Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015

Published: Thu 12 Mar 2015 10:07 AM
Harvard University retains first place on the list of the world’s most prestigious universities
Japan leads Asia in the global reputation league, but the University of Tokyo falls still further from the top ten
Outstanding progress for China’s leading universities – with Tsinghua and Peking securing their highest ever positions – but Hong Kong loses ground
The UK’s Cambridge University (2nd) and Oxford (3rd) push the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4th) and Stanford University (5th) down.
European powerhouses London and Paris tie for top spot as the world cities with the highest number of top ranked universities
Good news for Australia with five top 100 institutions
No place in the top 50 for South Korea or Taiwan
Times Higher Education (THE) today publishes the 2015 THE World Reputation Rankings – the definitive list of the world’s 100 most prestigious universities, based on the largest invitation-only survey of senior academics across the world.
The list has become a widely-referenced global index of university prestige, as reputation is a key driver of success in a highly competitive global higher education market, helping institutions to attract the top student and academic talent as well as investment, research partners and benefactions.
For the fifth year in a row, the 2015 rankings have highlighted an elite group of six US and UK “super-brands” that stands head and shoulders above the rest, headed by Harvard University. Cambridge University moves into second place this year (up from 4th), Oxford University takes third (up from 5th), while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology drops to fourth (from second) and Stanford University takes 5th (from 3rd). The University of California, Berkeley, holds onto 6th place.
The rest of the top ten is made up of US institutions: Princeton University (seventh); Yale University (eighth); and the California Institute of Technology (ninth) hold their places, while Columbia University makes the world top 10 for the first time (in 10th), replacing the University of California, Los Angeles, which dropped to 13th.
Overall, the US continues to dominate, with 26 of the top 50 places, and a total of 43 of the top 100 (down from 46 last year). The US’s star performers include Columbia, rising into the top 10 from 23rd in 2011, when the survey was first carried out, and New York University, which this year makes 20th place, up from outside the top 50 in 2011.
After the US, the UK has the most top 100 representatives: 12, up from ten last year and nine in 2013. The “golden triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London strengthened its grip on UK higher education: As well as Cambridge and Oxford rising closer to the summit, University College London moved up from 25th to 17th, the London School of Economics rose two places to 22nd and King’s College London jumped eight places from 43rd to 31st. King’s is one of the rising stars of the rankings, after moving up from the 61-70 band in 2013 (institutions ranked below the top 50 are placed in bands of ten). The saw two new entrants to the top 100: Warwick and Durham universities both entered in the 81-90 group.
Edinburgh University is Scotland’s only representative among the global super-brands, rising from 46th to 29th place.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia gained ground. Its leader, the University of Melbourne, host of the THE World Academic Summit in October 2015, moved up from 43rd to joint 41st. Both the University of Sydney and Australian National University moved up from the 61-70 band to the 51-60 group.
Asia’s number one performer is the University of Tokyo, slipping one place to 12th in the world. But it was a bad result overall for Japan, as Kyoto University slipped out of the top 20, from 19th to 27th, and Osaka University fell out of the table altogether.
Meanwhile, China gained much ground. Its top institution, Tsinghua University rose ten places to 26th, overtaking Kyoto for the first time in the reputation rankings, and Peking also rose – moving to 32nd place from 41st last year. Hong Kong did not do so well – its flagship, the University of Hong Kong, slipped out of the top 50, from 43rd to the 51-60 band.
South Korea’s only representative this year was Seoul National University, dropping into the bottom half of the table (51-60), while Singapore’s two leading institutions largely held their ground: National University of Singapore took 24th place, while Nanyang Technological University remained in the 91-100 band. Taiwan’s sole representative, National Taiwan University, slipped a band from 51-60 last year to 61-70.
In total, 21 countries are represented.
The World Reputation Rankings are part of the portfolio of league tables that has established Times Higher Education as the most respected provider of comparative global higher education performance data. They are based on a global invitation-only opinion poll carried out in partnership with Elsevier. The poll has attracted almost 70,000 responses from more than 150 countries in five annual rounds since the first survey in 2010. The 2015 results were drawn from 10,507 survey responses from published senior academics who reported an average of 15 years working in higher education.
Research by international student recruitment agency IDP has shown that a university’s “reputation/ranking” is the single most important consideration for students choosing study destinations, above fees and even course content (
A separate study by the World 100 Reputation Network has found that institutional reputation is the number one factor for international academics changing jobs (
Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, says:
“This ranking is very simple and very powerful. It is based purely on subjective judgment. But it is the expert subjective judgment of those who know most about excellent teaching and research – leading academics from all around the world. And their opinion matters deeply. A university’s global academic reputation is vital – it not only influences investments and funding decisions, but more importantly, it helps a university to develop and nurture its single greatest asset: its student and academic talent.
“The annual THE World Reputation Rankings are an essential indicator of the fortunes of global university brands.”
Results Tables
Copyright Times Higher Education 2015.
