US and UK 'superbrands' lead new university rankings

Irena Barker

Six US and UK university “superbrands” lead the way in global higher education, new rankings have revealed.

The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014 show Harvard retaining the top spot with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in second and Stanford University third.

The University of Cambridge is now fourth, the University of Oxford fifth and the University of California, Berkeley, sixth, according to a poll of more than 10,500 senior academics.

The tables – which show Oxford and Cambridge have both slipped down one place each on last year – also showed that the University of Tokyo had been pushed out of the top 10 for the first time.

Compilers of the rankings said the US was the “undisputed superpower” when it came to university brands, taking 46 of the top 100 places.

The UK had the second largest number of universities in the top 100, with 10. Universities in London, alongside Oxford and Cambridge, dominate the British entrants.

But the University of Bristol has dropped out of the top 100 in 2014. It follows the University of Leeds, which did so last year, and the University of Sheffield, which lost its top 100 place in 2012.

Scotland’s sole representative in the top 100, the University of Edinburgh, maintains its position of 46th, the same as last year.

Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, said: “The UK has lost three big-name universities from the list of the world’s 100 most prestigious institutions since the rankings were first published in 2011.

“In 2012, the University of Sheffield exited the rankings; in 2013 the University of Leeds followed suit; and this year the University of Bristol misses out.

"Given how important global reputation is in attracting top international talent, collaborations and investment, this is cause for concern. The UK has some of the world’s biggest university brands: we must protect them.”

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia now has five top 100 representatives, down from six in 2013.

Asia’s strongest performer was Japan, with five top 100 representatives. China’s top institution, Tsinghua University, has slipped one place to 36th, while Peking University climbed four places to 41st.

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Irena Barker

Irena Barker is a freelance journalist.

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