top 10 Universities Rankings 2023
This top 10 universities ranking is based on the The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023. This ranking includes 1,799 universities across 104 countries and regions, making them the largest and most diverse university rankings to date. The ranking is based on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
This year’s ranking analysed over 121 million citations across more than 15.5 million research publications and included survey responses from 40,000 scholars globally. Overall, we collected over 680,000 datapoints from more than 2,500 institutions that submitted data. Trusted worldwide by students, teachers, governments and industry experts, this year’s ranking reveals how the global higher education landscape is shifting.
1. University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second oldest surviving university. While its exact founding date is unknown, there is evidence that teaching took place as far back as 1096. Located in and around Oxford’s medieval city centre, UK, the university comprises 44 colleges and halls, and over 100 libraries, making it the largest library system in the UK. Students number around 22,000 in total, just over half of whom are undergraduates while over 40 per cent are international, representing 140 countries between them. The university is associated with 11 winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, five in physics and 16 in medicine. Notable Oxford thinkers and scientists include Tim Berners-Lee, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. The actors Hugh Grant and Rosamund Pike also went to Oxford, as did the writers Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, Vikram Seth and Philip Pullman.
2. Harvard University
Dating back to 1636, Harvard University is the oldest university in the US and is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the world. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard, who left his library and half his estate to the institution when he died in 1638. The private Ivy League institution has connections to more than 45 Nobel laureates, over 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer prizewinners. Thirteen US presidents have honorary degrees from the institution; the most recent of these was awarded to John F. Kennedy in 1956. The university receives one of the largest financial endowments of any higher education institution in the world; it created $1.5 billion in the fiscal year ended June 2013 – more than a third of Harvard’s total operating revenue in that year.
3. University of Cambridge
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research institution. Its 800-year history makes it the fourth-oldest surviving university in the world and the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. Cambridge serves more than 18,000 students from all cultures and corners of the world. Nearly 4,000 of its students are international and hail from over 120 different countries. In addition, the university’s International Summer Schools offer 150 courses to students from more than 50 countries. In total, 92 affiliates of the university have been awarded Nobel Prizes, covering every category. The university’s endowment is valued at nearly £6 billion
4. Stanford University
Stanford University has one of the largest campuses in the US and is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It was established in 1885 and opened six years later as a co-educational and non-denominational private institution. Stanford counts 21 Nobel laureates within its community, and numerous famous alumni associated with the university from the worlds of business, politics, media, sport and technology. The 31st president of the US, Herbert Hoover, was part of the very first class at Stanford, and received a degree in geology in 1895. Currently, Stanford is also one of the leading producers of US Congress members. The alumni include 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, 18 Turing Award recipients and two Fields Medallists. Google’s co-founders met at Stanford while pursuing doctorate degrees, although neither ultimately completed their theses. In total, companies founded by Stanford affiliates and alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion annual revenue, which would be the 10th largest economy in the world. These companies include Nike, Netflix, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Instagram, Snapchat, PayPal and Yahoo.
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is an independent, coeducational, private research university based in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1861, MIT aims to ‘further knowledge and prepare students in science, technology and other fields of study that will best benefit the nation and the world today’. Its motto is Mens et Manus, which translates as “Mind and Hand”. The university lays claim to 85 Nobel Laureates, 58 National Medal of Science winners, 29 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners and 45 MacArthur Fellows. Among its impressive alumni is Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations. Scientific discoveries and technological advances accredited to MIT include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the development of radar, the discovery of quarks, and the invention of magnetic core memory, which enabled the development of digital computers. MIT estimates that all its living alumni have between them launched more than 30,000 active companies, created 4.6 million jobs and generated roughly $1.9 trillion in annual revenue.
6. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned science and engineering research and education institution, where extraordinary faculty and students seek answers to complex questions, discover new knowledge, lead innovation, and transform the future. Caltech has six academic divisions with a strong emphasis in science and technology teaching and research. Caltech has a high research output and alongside many high-quality facilities, both on campus and globally. This includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Caltech Seismological Laboratory and the International Observatory Network. The alumni and faculty of Caltech have been awarded 39 Nobel Prizes, one Fields Medal, six Turing Awards and 71 United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Four chief scientists of the US Air Force have also attended the institution.
7. Princeton University
Princeton is one of the oldest universities in the US and is regarded as one of the world’s most illustrious higher education institutions. Founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, it was officially renamed Princeton University in 1896 in honour of the area where it is based, opening its famous graduate school in 1900. Princeton is also one of the world’s foremost research universities with connections to more than 40 Nobel laureates, 17 winners of the National Medal of Science and five recipients of the National Humanities Medal. Faculty members who have been awarded a Nobel prize in recent years include chemists Tomas Lindahl and Osamu Shimomura, economists Paul Krugman and Angus Deaton and physicists Arthur McDonald and David Gross. Notable alumni who have won a Nobel prize include the physicists Richard Feynman and Robert Hofstadter and chemists Richard Smalley and Edwin McMillan. Princeton has also educated two US presidents, James Madison and Woodrow Wilson, who was also the university’s president prior to entering the White House. Other distinguished graduates include Michelle Obama, actors Jimmy Stewart and Brooke Shields, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad. It is popular with visitors, with about 800,000 people visiting its open campus each year, generating about $2 billion in revenue.
8. University of California
The University of California, Berkeley, a public research university, is regarded as one of the most prestigious state universities in the US. Part of the University of California System, it was founded in 1868. Berkeley faculty have won 19 Nobel prizes, mostly in physics, chemistry and economics. Recent winners include Saul Perlmutter, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for leading a team that discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe, suggesting the existence of a form of dark energy that comprises 75 per cent of the universe; and George Akerlof, who won the 2001 Prize for Economics for demonstrating how markets malfunction when buyers and sellers have access to different information. Notable alumni include novelist and journalist Jack London, Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck, former prime minister and president of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, author Joan Didion and Women’s World Cup-winning US footballer Alex Morgan.
9. Yale University
Yale University is a private Ivy League research university which is the third-oldest higher education institution in the US. Yale traces its history back to 1701, when it was founded as the Collegiate School in Saybrook, Connecticut, which moved to New Haven 15 years later. In 1718 it was renamed Yale College, in honour of Welsh benefactor Elihu Yale, and it was the first university in the US to award a PhD, in 1861. Yale has an endowment that exceeds $25 billion (£17.3 billion), making it the second-richest educational institution in the world, and a library that holds more than 15 million volumes, making it the third-largest in the US. Four Yale graduates signed the American Declaration of Independence, and the university has educated five US presidents: William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Twenty Yale alumni have won Nobel prizes, including economist Paul Krugman, while 32 have won the Pulitzer Prize. Other notable alumni include US secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and actress Meryl Streep.
10. Imperial College London
Imperial College London, a science-based institution based in the centre of the capital, is regarded as one of the UK’s leading institutions. The institution has its roots in the vision of Prince Albert to make London’s South Kensington a centre for education, with colleges going alongside the nearby Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Science Museum. Imperial was granted its charter in 1907, merging the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines and the City & Guilds College. The institution boasts 14 Nobel Prize winners, including Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin. Famous alumni include science fiction author H.G. Wells, Queen guitarist Brian May, former prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, former UK chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson, and former chief executive of Singapore Airlines Chew Choon Seng.