admission is extremely competitive; on average the university receives five applications for every place.
The university employs staff from just under 100 different countries and foreign citizens make up about 40 per cent of the student and academic body.
One of the most striking features of Caltech is its unusually small size; only around 1,000 undergraduates and 1,250 postgraduates are enrolled there. The college boasts a high student-to-staff ratio.
Caltech aims to foster an interdisciplinary environment in which students learn about and tackle the most challenging and fundamental scientific or technological problems.
The institution was founded as Throop University in 1891. It assumed its current name in 1920.
There were 6,506 applicants for the entry class graduating in 2019 and 99 per cent of the students accepted across all years were in the top 10 per cent of their high school class.
More than half of Caltech students receive need-based financial support. The average financial aid package is $38,983 (£29,890).
Caltech’s mascot is a beaver, “nature’s engineer”.
Among the unusual features of the university are the customary cookie break taken every Thursday by physicists and their students, and the university’s status as a distributor of olive oil.
The University of Cambridge operates a collegiate system, much like the University of Oxford. Almost all of the 18,000 students belong to a college or hall, where they have the option to live, study and sleep on site.
There are 31 colleges and 150 academic departments at Cambridge.
The university has a long and prestigious history dating back to 1209, when scholars in Oxford fled to Cambridge after clashes with local people.
Many famous politicians, cultural figures and scientists spent time in Cambridge, including Isaac Newton and John Harvard, who would go on to found Harvard University.
Every college has unique traditions and all students matriculate in a formal ceremony when arriving at the university.
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Stanford has generated many start-ups and entrepreneurs and was partly responsible for the development of the surrounding Silicon Valley.
Many students go on to achieve great things; 17 Nobel laureates are affiliated with Stanford.
The large campus is home to 97 per cent of undergraduates and nearly 700 university buildings, alongside museums, gardens and recreational centres.
There are just under 7,000 undergraduates and 9,000 graduates at the university, with a 7:1 student-to-staff ratio.
Research at Stanford has a $1.22 billion budget and more than 5,000 of the projects are externally funded.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded mid-19th century and has always endeavoured to provide financial aid to students on a needs basis.
The very first architecture classes anywhere in the US were taught at MIT. The first female student, Ellen Swallow Richards, was admitted to the chemistry department in 1871.
Just two years later, the first international student – from Canada – graduated from MIT.
The campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, includes 18 student residences, many gardens and public works of art.
Admission to the university is extremely selective; only 8 per cent of applicants won a place in the graduating class of 2019.
Graduates are employed by top companies, including Google, Amazon and Apple.
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Top 200 universities in the world 2020
| World University Rank 2020|| World University rank 2019||University||Country/region|
| 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|
| 11|| =12||University of Pennsylvania||United States|
| 12|| =12||Johns Hopkins University||United States|
| =13|| 15||University of California, Berkeley||United States|
| =13|| 11||ETH Zurich||Switzerland|
| 15|| 14||UCL||United Kingdom|
| 16|| 16||Columbia University||United States|
| 17|| 17||University of California, Los Angeles||United States|
| 18|| 21||University of Toronto||Canada|
| 19|| 19||Cornell University||United States|
| 20|| 18||Duke University||United States|
| 21|| 20||University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||United States|
| 22|| 25||Northwestern University||United States|
| 23|| 22||Tsinghua University||China|
| 24|| 31||Peking University||China|
| 25|| 23||National University of Singapore||Singapore|
| 26|| 28||University of Washington||United States|
| =27|| 24||Carnegie Mellon University||United States|
| =27|| 26||London School of Economics and Political Science||United Kingdom|
| 29|| 27||New York University||United States|
| 30|| 29||University of Edinburgh||United Kingdom|
