QS World University Rankings 2016/2017: Who Will Be Top?

It’s less than a month until the QS World University Rankings® 2016/2017 are released, so in anticipation we’re rounding up some of the universities which are in competition for leading positions.

Which one will take the top spot this year?


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Last year’s winner: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is celebrated the world over for its enormous contribution to scientific development. Founded in 1861, it counts 85 Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 34 astronauts, and 38 MacArthur fellows among its alumni.

Researchers at the university have made significant developments in computing, radar, inertial guidance, sonar, robotics, cryptography and artificial intelligence.

Having led the university rankings for a number of years, the celebrated institution is a definite contender to take the top spot again in 2016.

University of Cambridge, UK

The University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world. Its reputation for superb academic instruction and research is supported by notable alumni, such as Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

The institution itself houses thousands of historical and academic artefacts, and the university’s famous buildings attract visitors from across the globe.

There has been an ongoing battle between Harvard University and the University of Cambridge for second place over the last few years; let’s see where the institution is placed in the 2016 university rankings…

Harvard University, USA

Harvard University
John Harvard statue in Harvard University

The oldest university in the United States, Harvard was established in the 17th century around 140 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

It offers one of the most coveted educations in the world, and with previous students including eight US presidents, and a financial endowment of $37.6 billion, it’s not hard to see why.

The university always appears among the top institutions on the list, but which position will it achieve this year?

Stanford University, USA

Stanford University
Stanford University Park

Stanford University is another top-five frequent flier. The university was founded in the late 19th century, and despite its relatively young age has become one of the most distinguished institutions in the US.

It has a renowned faculty, and is one of the world’s leading research and teaching institutions. Additionally, it was partly thanks to Stanford that Silicon Valley developed, as graduates were encouraged into entrepreneurialism. It’s also very international, with around a third of all graduate students hailing from abroad.

Last year, it came joint third with the University of Cambridge; will it move up or down the university rankings in 2016?

Caltech, USA

Caltech Observatory
Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, Mauna Kea summit, Hawaii

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was originally a preparatory school which became a fully fledged university during the first part of the 20th century. Like MIT, it is one of a small group of elite American universities dedicated to the technical arts and applied sciences.

According to a 2015 study, the university has the highest percentage of graduates in the US who go on to earn a PhD. Additionally, its alumni community includes Linus Pauling – the only person in history to win two unshared Nobel Prizes.

University of Oxford, UK

University of Oxford
The University of Oxford

Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and has operated continuously for over nine centuries. Internationally renowned for its quality of education and research, it’s also highly international in its on-campus community  – with almost one in four students coming from overseas.

It boasts the world’s oldest university museum, the world’s largest university press and the largest academic library system in Britain. Beating even Harvard’s record on US presidents, 27 prime ministers of the UK were educated at Oxford.

Oxford of course has a long-time rivalry with Cambridge. Which half of ‘Oxbridge’ will take the lead this year?

Imperial College London, UK

Imperial College London
Imperial College London

Imperial College London has a highly distinguished past. Along with pioneering penicillin, holography and fibre optics, the university is recognised as an international centre of development and research.

Imperial is geared towards the sciences, with four faculties: science, engineering, medicine and business. Interestingly, alumni from this institution are paid the highest salaries of any UK university, but will that success be reflected in this year’s university rankings position?

So which institution will come top this year? Sign up for our mailing list to get the results as soon as they’re released.

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