QS World University Rankings for 2021 released

The world university rankings were released by the Times Higher Educaiton for the year 2021. The release of this pandemic came amidst a coronavirus pandemic that has seen universities shut down as a way of curbing the spread of the virus.

The recent rankings had no surprises at the top with the US and the UK dominating the top 10. Oxford University remained the top university this year, extending its run to a 5-year streak at the top position. It was followed by eight other universities from the US and one from the UK.

Top 10 world University rankings

  1. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  2. Stanford University (United States)
  3. Harvard University (United States)
  4. California Institute of Technology (United States)
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
  6. The University of Cambridge (United Kingdom
  7. The University of California, Berkeley (United States)
  8. Yale University (United States)
  9. Princeton University (United States)
  10. The University of Chicago (United States)

This year, however, has seen universities from Asia become much more competitive, replacing the universities from the US, UK and Australia among the top 300 global universities.

Contextualizing how this year has unfolded and how it has affected the universities, it is no surprise that the universities from Asia were doing better according to this ranking than their counterparts in the US and the UK. This is partly due to the way these countries responded to the threat of a pandemic. For the US and the UK, the coronavirus handling meant that universities had to close for months, which has severely affected universities ranked between 100 to 300.

China’s rise as an economic power hub in the Asian region has also increased competitiveness, both within the borders and the region. Tsinghua University, for instance, has become one of the fastest-growing universities in the world, with rankings improving year by year.

The criteria for world university rankings, however, can have a case made against it. Universities, especially those ranked from 100 to 1000, use these rankings for self-marketing. Data also shows that they dedicate a sizable part of their resources in trying to beat the system and rank higher, which in turn means they can get more students applying in them.


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