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Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015


Harvard University retains first place on the list of the world’s most prestigious universities

Japan leads Asia in the global reputation league, but the University of Tokyo falls still further from the top ten

Outstanding progress for China’s leading universities – with Tsinghua and Peking securing their highest ever positions – but Hong Kong loses ground

The UK’s Cambridge University (2nd) and Oxford (3rd) push the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (4th) and Stanford University (5th) down.

European powerhouses London and Paris tie for top spot as the world cities with the highest number of top ranked universities

Good news for Australia with five top 100 institutions

No place in the top 50 for South Korea or Taiwan


Times Higher Education (THE) today publishes the 2015 THE World Reputation Rankings – the definitive list of the world’s 100 most prestigious universities, based on the largest invitation-only survey of senior academics across the world.

The list has become a widely-referenced global index of university prestige, as reputation is a key driver of success in a highly competitive global higher education market, helping institutions to attract the top student and academic talent as well as investment, research partners and benefactions.

For the fifth year in a row, the 2015 rankings have highlighted an elite group of six US and UK “super-brands” that stands head and shoulders above the rest, headed by Harvard University. Cambridge University moves into second place this year (up from 4th), Oxford University takes third (up from 5th), while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology drops to fourth (from second) and Stanford University takes 5th (from 3rd). The University of California, Berkeley, holds onto 6th place.

The rest of the top ten is made up of US institutions: Princeton University (seventh); Yale University (eighth); and the California Institute of Technology (ninth) hold their places, while Columbia University makes the world top 10 for the first time (in 10th), replacing the University of California, Los Angeles, which dropped to 13th.
Overall, the US continues to dominate, with 26 of the top 50 places, and a total of 43 of the top 100 (down from 46 last year). The US’s star performers include Columbia, rising into the top 10 from 23rd in 2011, when the survey was first carried out, and New York University, which this year makes 20th place, up from outside the top 50 in 2011.

After the US, the UK has the most top 100 representatives: 12, up from ten last year and nine in 2013. The “golden triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London strengthened its grip on UK higher education: As well as Cambridge and Oxford rising closer to the summit, University College London moved up from 25th to 17th, the London School of Economics rose two places to 22nd and King’s College London jumped eight places from 43rd to 31st. King’s is one of the rising stars of the rankings, after moving up from the 61-70 band in 2013 (institutions ranked below the top 50 are placed in bands of ten). The saw two new entrants to the top 100: Warwick and Durham universities both entered in the 81-90 group.

Edinburgh University is Scotland’s only representative among the global super-brands, rising from 46th to 29th place.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia gained ground. Its leader, the University of Melbourne, host of the THE World Academic Summit in October 2015, moved up from 43rd to joint 41st. Both the University of Sydney and Australian National University moved up from the 61-70 band to the 51-60 group.

Asia’s number one performer is the University of Tokyo, slipping one place to 12th in the world. But it was a bad result overall for Japan, as Kyoto University slipped out of the top 20, from 19th to 27th, and Osaka University fell out of the table altogether.

Meanwhile, China gained much ground. Its top institution, Tsinghua University rose ten places to 26th, overtaking Kyoto for the first time in the reputation rankings, and Peking also rose – moving to 32nd place from 41st last year. Hong Kong did not do so well – its flagship, the University of Hong Kong, slipped out of the top 50, from 43rd to the 51-60 band.

South Korea’s only representative this year was Seoul National University, dropping into the bottom half of the table (51-60), while Singapore’s two leading institutions largely held their ground: National University of Singapore took 24th place, while Nanyang Technological University remained in the 91-100 band. Taiwan’s sole representative, National Taiwan University, slipped a band from 51-60 last year to 61-70.

In total, 21 countries are represented.
The World Reputation Rankings are part of the portfolio of league tables that has established Times Higher Education as the most respected provider of comparative global higher education performance data. They are based on a global invitation-only opinion poll carried out in partnership with Elsevier. The poll has attracted almost 70,000 responses from more than 150 countries in five annual rounds since the first survey in 2010. The 2015 results were drawn from 10,507 survey responses from published senior academics who reported an average of 15 years working in higher education.

Research by international student recruitment agency IDP has shown that a university’s “reputation/ranking” is the single most important consideration for students choosing study destinations, above fees and even course content (

A separate study by the World 100 Reputation Network has found that institutional reputation is the number one factor for international academics changing jobs (


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

“This ranking is very simple and very powerful. It is based purely on subjective judgment. But it is the expert subjective judgment of those who know most about excellent teaching and research – leading academics from all around the world. And their opinion matters deeply. A university’s global academic reputation is vital – it not only influences investments and funding decisions, but more importantly, it helps a university to develop and nurture its single greatest asset: its student and academic talent.

“The annual THE World Reputation Rankings are an essential indicator of the fortunes of global university brands.”

