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The top 20 universities in the world

Last updated on: September 11, 2013 11:35 IST

The top 20 universities in the world

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Quacquarelli Symonds has released its annual rankings of world universities for the year 2013-14. We bring you the top 20 global universities from the list.

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released the World University Rankings for the year 2013-14.

More than 800 universities from around the world were considered for the rankings this year of which the list was narrowed down to the 200 best universities which now feature on its official website.

The rankings by QS, a leading networking organisation specialising in higher education, are based on each institution's strengths in research, teaching, employability of graduates and international presence.

While American colleges continue to lead the rankings this year too, three of the top five slots are occupied by universities from the United Kingdom.

The top 20 list comprises 11 universities from the US, six from the UK, two from Switzerland and one from Canada.

Overall, the rankings were stable. Only one university fell out of the top 50 and four out of the top 100 even as continental European universities made a comeback in the list. Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL) and ETH Zurich appear in the top 20. (At number 12, the latter is the highest-placed university outside the English-speaking world.)

The Netherlands has two more universities in the top 100 since last year while France has two universities in the top 50 and 19 in the top 400. Norway's University of Oslo has made it to the top 100 universities and Denmark's University of Copenhagen has made its place in the top 50.

Rather depressingly, no Indian university has made it to the top 200. (Read more about that here)

In the following pages, we bring you the top 20 universities in the world as per QS' rankings.

ALSO SEE: QS World University Rankings for 2012 and 2011.

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Image: The top 20 universities in the world
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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19. EPFL, Switzerland and King's College London, UK

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The 19th spot in the rankings is shared by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland and King's College London (KCL), UK.

Founded in 1853, the EPFL was started as a private school under the name Ecole Speciale De Lausanne. The present campus is spread across 136 acres of land and comprises about 65 academic buildings that enrols over 9,000 students across its undergraduate and post graduate programmes.

King's College is a public research university which was established in 1829. It annually admits over 25,000 students across its various programmes.


Image: (Above) King's College London, UK and (below) EPFL, Switzerland's logo
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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17. University of Edinburgh, UK and University of Toronto, Canada

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The two premiere public research universities -- the University of Edinburgh, UK and the University of Toronto, Canada -- are ranked at Number 17 in the list.

The University of Edinburgh was started in 1583 and enrols over 30,000 students across its undergraduate and post-graduate programmes annually.

It has produced 15 Nobel Prize winners and several Olympic gold medallists so far.

The University of Toronto, established in 1827, admits over 45,000 students into its various courses annually and boasts of an accomplished list of alumni which include 10 Nobel laureate and 14 Supreme Court judges among others.


Image: (Above) New College, Mound Edinburgh University's Divinity school and (below) University of Toronto, Canada
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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16. Johns Hopkins University, USA

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The Johns Hopkins University is ranked at Number 16.

Named after the philanthropist John Hopkins, the institute was founded on January 22, 1876 and has two undergraduate and five graduate divisions offering programmes in engineering, arts, nursing, science and advanced international studies. It enrols over 20,000 students annually.


Image: Johns Hopkins University's Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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15. Cornell University, USA

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Established in 1865, Cornell University is a private Ivy League research institute known to have several firsts to its credit.

It is believed to have awarded the world's first degree in journalism, the country's first university degree in veterinary medicine, besides the first doctorates in electrical and industrial engineering. Cornell has so far produced 41 Nobel laureates, 31 Marshall and 28 Rhodes Scholars and ranks 15 in the list of QS rankings.


Image: Arts Quad at Cornell University, with McGraw Tower in background
Photographs: Eustress/Wikimedia Commons

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14. Columbia University, USA

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Up next is Columbia University. The private Ivy league research institute, headquartered in New York City, was founded in 1754. It successfully operates seven international centres in Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Paris, Santiago, Nairobi and Mumbai and has an annual enrolment of 27,600 students across its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.


Image: Columbia University's Butler Library
Photographs: Andrew Chen/Wikimedia Commons

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13. University Of Pennsylvania, USA

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One of the oldest institutions of higher learning, the University of Pennsylvania is ranked at Number 13.

The pioneering institute was established in the year 1740 and has been instrumental in starting quite a few niche schools in the country.

It started the Perelman School of Medicine, North America's first school of medicine in 1765 and Wharton, the world's first collegiate business school in 1881.

It enrols over 21,000 students annually across its programmes in communication, arts and sciences, medicine, dental medicine, design, engineering and applied sciences, nursing, social policy and practice, veterinary medicine and business management.


Image: Penn campus
Photographs: YW Shin/Wikimedia Commons

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12 ETH Zuric, Switzerland

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Also known as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the ETH Zurich has made considerable progress from its 2012 rankings. It was ranked at Number 29 in 2012.

