The QS top 200 world university rankings were released today, with no new surprises for academics, parents or students.
The QS 2014 top 11 places all went to US and English institutions. Topping the table for the third year in a row is The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). England's Cambridge was ranked joint second with The Imperial College of London, while Harvard fell two places from second in 2013 to fourth in 2014. In joint fifth place were The University of Oxford and University College London.
Switzerland held the 12th spot for the second year in a row with the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne improved from 19th in 2013 to joint 17th place this year.
UAE universities, despite a recent vote of confidence by UAE parents, do not fare well in global rankings. The highest rated university in the emirates is the United Arab Emirates university (385th), followed by the American University of Sharjah in the 390th position. Many parents in the emirate continue to send their children out of the country for tertiary studies - with price points not tallying with the rating of offerings in the emirate. The UAE was recently found to be the sixth most expensive place to study.
Top ranked Canadian universities, popular with UAE residents, were: University of Toronto in 20th place and McGill University in 21st.
The UK, also popular with UAE residents, continues to produce the goods, although Scotland, which may soon no longer be part of the United Kingdom, fares less well. The University of Edinburgh maintained its joint 17th place for a second year, but other big Scottish names fell, with Glasgow in 55th and St Andrews in 88th place.
High scorers in Asia include: University of Hong Kong in 28th place, University of Tokyo and University of Seoul in joint 31st and Koyoto University in 36th.
The biggest losers in this years ranking include The Chinese University of Hong Kong which fell from 39th place in 2013 to 46th in 2014 and the Peking University which dropped from 46th to 57.
New entries for 2014 include: University of Calgary at 171st place, in 173rd place Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Chalmers University of Technology in at 175th place,
Now in their 10th year the QS rankings focus on three main factors: reputation, academic citation and staff ratios. Although the single biggest factor in the QS league tables is academic reputation. This year, QS surveyed over 60,000 global academics to find out their opinion. Managing director of the QS, Ben Sowter said, "this means that universities with an established name and a strong brand are likely to do better."
Detractors state the emphasis on research skews results in favour of the universities with strong science departments, although the organisation maintains its rankings are relevant to all institutions. For those still unconvinced by today's QS survey, The Times Higher Education World University Rankings which place more emphasis on student experience are released next month.