Nice to see that the best English ones are still among the best in the world, despite losing the top spot. It's also interesting to see that the traditional "best universities" have so much competition. Oxford is not considered one of the top two in England any more according to this and MIT has gone ahead of Harvard and Yale as well as ahead of Cambridge. No, I didn't go to one likely to trouble the top 10 any time soon (UEA).
I know Oxford has still held its place at number 5, despite UCL overtaking it, but I wonder if the prestige of having been to Oxford will ever lessen as a result.
By the way, I'm fully aware that a university education can be pointless (most of my students will easily out-earn me working in the North Sea) and that most people aren't impressed by what university others went to etc, I'm just commenting on that article.
Im always very wary of these ranking systems. The results obtained owe more to the people involved and the system / metrics used than any real fundamentals imo. This one is conducted by QS research based in London. Im sure a Boston based consultancy would have a very different global top 10. The Times has Cal-tech 1st, Harvard 2nd and Stanford 3rd (not even in QS' top 10). Do places like the Sorbonne, Munich Technical University and University of Tokyo really not even make the top 20?
Its interesting that all the Asian universities which are rapidly rising up the rankings use English as a teaching medium. Is this because English is the lingua franca of academia and allows you to recruit the best gobally - or because researchers find it difficult to grade research in a language they dont speak.
Last edited by buctootim; 11-09-2012 at 10:52 AM.
I think these ranking style systems are always very variable from one to the other. And I think it's very difficult to distinguish between the top few. For an example of the variance, in the times one buctootim mentioned UCL is only in 17th which is a big difference to 4th in QS(Cam and Ox in 4th and 5th respectively). I think what we can say though is that we have some top top universities in the UK, especially our big London ones and Oxford and Cambridge, although we shouldn't forget a few notables others... for example Manchester always does excellently in world rankings. I don't think there is a huge amount of difference between the top 5-10 or so though.
The rankings tend to be research biassed and thus favour where the money is, thus teh US top few still have the advanatge on that score - from a pursuit of academic and teaching excellence, you cant really distinguish between the top 20 in the world as all will provide and exceptional level of teaching - just that if you want to go get tha PhD etc and post doc research... go where the funding is.
The weird thing is that the criterion that ought to determine where students go to study.. namely the quality of the teaching , is given no weight at all in most of these ranking systems. Does it really matter to an 18 year old undergraduate that Prof X is the world expert in research into topic Y, when all the undergrad will get is only about 6 hours a week of lectures for only about 27 weeks of the year, and those lectures will never be given by Prof X, who sees such teaching as well beneath him?
In fact nowadays much of the teaching will be done by post-graduate students, who may once have met Prof X at a faculty party, but who have had little or no training in how to teach.
So my alma mater has slipped to second. Surely some mistake.
Originally Posted by Whitey Grandad
6th for me, sounds about right.
I think the top unis, Oxbridge at least have tutorials, one or two people in each, from the professors/doctors
Originally Posted by Ken Tone