| 31|| 30||University of California, San Diego||United States|
| =32|| =32||LMU Munich||Germany|
| =32|| =32||University of Melbourne||Australia|
| 34|| 37||University of British Columbia||Canada|
| 35|| 36||University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
| =36|| 38||King’s College London||United Kingdom|
| =36|| 42||The University of Tokyo||Japan|
| =38|| 35||École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne||Switzerland|
| =38|| 34||Georgia Institute of Technology||United States|
| =38|| 39||University of Texas at Austin||United States|
| 41|| 40||Karolinska Institute||Sweden|
| 42|| =44||McGill University||Canada|
| 43|| =44||Technical University of Munich||Germany|
| 44|| 47||Heidelberg University||Germany|
| =45|| 48||KU Leuven||Belgium|
| =45|| 41||Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris||France|
| 47|| 41||The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology||Hong Kong|
| =48|| 50||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||United States|
| =48|| 51||Nanyang Technological University, Singapore||Singapore|
| 50|| 49||Australian National University||Australia|
| 51|| 43||University of Wisconsin-Madison||United States|
| 52|| 54||Washington University in St Louis||United States|
| 53|| 53||Brown University||United States|
| 54|| 56||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||United States|
| =55|| =59||University of California, Davis||United States|
| =55|| 57||University of Manchester||United Kingdom|
| =57|| 52||University of California, Santa Barbara||United States|
| =57|| 53||Chinese University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
| 59|| =59||Wageningen University & Research||Netherlands|
| 60|| =59||University of Sydney||Australia|
| 61|| =74||Boston University||United States|
| =62|| 62||University of Amsterdam||Netherlands|
| =62|| 66||University of Southern California||United States|
| 64|| 63||Seoul National University||South Korea|
| 65|| 65||Kyoto University||Japan|
| 66|| 69||University of Queensland||Australia|
| =67|| 58||Delft University of Technology||Netherlands|
| =67|| 68||Leiden University||Netherlands|
| 69|| 70||Erasmus University Rotterdam||Netherlands|
| 70|| =71||Ohio State University (Main campus)||United States|
| 71|| =96||UNSW Sydney||Australia|
| 72|| 77||McMaster University||Canada|
| 73|| =79||University of Groningen||Netherlands|
| 74|| 67||Humboldt University of Berlin||Germany|
| =75|| =84||Monash University||Australia|
| =75|| =74||Utrecht University||Netherlands|
| 77|| =79||University of Warwick||United Kingdom|
| 78|| 81||Penn State (Main campus)||United States|
| 79|| =71||University of Minnesota||United States|
| =80|| =90||Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin||Germany|
| =80|| =84||Emory University||United States|
| =80|| =93||University of Science and Technology of China||China|
| =80|| 73||Sorbonne University||France|
| 84|| =93||Michigan State University||United States|
| 85|| =90||University of Montreal||Canada|
| 86|| 76||University of Freiburg||Germany|
| 87|| 78||University of Bristol||United Kingdom|
| 88|| 64||Purdue University West Lafayette||United States|
| 89|| =82||Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)||South Korea|
| 90|| =90||University of Zurich||Switzerland|
| =91|| =82||University of Maryland, College Park||United States|
| =91|| 89||University of Tübingen||Germany|
| 93|| 108||École Polytechnique||France|
| =94|| 103||University of Basel||Switzerland|
| =94|| =99||Dartmouth College||United States|
| =96|| =96||University of California, Irvine||United States|
| =96|| =99||University of Helsinki||Finland|
| =96|| 98||Lund University||Sweden|
| =99|| =93||University of Glasgow||United Kingdom|
| =99|| =87||RWTH Aachen University||Germany|
| 101|| =116||University of Copenhagen||Denmark|
| =102|| 109||Georgetown University||United States|
| =102|| =87||Uppsala University||Sweden|
| 104|| =159||University of Arizona||United States|
| =105|| =110||University of Bonn||Germany|
| =105|| 86||Rice University||United States|
| =107|| 107||University of Virginia (Main campus)||United States|
| =107|| 101||Zhejiang University||China|
| 109|| 104||Fudan University||China|
| =110|| 102||Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)||South Korea|
| =110|| 130||Queen Mary University of London||United Kingdom|
| 112|| =116||University of Birmingham||United Kingdom|
| =113|| =110||University of Bern||Switzerland|
| =113|| =110||University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus||United States|
| 115|| =123||Aarhus University||Denmark|
| 116|| =121||Vanderbilt University||United States|
