Gap beyween UK Universities and the UK "Golden Triangle" widens

The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford have been bumped down a place in the 2014 World Reputation University Rankings. With Harvard and MIT managing to maintain their first and second place, Stanford University knocked Cambridge off the number three spot, pushing Oxford to number five. The US clearly dominates the rankings with seven of the top 10 places being taken by American Institutions. You can see the full table at the Times Higher Education

Bahram Bekhradnia, president of the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute, says:

“Given the UK’s size, this survey suggests we are still punching above our weight as far as research performance is concerned: at more than four times our size, the US has only around four times the number of universities in the top 100. What is worrying though is the apparent deterioration in the reputation of a number of our universities. At a time when despite economic problems others have sought to protect their research investment, we have seen a real-terms decline, which could amount to over 20 per cent in 10 years. We should expect our research output to follow: it is difficult to imagine why not."

With 10 institutions in the rankings the UK still has the most top 100 representatives after the US. However, this has been interpreted by analysts as evidence that the gap between top UK institutions and the "Golden Triangle" Oxbridge and Imperial College London is continuing to widen. London’s Universities continue to perform well with six of them being in the top 100, more than any other city in the world.

Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, says:

“The UK has lost three big-name universities from the list of the world’s 100 most prestigious institutions since the rankings were first published in 2011. In 2012, the University of Sheffield exited the rankings; in 2013 the University of Leeds followed suit; and this year the University of Bristol misses out. Given how important global reputation is in attracting top international talent, collaborations and investment, this is cause for concern. The UK has some of the world’s biggest university brands: we must protect them.”

You can talk about the Times Higher Education University World Reputation Rankings in our Educational Debate forum

04 - University of Cambridge
05 - University of Oxford
13 - Imperial College London
24 - London School of Economics and Political Science
25 - University College London
43 - King's College London
46 - University of Edinburgh
51-60 - University of Manchester
91-100 - London Business School
91-100 London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


There are 20 countries represented in the world top 100 reputation list. Taking a global view there were a number of significant changes. Seoul National University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology were identified as rising stars in the world’s biggest academic reputation survey. Seoul rapidly moved through the rankings from 41st to 26th. This was mirrored across Asia with other Asian institutions making progress in the rankings. Singapore moved from 27th in 2011 to 21st in 2014. Although the University of Tokyo missed out on the top 10 for the first time since the rankings were established, Japan continued to remain Asia’s leading nation five 5 institutions in the rankings.

In Europe, King’s College London was the biggest riser, up from 61-70 to joint 43rd. Both France and Sweden did not perform well and Russia’s ‘flagship’ university slipped out of the top 50.

Key facts

  • There are 20 countries represented in the world top 100 reputation list
  • Five make the top 20: the US, the UK, Japan, Canada and Switzerland
  • Only the US and the UK make the top 10
  • The highest-ranking university outside the UK and the US is Japan’s University of Tokyo (11th, down two places)
  • South Korea’s Seoul National University is Asia’s biggest riser, up 15 places to 26th, but it remains only fourth in the region
  • King’s College London is Europe’s biggest riser – up from 61-70 to joint 43rd
  • India does not have a single representative in the tables
  • Brazil’s University of São Paulo is the sole South American presence (81-90 band)
  • A number of institutions’ standing does not match their excellence, with reputation rankings much lower than their positions in the more objective World University Rankings. They include: UC Santa Barbara (33rd in the WUR 2013-14, 61-70 in the reputation rankings); Brown University (joint 52nd in the WUR, 81-90 by reputation); and the University of Queensland (joint 63rd in the WUR, 81-90 by reputation)
  • The Republic of Ireland is not represented

Methodology key facts

  • The World Reputation Rankings are based on the results of the Academic Reputation Survey carried out by Ipsos MediaCT for Thomson Reuters, data supplier to the Times Higher Education rankings. The 2014 World Reputation Rankings are based on 10,536 responses from 133 countries to the survey distributed in March-May 2013.
  • The survey is available in 10 languages 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 15 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 2014 table, some 30 per cent of responses were from the Americas, 34 per cent from Europe, 26 per cent from Asia Pacific and 9 per cent from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia (figures rounded).
  • Twenty-two per cent of respondents hail from engineering and technology, 22 per cent from the social sciences, 18 per cent from the physical sciences, 16 per cent from clinical subjects, 13 per cent from the life sciences and 9 per cent from the arts and humanities.

You can find the full list at the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014