The Times Higher Education World University Ranking is considered to be one of the most widely observed university rankings together with the QS World University Rankings and is praised for continuously improving its methodology. In this analysis, particular emphasis is placed on rankings concerning the engineering sciences, which can be viewed on the official website of the organization.
The evaluation is essentially based on five core indicators: Industry Income, International Outlook, Research, Teaching, and Citations. In the ranking the indicators for Research and Citations receive the highest percentage weighting. The data was collected and analyzed responses among scholars, data bases, research papers, as well as citation of papers in journals. The methodology has remained the same in essence. However, slight changes were made concerning the indicator International outlook in the 2011-2012 ratings, as the proportion of research papers published by each institution that are co-authored with at least one international partner is now also looked at. In 2015, another improvement ensured that citation data from universities specializing in life sciences and engineering would not have an advantage over universities focusing on arts and humanities.
As opposed to 2015 (MIT) and 2016 (Stanford University), this year`s ratings have the California Institute of Technology in first place, which ranked 2nd in 2016. Stanford University now occupies the second place, whereas MIT has dropped to fourth place. Caltec has received very high rating points (from 99.5 to 99.7) in four out of five rating categories. The indicator for International Outlook, however, has only scored 57.5%. Compared to 2016, the overall score of Stanford University as well as MIT has dropped slightly, although some indicators have even gained percentage points (e.g. International Outlook).
Other universities in the top 10 include the University of Oxford (3rd place), the University of Cambridge (5th place), Princeton University (6th place), Imperial College London as well as the National University of Singapore ( 7th place), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (9th place) and the University of California, Berkeley (10th place). No 8th place was awarded. The University of Singapore entered the top 10 for the first time. Compared to 2016, the list of universities included in the top 10 has remained more or less the same, but their order has changed significantly in some cases (see the University of California, Berkeley, which has lost 5 places and dropped to 10th place).
In the overall rating, the universities which have improved most can be found in Asia. There, Tsinghua University of China has recently managed to enter the top 15, while Peking University features in the top 20 for the first time, experts claim that this, is due to large injections of government funding into institutions of higher education.
The number of universities represented in the ranking per country has also varied significantly over the past three years. The US, which has had the highest number of universities in the ranking for three years, has had three more universities included since 2015, even though the number of US universities temporarily dropped to 31 in 2016. The number of UK universities, on the other hand, has decreased in total as compared to 2015, but has since almost reached its former level again. It is also worth noting that a few countries including Austria, Israel and the Russian Federation did not make it into the 2017 ranking at all, despite being represented in the 2015 and 2016 lists.