If this table or extracts from it are reproduced in any way, you must link to
2015 reputation rank2014 reputation rankInstitutionCountry / region11Harvard UniversityUnited States24University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom35University of OxfordUnited Kingdom42Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States53Stanford UniversityUnited States66University of California, BerkeleyUnited States77Princeton UniversityUnited States88Yale UniversityUnited States99California Institute of TechnologyUnited States1012Columbia UniversityUnited States1114University of ChicagoUnited States1211University of TokyoJapan1310University of California, Los AngelesUnited States1413Imperial College LondonUnited Kingdom1516ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerland1620University of TorontoCanada1725University College LondonUnited Kingdom1818Johns Hopkins UniversityUnited States1915University of MichiganUnited States2017Cornell UniversityUnited States2027New York UniversityUnited States2224London School of Economics and Political ScienceUnited Kingdom2322University of PennsylvaniaUnited States2421National University of SingaporeSingapore2551-60Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityRussian Federation2636Tsinghua UniversityChina2719Kyoto UniversityJapan2829Carnegie Mellon UniversityUnited States2946University of EdinburghUnited Kingdom3023University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUnited States3143King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom3241Peking UniversityChina3331University of WashingtonUnited States3430Duke UniversityUnited States3546Ludwig Maximilian University of MunichGermany3533McGill UniversityCanada3733University of British ColumbiaCanada3832University of California, San FranciscoUnited States3861-70Heidelberg UniversityGermany3828University of Wisconsin-MadisonUnited States4140University of California, San DiegoUnited States4171-80Humboldt University of BerlinGermany4143University of MelbourneAustralia4451-60University of California, DavisUnited States4551-60Karolinska InstituteSweden4633University of Texas at AustinUnited States4737Northwestern UniversityUnited States4849École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneSwitzerland4938Georgia Institute of TechnologyUnited States5051-60University of ManchesterUnited Kingdom51-6071-80University of AmsterdamNetherlands61-70Australian National UniversityAustralia42Delft University of TechnologyNetherlands81-90Free University of BerlinGermany43University of Hong KongHong Kong71-80Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenBelgium–Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1France71-80Paris-Sorbonne University – Paris 4France81-90University of São PauloBrazil26Seoul National UniversityRepublic of Korea61-70University of SydneyAustralia61-7061-70University of California, Santa BarbaraUnited States–École Normale SupérieureFrance81-90Leiden UniversityNetherlands51-60National Taiwan UniversityTaiwan–University of North Carolina*United States39Pennsylvania State UniversityUnited States61-70University of Southern CaliforniaUnited States61-70Technical University of MunichGermany-Wageningen University and Research CenterNetherlands71-8071-80Boston UniversityUnited States81-90Brown UniversityUnited States51-60Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong Kong61-70Michigan State UniversityUnited States51-60University of MinnesotaUnited States–National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico71-80University of PittsburghUnited States48Purdue UniversityUnited States91-100Rutgers, the State University of New JerseyUnited States–Saint Petersburg State UniversityRussian Federation81-90Utrecht UniversityNetherlands81-90–University of CopenhagenDenmark–Durham UniversityUnited Kingdom–University of HelsinkiFinland51-60Ohio State UniversityUnited States81-90University of QueenslandAustralia71-80Texas A UniversityUnited States–University of WarwickUnited Kingdom71-80Washington University in St LouisUnited States–Uppsala UniversitySweden91-100–University of BristolUnited Kingdom–École PolytechniqueFrance91-100London Business SchoolUnited Kingdom81-90University of Maryland, College ParkUnited States61-70University of MassachusettsUnited States81-90Mayo Medical SchoolUnited States–Monash UniversityAustralia91-100Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore–Pasteur InstituteFrance91-100RWTH Aachen UniversityGermany
Copyright Times Higher Education 2015.
If this table or extracts from it are reproduced in any way, you must link to
Country / regionNumber of institutions in Top 100Top institution in country / regionUnited States43Harvard UniversityUnited Kingdom12University of CambridgeGermany6Ludwig Maximilian University of MunichAustralia5University of MelbourneFrance5Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1Netherlands5Delft University of TechnologyCanada3University of TorontoChina2Tsinghua UniversityHong Kong2University of Hong KongJapan2University of TokyoRussian Federation2Lomonosov Moscow State UniversitySingapore2National University of SingaporeSweden2Karolinska InstituteSwitzerland2ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichBelgium1Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenBrazil1University of São PauloDenmark1University of CopenhagenFinland1University of HelsinkiMexico1National Autonomous University of MexicoRepublic of Korea1Seoul National UniversityTaiwan1National Taiwan University
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Notes to editors
Methodology key facts
• The World Reputation Rankings are based on the results of the Academic Reputation Survey carried out by Times Higher Education in partnership with Elsevier. The 2015 World Reputation Rankings are based on 9,794 responses from a total of 10,507 responses from 142 countries to the survey distributed in December 2014 and January 2015.
• The survey was available in 15 languages (up from ten last year) and is distributed based on United Nations data to ensure that it accurately reflects the global distribution of scholars. Times Higher Education does not allow volunteers to take part in the survey and accepts no nominations from institutions or any third party.
• The poll asks academics to nominate no more than 10 of the best institutions in their narrow field of expertise, based on their experience and knowledge, making it a rigorous global measure of academic prestige.
• For the 2015 table, the most responses were from the US (15.8 per cent) followed by China (10.6 per cent) and Japan (7.2 per cent). There were 5.6 per cent responses from the UK and 5.5 per cent from Russia. Brazil made up 2.4 per cent of responses and South Africa 1.8 per cent.
• Twenty per cent of respondents hail from engineering and technology, 19 per cent from the social sciences, 17 per cent from the physical sciences, 13 per cent from clinical subjects, 15 per cent from the life sciences and 16 per cent from the arts and humanities.
Terminology and intellectual property
• The full description of the tables is “Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015”
• Please include the following link when publishing the “Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014” tables (in full or in part): or
About Times Higher Education
Times Higher Education is the world’s most authoritative source of information about higher education. Designed specifically for professional people working in higher education and research, Times Higher Education was founded in 1971 and has been online since 1995. Times Higher Education is published by TSL Education Ltd
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