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Top universities in the world 2023

By Craig O

Updated June 9, 2022 Updated June 9, 2022

The QS World University Rankings 2023 has been released, featuring over 1,400 universities from around the world. Our biggest ever university rankings, this year’s table covers 100 study destinations with the US, UK and mainland China the most-represented. 

If you’re at the start of your university research, a global ranking like ours can be an easy way to begin building a shortlist of institutions. It’s also worth cross-referring this ranking with our QS World University Rankings by Subject, which will provide more detail on how each university scores for its teaching in particular subjects and subject areas. 

What are the top universities in the world? 

QS World University Rankings 2023: Top global universities
Rank University Location
1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 Stanford University United States
4 University of Oxford United Kingdom
5 Harvard University United States
=6 California Institute of Technology (Caltech) United States
=6 Imperial College London United Kingdom
8 UCL United Kingdom
9 ETH Zurich Switzerland
10 University of Chicago United States
11 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore
12 Peking University Mainland China
13 University of Pennsylvania United States
14 Tsinghua University Mainland China
15 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
=16 EPFL Switzerland
=16 Princeton University United States
18 Yale University United States
19 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore
20 Cornell University United States

For the 11th year in a row, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) remains the world’s number one university by our metrics. The University of Cambridge has climbed above the University of Oxford to now be the top university in the UK, while Stanford University and Harvard University have retained their position from last year.  

While there are no new entrants in this year’s top 10, Cornell University has climbed back into the world’s top 20, having fallen out last year. Peking University continues to climb the rankings having risen from 38th five years ago to now be ranked 12th. 

What’s it like to study at MIT? 

MIT is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a university town of under 150,000 inhabitants. This town is also home to Harvard University – making it one of the world’s most prestigious hubs of academic tuition and research.  

Cambridge is close to Boston, one of the most culturally vibrant and historic cities in the Northeast US. International students account for around 29 percent of enrolments at MIT.   

MIT offers some of the most generous financial aid packages among US universities – with around 38 percent of its undergraduates receiving scholarships or grants equal to or greater than the cost of their tuition, with 26 percent of students graduating debt-free.   

MIT is also one of a handful of elite US institutions which offer need-blind admission for all undergraduate candidates, including those from outside the US. This means students’ ability to pay is not considered during the application process, and, once a place has been offered, the university pledges to contribute enough to make attendance possible. 

Learn more about studying in the US

What’s changed in this year’s ranking? 

This year’s ranking features two new indicators - International Research Network and Employment Outcomes. 

These are both unweighted this year, which means they don’t affect the overall score or rank of a university. Instead, they have been included so QS can gather feedback from institutions ahead of fully including them within the ranking in next year’s methodology.  

This article was originally published in June 2022 .

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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