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Imperial College rises as Oxford and Cambridge lose top UK spot on global list

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Imperial College London has been placed higher than the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in a prestigious global ranking system.

ICL rose from sixth to second place, ending years of Oxbridge dominance at the top of the QS World University Rankings.

Cambridge fell from second to fifth place while Oxford remains in third place in the global rankings for 2025.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US kept top spot in the rankings.

“Imperial’s ranking is a testament to the quality and commitment of our entire community,” said Prof Hugh Brady, president of ICL.

“It is inspiring to see our students, staff and partners come together every day to interrogate the forces that shape our world and address the challenges facing humanity and our planet.”

Four British universities made it to the top 10, with University College London keeping ninth position.

It is the first time that neither Oxford nor Cambridge has taken the top spot among the UK universities since the global rankings began 20 years ago.

In 2014, Imperial and Cambridge came in joint second place, but this year ICL stands alone in that position for the first time.

The QS rankings said Imperial’s improved position in the table is due to its research performance, employability scores and sustainability commitment.

“In the decade since Imperial College London was last crowned the United Kingdom’s leading university, the country’s sector has relentlessly continued to achieve world-leading performances despite the turbulence the country has faced, producing world-leading research and remaining one of the globe’s premier study destinations,” QS chief executive Jessica Turner said.

“However, this year’s results suggest that British higher education has limited capacity remaining to continue excelling in the face of funding shortages, drops in student applications and ambiguity about the status of international students.”

This year, of the 90 British universities ranked by QS, 20 improved their position from last year.

But nearly 52 of them have seen their positions drop in the new table, while 18 have remained stable.

Updated: June 04, 2024, 11:12 PM

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