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A guide to the Best Universities in the World

Updated: Jun 25, 2022

The road to becoming a university student can be a daunting one; with so many highly-rated universities to choose from and so many aspects to consider, there is a lot to weigh up - and this is made all the more complicated if you’re contemplating studying abroad.

There are a range of specific, quantitative criteria by which to measure an international university, including research, student experience, connections to industry, and graduate employability to name just a few. However, there are also more subjective measures - such as the culture, the language, and the lifestyle that you wish to pursue as a student.

To help cut through the difficulties of weighing up your options, we have given you a helping hand by guiding you through some of the best universities in the world according to a leading, trusted comparison.

First things first, why is it important to choose a leading university?

Why is it important to choose the right university?

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential future employer for a moment… when you see the name of that well-known and well-respected university on the CV on your desk in front of you, what do you instantly know about the candidate in front of you?

They have a good work ethic - they must have if they got into that university. They have well-developed problem-solving skills - they must have if they attended that university. They have the ability to clearly communicate, present and work successfully in a team - they must have if they graduated from that university.

By attending a highly-regarded university, you immediately put yourself at the font of the pack, raising your employability prospects, and, as a result, increasing your earning potential, too.

In addition to the reputation and standing of an institution, it is also vital to consider whether you are going to be happy at any given school. While this is an entirely subjective consideration, it is still absolutely imperative before arriving at your final decision.

What makes a university great, and which universities are the best in the world?

Thankfully the QS World University Rankings (QSWUR) have done all the hard work for us, by appraising an incredible 1,300 universities around the globe, and evaluating them according to six simple metrics:

1. Academic Reputation

2. Employer Reputation

3. Faculty/Student Ratio

4. Citations per Faculty

5. International Faculty Ratio, and

6. International Student Ratio.

Let us consider QS' rankings by continent, to help filter their findings by geography:

The best universities in Europe

Europe has a deep and rich history in the field of higher education. After all, the very first university was founded in Europe - in Bologna, Italy - in the year 1088. And the academic legacy of this continent has continued to the modern day.

In fact, the QS World University Rankings 2022 have named six European universities in their top 20 global ranking. What's more, two UK universities among the top 5 in the world, with the University of Oxford in second place and the University of Cambridge in joint third.

Other European universities within the top 20 global list include:

  • Imperial College London (UK)

  • ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

  • EPFL (Switzerland)

  • UCL (UK) and

  • The University of Edinburgh (UK).

With 25% of the top 20 list being UK universities, it certainly makes the UK an appealing place to study, however Europe as a continent fairs extremely well.

The best universities in the Americas

The top 20 list is also peppered with universities from the USA, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the top spot, followed by Stanford University in joint third, Harvard University in 5th place, and California Institute of Technology in 6th.

The following American universities also rank in the global top 20:

  • University of Chicago

  • University of Pennsylvania

  • Yale University, and

  • Columbia University.

Therefore, the United States boasts the highest number of leading academic institutions according to the QS global rankings in 2022, making it a very appealing - if not expensive - option for any international student's consideration.

The best universities in APAC

The QSWUR 2022 evaluations placed a number of Asian institutions in its top 20 ranking in 2022.

The National University of Singapore (Singapore), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Tsinghua University (China), and Peking University (China) all sit between the 11th and 20th rankings in the world according to QS.

While Asia isn't always so visible in the global international higher education market, it is clearly emerging as a strong power as a continent in this space.

How to choose the right university for you

When faced with such a competitive array of universities, it can seem an overwhelming task to select the right one for you. However, it is likely that most students have an idea of the geography in which they wish to study - be it a continent or a country.

From this article, we can see that every continent has leading universities to offer - however, the US and the UK arguably offer the most leading universities per country (which perhaps isn't surprising.)

If you would like to find out more about studying in the UK, why not join our residential and / or online courses?

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