THE World Reputation university rankings 2015

Cambridge and Oxford have regained their places as the second and third most prestigious universities in THE World Reputation Rankings, after being knocked down to fourth and fifth in 2014. 

Warwick and Durham have also entered the top 100. Harvard keeps first place, followed by Cambridge and Oxford and then Massachusetts Institution of Technology and Stanford. 

In all, the ranking features 21 countries, but the top six is dominated by the US and UK 'super-brands'.

"The annual THE World Reputation Rankings are an essential indicator of the fortunes of global university brands," says Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education rankings. 

League tables are also important to students. A TSR survey run in February showed that nearly a quarter of students say that university league tables are the main influencing factor on their choice of university, with a further 50% indicating that they have at least some influence.

The UK bounces back

Cambridge returns to second place in the rankings, with Oxford in third. Imperial College London dropped one place to 14th, but University College London gained eight places to 17th in the rankings. The London School of Economics and Kings College London also made advances, moving up to 22nd and 31st place respectively. 

Edinburgh University is still Scotland’s only university in the list, and has moved up in list, ranking in 29th place.

The UK has also gained two more entrants in the top 100 (Warwick and Durham), up from 10 last year and nine in 2013. This makes a total of 12 entrants for the UK, making it second only to the United States as the country with the most top-100 ranking universities. 

London is still the world’s university powerhouse, taking joint first place as the city with the most top 100 universities. Although it ties with Paris in terms of numbers, London’s universities are ranked more highly of the two. 

But what about the future of higher education in the UK? "As we head towards a general election we need a clear vision for how [universities'] future funding will be protected as other nations invest heavily in their top universities and increase spending on research,’ said Baty. 

He pointed out that other institutions are able to charge much higher tuition fees, as well as "draw on huge multi-billion endowments".

Business secretary Vince Cable said that although the rankings show "efforts to support a world-class education system, other nations are hot on our heels."

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Europe and the rest of the world

The United States continues to dominate the rankings, with eight out of the top 10 universities, and 43 institutions in the top 100. 

With six top-100 universities, Germany is still the third best-represented country in the world. It too has made progress gaining two new universities in the top 50. Its highest placing university, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, gained 11 places to move to 35th. 

France also had a strong year, gaining three extra top 100 universities. This puts Paris on par with London as the city with the most high-ranking universities. 

In the rest of Europe, Sweden, Finland and Denmark did well. Helsinki and the University of Copenhagen joined the top 100, whilst Sweden’s Karolinka Institute broke into the top 50. 

Russia also had a successful year, with the Lomonosov Moscow State University jumping up to 25th place, as well as gaining a new top 100 entrant. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia did well. The University of Melbourne moved up two places, while the University of Sydney and the Australian National University moved up into the 51-60 band. 

Japan didn't have such a great year, as the University of Tokyo fell one place down to 12th, Kyoto dropped out of the top 20, and Osaka fell out of the rankings altogether. 

China had a really successful year, with Tsinghua University rising 10 places to 26th overtaking Japan’s Kyoto University for the first time. Peking also moved up nine places to 32nd.

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Is your university in the top 100? How important are league tables for you? Have your say in the comments below.