• Overview
  • Imperial College London
  • Yale University
  • University of California
  • Princeton University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Harvard University
  • University of Oxford


In Times Higher Education’s annual university rankings, thousands of academics across the world are judged to find the world’s best universities based on their subjective but expert opinions. The academic reputation survey conducted by THE every year evaluates 30,000 higher education institutions around the world, and compiles a ranking of best universities. In order of current ranking, here are the world’s ten best universities.

10. Imperial College London

  • Place: London, United Kingdom
  • Year of Establishment: 1907
  • Acceptance rate: 14.3
  • Graduation rate: 99.3%
  • Percentage of International students: 61.1%

One of the leading institutions in the UK is Imperial College London, a science-based institution located in the center of the capital.

There are approximately 18,000 students and 8,000 staff members at the college, which focuses on four main areas: science, engineering, medicine, and business. Notable alumni include H.G. Wells, Brian May, Rajiv Gandhi, Sir Liam Donaldson, Chew Choon Seng and more. Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin, is among the 14 Nobel Prize winners who also attended the institution.

09. Yale University

  • Place: Connecticut, United States
  • Year of Establishment: 1701
  • Acceptance rate: 7%
  • Graduation rate: 97% Percentage of International students: 21%

In the US, Yale University is the third-oldest university and the third-most selective institution. 14 schools make up the university, which offers a liberal arts curriculum that includes humanities, arts, sciences, and social sciences. Additionally, students learn writing skills, quantitative reasoning, and foreign languages.

Five US presidents have graduated from Yale: William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Including economist Paul Krugman, Yale alumni have won twenty Nobel prizes, as well as 32 Pulitzer prizes.

08. University of California

  • Place: Berkeley, California
  • Year of Establishment: 1868
  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • Graduation rate: 92% Percentage of International students: 24%

UC Berkeley, a publicly funded and renowned university in California, is considered one of the country’s most esteemed schools. A total of 19 Nobel prizes have been awarded to Berkeley faculty, mostly in physics, chemistry, and economics. It has produced notable alumni such as Jack London, Gregory Peck, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Joan Didion, and Alex Morgan. With around 184 programs, UC Berkeley houses more than 40,000 students and over 3000 staff. The university is notably known for its sports teams as well as its physics and chemistry department.

07. Princeton University

  • Place: Princeton, United States
  • Year of Establishment: 1746
  • Acceptance rate: 6%
  • Graduation rate: 96%
  • Percentage of International students: 23%

A renowned higher education institution in the world, Princeton is one of the oldest universities in the US. With connections to more than 40 Nobel laureates, 17 National Medal of Science winners, and five National Humanities Medal winners, Princeton is also one of the world’s foremost research universities.

A number of alumni have won Nobel prizes, among them physicists Richard Feynman and Robert Hofstadter and chemists Richard Smalley and Edwin McMillan. Some of the other alumni include Michelle Obama, Jimmy Stewart, Brooke Shields, Jeff Bezos, and Pete Conrad.

06. California Institute of Technology

  • Place: California, United States
  • Year of Establishment: 1891
  • Acceptance rate: 7%
  • Graduation rate: 92% Percentage of International students: 34%

A world-renowned research and educational institution, Caltech seeks answers to complex questions, discovers new knowledge, leads innovation, and changes lives. There are six academic divisions at Caltech, with a strong focus on science and technology. A total of 39 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to alumni and faculty of Caltech, as well as one Fields Medal, six Turing Awards, and 71 United States National Medals of Science or Technology. Some of the US Air Force chief scientists have also attended the institution. Only the most gifted students are admitted to the university due to its competitive admissions process.

05. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Place: Massachusetts, United States
  • Year of Establishment: 1861
  • Acceptance rate: 7%
  • Graduation rate: 94% Percentage of International students: 33%

A private, independent research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is founded on the principles of equality, co-education, and innovation. More than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend the university. Five different schools provide a wealth of knowledge and skills, including architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts and social sciences, as well as management and science.

85 Nobel Laureates, 58 National Medal of Science winners, 45 MacArthur Fellows, 29 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners are among their faculties and alumni.

04. Stanford University

  • Place: California, United States
  • Year of Establishment: 1885
  • Acceptance rate: 5%
  • Graduation rate: 94% Percentage of International students: 24%

As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Stanford University has one of the largest campuses in the country. Three academic schools, four professional schools, as well as 18 independent research institutes and laboratories are housed in 700 major university buildings. 

Members of its faculty and student body have been awarded 21 Nobel Laureates. Notable alumni include Herbert Hoover, Marissa Mayer, Tiger Woods, Reese Witherspoon, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mukesh Ambani and more.

03. University of Cambridge

  • Place: Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Year of Establishment: 1209
  • Acceptance rate: 21%
  • Graduation rate: 98.8% Percentage of International students: 39%

As one of the world’s oldest research institutions, the University of Cambridge is the second-oldest English-speaking university and the fourth-oldest university in the world. There are more than 18,000 students at Cambridge from all over the world. A total of 150 faculties and other institutions are housed in six schools across the university’s colleges: Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Physical Sciences and Technology.

There have been 92 Nobel Prizes awarded to affiliates of the university, spanning every field of study. Sylvia Plath, Alan Turing, and William Harvey are among the university’s alumni.

02. Harvard University

  • Place: Massachusetts, United States
  • Year of Establishment: 1636
  • Acceptance rate: 5%
  • Graduation rate: 98%
  • Percentage of International students: 25%

Harvard University is one of the most renowned universities in the world. Not only is it known world wide, the Ivy League institution has the highest accreditations for a university in the world.  The institution boasts a 5000-acre campus, home to 12 academic schools, 2 theaters, 5 museums and the largest library in the world.

45 Nobel laureates, over 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer prizewinners once attended the prestigious school. Their list of alumni is probably the most vast with over 320,000 former attendants.

01. University of Oxford

University of Oxford
  • Place: Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Year of Establishment: 1096
  • Acceptance rate: 17.5%
  • Graduation rate: 99.3%
  • Percentage of International students: 42%

In English-speaking countries, Oxford University is the oldest surviving university and the second-oldest university in the world. The exact founding date of the university is unknown, but evidence suggests that the school was established around 1096. In total, 44 colleges and halls comprise the university, along with over 100 libraries.

The estimated number of students enrolled is around 22,000 students. The university has been associated with 32 Noble prize winners in various fields. The Alumni list includes Tim Berners-Lee, Stephen Hawking, Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, Vikram Seth, and more.

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