The University of Cambridge has been knocked off the top spot in the QS World University Rankings after two years at number one. The UK university lost out to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the American university that specialises in science and technology.
The rankings, which measure research quality, employability and how international the institutions are, are a key indicator to the big universities and fiercely contested by all those involved. It’s the first time that MIT have appeared at the top, a spot usually reserved for Cambridge and Harvard.
Soaring to the top of the list after years hovering around the 6th position, MIT’s rise is largely due to the strong presence in academic citations and a noticeable increase in foreign academics work. Head of research at QS, Ben Sowter said “The rise of MIT coincides with a global shift in emphasis toward science and technology”.
Harvard, University College London, Oxford University, Imperial College London, Yale University, University of Chicago, Princeton, and California Institute of Technology made up the top 10. The sole new entry in the top 20 was the University of Toronto. The University of Hong Kong was the highest ranking institution outside of North America and Europe, ranking 23rd.
MIT recently announced a programme of distance learning courses, called MITx. The courses, which launched in March, are designed to be studied online for free, allowing a virtual community of learners around the world to come together to learn.
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