For the fourth year in a row, the University of Oxford leads the rankings in first place, while the University of Cambridge falls to third according to The World University Rankings. The California Institute of Technology rises three places to second, while Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Imperial College London all appear in the top ten.

Here is a brief introduction to the top 10 universities of the world in 2020.

Rank 1: University of Oxford (United Kingdom)

University of Oxford has remained the number one university in the world for the last four consecutive years. The centuries of academic and research excellence that the university has produced is really a hallmark of its greatness. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation. At present, it has 20,664 students enrolled with 41 percent of them international. The female:male ratio at Oxford is 46:54. Number of students per staff is 11.2.


Rank 2: California Institute of Technology (United States)

California Institute of Technology or Caltech is based California’s suburb Pasadena. It is among the leading private research universities in the world. It was established as a vocational school in 1891 and was known as Throop University. Today, it is globally recognized as Caltech due to its expertise in engineering and natural science. This university is authorized to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is associated with AAU, HHMI, and NASA (JPL). Caltech’s campus has five institutes namely Beckman Institute, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Rosen Bioengineering Center, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience, and the Resnick Sustainability Institute. Caltech offers graduate, undergraduate and doctoral degree programs in mathematics, chemistry, biology, computer science, physics, and earth sciences.

The academic structure of the university comprises six divisions namely Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences, Biology and Biological Engineering, Geological and Planetary Sciences, Engineering, and Applied Science. Currently, there are more than 1,285 graduate students in Caltech and about 948 students enrolled in undergraduate programs. There are around 3,900 employees at Caltech including alumni and non-alumni academic faculties. The university staff includes professors who are highly learned and expert in science and applied sciences.

Rank 3: University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two ‘ancient universities’ share many common features and are often referred to jointly as ‘Oxbridge’. A “School” in the University of Cambridge is a broad administrative grouping of related faculties and other units. Each has an elected supervisory body—the “Council” of the school—comprising representatives of the constituent bodies. There are six schools: Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Technology.

Rank 4: Stanford University (United States)

Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university in Stanford, California. The University is known for its academic achievements, wealth, location within Silicon Valley, and selectivity; Stanford has been an area for learning, discovery, and innovation for all scholars. From the beginning, Stanford has valued experiential education. Generous funding helps its undergraduate students happiness to numerous economic backgrounds, enjoy equality of expertise and chance. Stanford has a current enrolment of around 16,424 students segregated into 6,994 undergraduates and 9,390 graduates along with 2,276 faculty members and 2,400 postdoctoral scholars. Stanford currently comprises of seven schools and 18 interdisciplinary institutes. Stanford is an international institution, enrolling students from all 48 U.S. states and 77 other countries. Stanford has seven schools for Business, Environmental Sciences, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Sciences, Law and Medicine. Stanford currently has more than 90 fields of graduate study and it proudly boasts of 7,000 undergraduate students who are spread across more than 65 major fields of study. Stanford has 18 institutes across interdisciplinary boundaries, 20 libraries which stock over 9.5 million volumes and $1.6 billion strong annual budget for research.

Rank 5: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university, with an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. As of October 2019, 96 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers.

Rank 6: Princeton University (United States)

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later. Princeton provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. It offers professional degrees through the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Architecture and the Bendheim Center for Finance. The university also manages the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Princeton has the largest endowment per student in the United States.As of March 2020, 68 Nobel laureates, 15 Fields Medalists and 14 Turing Award laureates have been affiliated with Princeton University as alumni, faculty members or researchers.

Rank 7: Harvard University (United States)

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and among the most prestigious in the world. The university has about 2,400 faculty members and more than 10,400 academic appointments in affiliated teaching hospitals. A total of 36012 students enrolled with 6,699 in Harvard colleges, 13,120 in graduate and professional courses, and 16,193 in Harvard Extension School. With Harvard Medical School consistently ranking first among medical schools for research, biomedical research is an area of particular strength for the university. More than 11,000 faculty members and over 1,600 medical and graduate students contribute to discovery and innovation at Harvard Medical School as well as its 15 affiliated hospitals and research institutes. Harvard Medical School and its affiliates attracted $1.65 billion in competitive research grants from the National Institutes of Health in 2019, more than twice as much as any other university.

Rank 8: Yale University

Yale University is a private institution that was founded in 1701. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,964, its setting is city, and the campus size is 373 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. It is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honour of the school’s largest benefactor, Elihu Yale. Yale’s reach is both local and international. It partners with its hometown of New Haven, Connecticut to strengthen the city’s community and economy. And it engages with people and institutions across the globe in the quest to promote cultural understanding, improve the human condition, delve more deeply into the secrets of the universe, and train the next generation of world leaders. For centuries, Yale has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.

Rank 9: University of Chicago

Founded in 1890, the University of Chicago is a private research university situated in Chicago, Illinois. The prestigious institute has various national and international rankings. The university offers a plethora of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to choose from. Every year around 450 million USD is spent on sponsored research. The university has additional campuses and centers in London, Europe, Delhi, Paris, Beijing, Hong Kong, and downtown Chicago. The university has contributed extensively to the research and development in the field of science. Also, the university has been playing a significant role in the development of academic disciplines like economics, mathematics, and sociology thus making it one of the top universities to study in the USA. The university has a student population hailing from different parts of the world and boasts excellent racial diversity. With more than 90 Nobel laureates affiliated with the university, the university has one of the highest concentration of Nobel laureates in the world. Former U.S. President Barack Obama taught at the university for 12 years. The university has around 400 registered student organizations. The university press is one of the oldest currently running presses of North America.

Rank 10: Imperial College London

Imperial College London is a world top ten university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Dating back to the Royal College of Chemistry’s foundation in 1845, Imperial grew out of Prince Albert’s vision of an area for culture, including the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial Institute, numerous museums, and the Royal Colleges that would go on to form the college. Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial is committed to developing the next generation of researchers, scientists and academics through collaboration across disciplines. Located in the heart of London, Imperial is a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle global challenges. The college focuses exclusively on science, technology, medicine and business. The college’s main campus is located in South Kensington, and it has an innovation campus in White City, a research field station at Silwood Park, and teaching hospitals throughout London. The college was a member of the University of London from 1908, becoming independent on its centenary in 2007.

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