| =117|| 104||Free University of Berlin||Germany|
| =117|| 106||University of Sheffield||United Kingdom|
| 119|| =132||Case Western Reserve University||United States|
| =120|| =135||University of Adelaide||Australia|
| =120|| 170||National Taiwan University||Taiwan|
| 122|| 118||University of Southampton||United Kingdom|
| 123|| =143||Ghent University||Belgium|
| 124|| =114||University of Colorado Boulder||United States|
| 125|| =123||University of Göttingen||Germany|
| 126|| =110||City University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
| 127|| =128||Maastricht University||Netherlands|
| =128|| =123||Radboud University Nijmegen||Netherlands|
| =128|| 119||University of York||United Kingdom|
| 130|| NR||University of Paris||France|
| =131|| =121||University of Oslo||Norway|
| =131|| 134||University of Western Australia||Australia|
| 133|| =114||Durham University||United Kingdom|
| =134|| =146||Indiana University||United States|
| =134|| =143||University of Vienna||Austria|
| =136|| =132||University of Alberta||Canada|
| =136|| =156||University of Cape Town||South Africa|
| 138|| 166||Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam||Netherlands|
| =139|| =146||Lancaster University||United Kingdom|
| =139|| 152||Tufts University||United States|
| =141|| =176||University of Ottawa||Canada|
| =141|| =149||Ulm University||Germany|
| 143|| =135||Pompeu Fabra University||Spain|
| =144|| =135||University of Geneva||Switzerland|
| =144|| 134||Nanjing University||China|
| =146|| 141||University of Exeter||United Kingdom|
| =146|| 142||Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)||South Korea|
| =146|| =161||University of Sussex||United Kingdom|
| =149|| =135||University of Hamburg||Germany|
| =149|| =153||Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa||Italy|
| =149|| 131||Technical University of Berlin||Germany|
| =152|| =128||Université Catholique de Louvain||Belgium|
| =152|| =149||University of Nottingham||United Kingdom|
| =152|| =161||Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa||Italy|
| =155|| =123||Arizona State University (Tempe)||United States|
| =155|| =153||University of Leeds||United Kingdom|
| =157|| 145||Autonomous University of Barcelona||Spain|
| =157|| =146||University of Cologne||Germany|
| =157|| =123||University of Mannheim||Germany|
| =157|| 173||University of Notre Dame||United States|
| =157|| 189||Shanghai Jiao Tong University||China|
| =157|| 151||TU Dresden||Germany|
| 163|| =159||University of Würzburg||Germany|
| 164|| 120||Trinity College Dublin||Republic of Ireland|
| 165|| =181||University of Liverpool||United Kingdom|
| =166|| 201–250||Bielefeld University||Germany|
| =166|| =167||University of Leicester||United Kingdom|
| =168|| 158||University of Aberdeen||United Kingdom|
| =168|| 180||University of Bologna||Italy|
| =168|| =176||Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey||United States|
| 171|| 159||Hong Kong Polytechnic University||Hong Kong|
| 172|| 179||University of Alabama at Birmingham||United States|
| =173|| =184||Northeastern University||United States|
| =173|| =163||University of Rochester||United States|
| =175|| =156||University of Florida||United States|
| =175|| =135||Karlsruhe Institute of Technology||Germany|
| =175|| =153||Stockholm University||Sweden|
| 178|| =171||Texas A&M University||United States|
| =179|| 201–250||University of Auckland||New Zealand|
| =179|| =167||University of California, Santa Cruz||United States|
| =179|| 198||Korea University||South Korea|
| =179|| 201–250||Queensland University of Technology||Australia|
| 183|| 175||University of Erlangen-Nuremberg||Germany|
| =184|| =181||Aalto University||Finland|
| =184|| =163||Technical University of Denmark||Denmark|
| =186|| =167||Eindhoven University of Technology||Netherlands|
| =186|| 201–250||University of Gothenburg||Sweden|
| 188|| NR||Télécom Paris||France|
| =189|| =199||Lomonosov Moscow State University||Russian Federation|
| =189|| =184||University of Münster||Germany|
| =189|| 201–250||Tel Aviv University||Israel|
| 192|| =190||University of East Anglia||United Kingdom|
| 193|| 251–300||University of Canberra||Australia|
| =194|| =190||University of Duisburg-Essen||Germany|
| =194|| 196||University of Technology Sydney||Australia|
| =194|| 201–250||University of the Witwatersrand||South Africa|
| 197|| 201–250||Yonsei University (Seoul campus)||South Korea|
| =198|| 201–250||University of Antwerp||Belgium|
| =198|| =187||Cardiff University||United Kingdom|
| =198|| =181||George Washington University||United States|
| =198|| =176||University of Lausanne||Switzerland|
| =198|| 165||University of St Andrews||United Kingdom|