Established in the year 1855, the institute offers courses in engineering, science, technology, mathematics and management.

It has an annual enrollment of over 17,000 students across its undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


Image: The ETH facing the Limmat River
Photographs: ArchonMeld/Wikimedia Commons

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10. Caltech and Princeton University, US

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Staying put at number 10 -- the same as last year -- is California Institute of Technology. However, this year, it shares its ranking with Princeton University which fell one place from last year's number nine position.

Both institutes were established in the same year -- 1891 and offer courses in science and engineering.

While Caltech has an annual enrolment of over 2000 students, Princeton enrols over 7000 students into its graduation and post graduation programmes.


Image: Caltech (above) and Princeton University (below)
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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9. University of Chicago, USA

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Finishing ninth is the University of Chicago that boasts of having produced 87 Nobel laureates, 49 Rhodes Scholars and nine Fields Medalists.

Founded in 1890, it enrolls over 5,000 undergraduates and 10,000 post graduates every year to a multitude of disciplines and programmes including economics, sociology, physical sciences, law and political sciences.


Image: University of Chicago, USA
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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8. Yale University, USA

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Yale is one of the oldest Ivy League research institutes having been was established in 1701. Nine Nobel laureates have walked the haloed corridors of this institute that enrolls approximately 12,000 across various programmes.

The university also counts five US Presidents, 19 US Supreme Court Justices, and several foreign heads of state amongst its alumni.


Image: The Yale Law School has produced 19 Supreme Court Justices
Photographs: Pradipta Mitra/ Wikimedia Commons

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7. Stanford University, USA

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At number seven is Stanford University. Started in 1891, the university is spread across a sprawling 8,100-acre campus that houses seven schools imparting courses in humanities, sciences, business, education, engineering, law and medicine and enrols over 15,000 students.


Image: The Oval, Stanford University, Stanford, California
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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6. University of Oxford, UK

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One of the most distinguished colleges in the United Kingdom, Oxford is ranked at number six.

Oxford comprises 38 colleges and six permanent private halls that offer a wide range of disciplines, namely humanities, social sciences, mathematical, physical, and life sciences.

This institute's prestigious alumni list boasts of personalities and achievers from diverse fields which range from arts and entertainment to science, governance and business.


Image: The Keble College Chapel in Oxford, England
Photographs: David Iliff/Wikimedia Commons

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5. Imperial College London, UK

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Rounding off the Top Five list of best universities this year is Imperial College London.

It was started in the year 1907 and currently houses four colleges -- the Imperial College Faculty of Natural Sciences, the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, the Imperial College Faculty of Engineering and the Imperial College Business School.

It has an annual enrollment of over 13,500 students and 3,330 academic and research staff.


Image: Imperial College London
Photographs: Imperial College London, UK

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4. University College London, UK

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At number four is the University College London that was established in 1826 and was the first university in the country to admit women on equal terms with men.

Currently, it offers a vast range of disciplines that range from arts and humanities to brain sciences, engineering, law, mathematics and medicine.

It annually enrolls over 12,000 undergraduate and 10,000 postgraduate students.


Image: The Wilkins Building, University College London
Photographs: Steve Cadman/Wikimedia Commons

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3. University of Cambridge, UK

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At the third spot is the University of Cambridge, the second oldest university in the UK having been founded in 1209.

Cambridge comprises several self-governing and independent colleges, with their own endowments and properties, which offer streams ranging from mathematics and the sciences to humanities, music, art and literature. Interestingly the University has been falling in its rankings consistently. After having topped the list in 2011, it finished second last year and has slipped one position further to end up at number three.


Image: The Old Schools, Cambridge University, which is the administrative centre of the university
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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2. Harvard University, USA

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One of the oldest educational institutions in the USA, Harvard tipping Cambridge to bag the number two spot in the list. Established in 1636, it caters to over 21,000 students annually across its various programmes. The university offers a staggering 46 undergraduate concentrations (majors), 134 graduate degrees and 32 professional degrees in its 210-acre campus and boasts of having the largest academic library in the US.

Eight American presidents, including Barack Obama, have graduated from this haloed institutions and 75 Nobel Laureates have been students or faculty members or staff affiliates of this institute.


Image: Massachusetts Hall, Harvard University
Photographs: Daderot/Wikimedia Commons

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1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT continues to maintain its number one position from last year's rankings as per Quacquarelli Symonds.

The private research university was founded in 1861 and comprises five schools and one college that operate a total of 32 academic departments that emphasise on scientific and technological education and research.

The institute reports an annual enrolment of over 4,000 undergraduate and 6,500 postgraduate students.


Image: MIT Building 10 and the Great Dome, Cambridge Massachusetts
Photographs: John PhelanWikimedia Commons

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