MASSACHUSETTS Institute of Technology has overtaken Cambridge as the world's top university, according to QS' 2012 rankings. MIT has replaced Cambridge as the world's number one university, according to the 2012 QS World University Rankings. MIT has overtaken the University of Cambridge to top the 2012 edition of the QS World University Rankings.
Cambridge slipped to second, ahead of Harvard in third, University College London (UCL), fourth, and Oxford, fifth.
MIT, which tops the list for the first time, came first in 11 out of 28 subject tables published by QS in June.
A sharp increase in the proportion of foreign academics on its staff—a measure on which MIT has scored relatively poorly in the past - tipped the balance in its favour in the overall league table
QS rank institutions based on an overall score calculated using ratings for six criteria—academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty-to-student ratio, international proportion of faculty and international proportion of students. All scores are out of 100.
MIT was not ranked first in any of the six categories, but had four scores in the top 20. Cambridge and Oxford placed second for academic reputation and employer reputation respectively, with both beaten to first place by Harvard.
30 UK universities were ranked among the top 200 overall. Only the US, with 54, had more.
Despite representation high up the rankings, British universities were beaten by those of seven other countries in terms of the average score for academic reputation.
Australian universities scored highest for this criterion, achieving an average of 92. UK institutions fared better for employer reputation, where their average score of 76.8 was second only to Australia's 86.4.
UK institutions placed, on average, fourth for international faculty and third for international students. China and Japan occupied the two lowest places in both instances.