Three out of the top 10 universities in the world are in the UK, according to a global list headed by US universities.
The world rankings, produced by the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, places the California Institute of Technology in first place: the highest in the UK was Oxford in fourth.
The World University Rankings show the United States and United Kingdom as the two biggest players in this list of leading universities.
There are 32 UK universities in the top 200, an increase on last year - although the number of UK institutions has fallen in the top 100.
There are five Scottish universities in the top 200: Edinburgh (36); St Andrews (85); Glasgow (102); Aberdeen (151); and Dundee (176).
The California Institute of Technology, a Pasadena-based specialist science technology centre often known as Caltech, is a relatively small institution, with about 2,000 mostly graduate students and almost 500 staff.
THE's university rankings include measures such as research income, staff- to-student ratio, PhDs awarded and the citation of research. It also rewards those with a high proportion of international staff and students.
THE TIMES HIGHER'S TOP 20
California Institute of Technology
California, Los Angeles