Results Tables

Copyright Times Higher Education 2015.
If this table or extracts from it are reproduced in any way, you must link to

2015 reputation rank2014 reputation rankInstitutionCountry / region
11Harvard UniversityUnited States
24University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
35University of OxfordUnited Kingdom
42Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States
53Stanford UniversityUnited States
66University of California, BerkeleyUnited States
77Princeton UniversityUnited States
88Yale UniversityUnited States
99California Institute of TechnologyUnited States
1012Columbia UniversityUnited States
1114University of ChicagoUnited States
1211University of TokyoJapan
1310University of California, Los AngelesUnited States
1413Imperial College LondonUnited Kingdom
1516ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerland
1620University of TorontoCanada
1725University College LondonUnited Kingdom
1818Johns Hopkins UniversityUnited States
1915University of MichiganUnited States
2017Cornell UniversityUnited States
2027New York UniversityUnited States
2224London School of Economics and Political ScienceUnited Kingdom
2322University of PennsylvaniaUnited States
2421National University of SingaporeSingapore
2551-60Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityRussian Federation
2636Tsinghua UniversityChina
2719Kyoto UniversityJapan
2829Carnegie Mellon UniversityUnited States
2946University of EdinburghUnited Kingdom
3023University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUnited States
3143King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom
3241Peking UniversityChina
3331University of WashingtonUnited States
3430Duke UniversityUnited States
3546Ludwig Maximilian University of MunichGermany
3533McGill UniversityCanada
3733University of British ColumbiaCanada
3832University of California, San FranciscoUnited States
3861-70Heidelberg UniversityGermany
3828University of Wisconsin-MadisonUnited States
4140University of California, San DiegoUnited States
4171-80Humboldt University of BerlinGermany
4143University of MelbourneAustralia
4451-60University of California, DavisUnited States
4551-60Karolinska InstituteSweden
4633University of Texas at AustinUnited States
4737Northwestern UniversityUnited States
4849École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneSwitzerland
4938Georgia Institute of TechnologyUnited States
5051-60University of ManchesterUnited Kingdom
51-6071-80University of AmsterdamNetherlands
61-70Australian National UniversityAustralia
42Delft University of TechnologyNetherlands
81-90Free University of BerlinGermany
43University of Hong KongHong Kong
71-80Katholieke Universiteit LeuvenBelgium
Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1France
71-80Paris-Sorbonne University – Paris 4France
81-90University of São PauloBrazil
26Seoul National UniversityRepublic of Korea
61-70University of SydneyAustralia
61-7061-70University of California, Santa BarbaraUnited States
École Normale SupérieureFrance
81-90Leiden UniversityNetherlands
51-60National Taiwan UniversityTaiwan
University of North Carolina*United States
39Pennsylvania State UniversityUnited States
61-70University of Southern CaliforniaUnited States
61-70Technical University of MunichGermany
-Wageningen University and Research CenterNetherlands
71-8071-80Boston UniversityUnited States
81-90Brown UniversityUnited States
51-60Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong Kong
61-70Michigan State UniversityUnited States
51-60University of MinnesotaUnited States
National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico
71-80University of PittsburghUnited States
48Purdue UniversityUnited States
91-100Rutgers, the State University of New JerseyUnited States
Saint Petersburg State UniversityRussian Federation
81-90Utrecht UniversityNetherlands
81-90University of CopenhagenDenmark
Durham UniversityUnited Kingdom
University of HelsinkiFinland
51-60Ohio State UniversityUnited States
81-90University of QueenslandAustralia
71-80Texas A&M UniversityUnited States
University of WarwickUnited Kingdom
71-80Washington University in St LouisUnited States
Uppsala UniversitySweden
91-100University of BristolUnited Kingdom
École PolytechniqueFrance
91-100London Business SchoolUnited Kingdom
81-90University of Maryland, College ParkUnited States
61-70University of MassachusettsUnited States
81-90Mayo Medical SchoolUnited States
Monash UniversityAustralia
91-100Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
Pasteur InstituteFrance
91-100RWTH Aachen UniversityGermany

Copyright Times Higher Education 2015.
If this table or extracts from it are reproduced in any way, you must link to

Country / regionNumber of institutions in Top 100Top institution in country / region
United States43Harvard University
United Kingdom12University of Cambridge
Germany6Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Australia5University of Melbourne
France5Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1
Netherlands5Delft University of Technology
Canada3University of Toronto
China2Tsinghua University
Hong Kong2University of Hong Kong
Japan2University of Tokyo
Russian Federation2Lomonosov Moscow State University
Singapore2National University of Singapore
Sweden2Karolinska Institute
Switzerland2ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
Belgium1Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Brazil1University of São Paulo
Denmark1University of Copenhagen
Finland1University of Helsinki
Mexico1National Autonomous University of Mexico
Republic of Korea1Seoul National University
Taiwan1National Taiwan University

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Notes to editors

Methodology key facts

• The World Reputation Rankings are based on the results of the Academic Reputation Survey carried out by Times Higher Education in partnership with Elsevier. The 2015 World Reputation Rankings are based on 9,794 responses from a total of 10,507 responses from 142 countries to the survey distributed in December 2014 and January 2015.
• The survey was available in 15 languages (up from ten last year) 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 10 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 2015 table, the most responses were from the US (15.8 per cent) followed by China (10.6 per cent) and Japan (7.2 per cent). There were 5.6 per cent responses from the UK and 5.5 per cent from Russia. Brazil made up 2.4 per cent of responses and South Africa 1.8 per cent.
• Twenty per cent of respondents hail from engineering and technology, 19 per cent from the social sciences, 17 per cent from the physical sciences, 13 per cent from clinical subjects, 15 per cent from the life sciences and 16 per cent from the arts and humanities.

Terminology and intellectual property

• The full description of the tables is “Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2015”
• Please include the following link when publishing the “Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014” tables (in full or in part): or

About Times Higher Education

Times Higher Education is the world’s most authoritative source of information about higher education. Designed specifically for professional people working in higher education and research, Times Higher Education was founded in 1971 and has been online since 1995. Times Higher Education is published by TSL Education Ltd

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