The latest rankings from QS show that the UK and US are still leaders in many fields – but competition is increasing from other international players
The University of Oxford is the UK’s major winner this year. In taking four number-one positions, it is one of only three universities to record world-leading performance in more than one subject, the others being Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Over in France, the number of top-100 placements decrease from 83 in 2016 to 66 in 2017. The country faces a number of challenges, including funding issues and a seemingly-inexorable brain drain), which could explain why academics responding to our survey express, on average, reduced confidence in French institutions. The Netherlands and Germany suffer similar threats, and are seeing similar trends.
Asia’s major player, conversely, is having no such issues. China increases its overall share of places and its share of top-50 places (from 65 in 2016 to 79 in 2017). The increase is, proportionally, minor – approximately half a percentage point. But at the country level these trends become meaningful, especially when repeated over a number of years.
When it comes to top 10 places across the 46 tables, the US and UK between them still take just under two-thirds. China’s next frontier may be greater representation in the top 10.
India, though, remains some way off. Though the University of Delhi can boast the world’s 16th best development studies programme, its success is a rare oasis in what is otherwise, for India, a top-50 desert.Subject wise
Instead, India’s priority is providing an adequate supply of competitive higher education institutions for its rapidly growing young population, while also raising its research profile. This year’s tables offer some evidence of this. Twenty-eight Indian institutions are now represented across the tables – an increase from 22 in 2016’s admittedly smaller edition – and it sees its overall share of the 11,424 available places increase fractionally.
However, the scale of the task is clear for the world’s third-largest higher education system. The US, in total, has roughly four times as many degree-granting institutions as India – but over eight times as many ranked institutions in these tables (180 to India’s 22).