Oxford has become the first UK university to top the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
The university beat five-times champion California Institute of Technology in the US into second place in the global table which has been published for the past 13 years.
The University of Cambridge and Imperial College London in the UK also joined the top 10 this year. The UK now has 91 universities in the rankings - which this year looked at 980 institutions - up from 78 last year.
The US still leads the way with the number of world-class universities featured in the top 800. Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley and the University of Chicago are the other American universities in the world top ten.
But the results also showed the increasing power of Asian universities. Two new Asian universities make the top 100 (Chinese University of Hong Kong and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)), while another four join the top 200: City University of Hong Kong, University of Science and Technology of China, Fudan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
China’s two flagship universities both made gains – Peking University joins the top 30 at 29th, while Tsinghua University joins the top 40 at 35th. Asia’s leading institution, the National University of Singapore, is at 24th – its highest ever rank.
Phil Baty, the editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, said: “It is fantastic news that the University of Oxford has topped the World University Rankings for the first time. It is a great result for the UK higher education sector and cements its position as one of the greatest university nations in the world.
“Although the notion of Asia as the ‘next higher education superpower’ has become something of a cliché in recent years, the continent’s rise in the rankings is real and growing."
The Times Higher Education top 25 universities in the world
3. Stanford University
4. University of Cambridge
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
6. Harvard University
7. Princeton University
8. Imperial College London
9. ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
= 10. University of California at Berkeley
= 10. University of Chicago
12. Yale University
13. University of Pennsylvania
14. University of California, Los Angeles
15. University College London
16. Columbia University
17. Johns Hopkins University
18. Duke University
19. Cornell University
20. Northwestern University
21. University of Michigan
22. University of Toronto
23. Carnegie Mellon University
24. National University of Singapore
= 25. London School of Economics and Political Science
= 25. University of Washington
To view the full rankings, click here.