World University Rankings for 2021 Released

The QS world university rankings are out!

By Daniel Gaffney

University rankings seem a bit irrelevant under the current circumstances. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most students haven’t set foot on campus since March, but are left paying for accommodation that they are no longer living in. A-levels never happened, second semester may as well have never have happened, and graduations have been postponed indefinitely. Those who will be returning to their studies in September, be it at the University of Oxford or Oxford Brookes, have ‘blended’, or ‘hybrid’ learning to look forward to.

For many students, the QS world rankings are of little importance. Class sizes, research output, academic reputation and international staff and student numbers don’t answer the important questions. Where has the best nightlife?

But the QS world rankings do provide students with one thing- bragging rights.

On meeting your old school friends in Wetherspoons (or the zoom smoking area), everyone around that table knows who went to what university, and which university sits highest in the league tables. It may mean nothing with regard to future employment, and it may never come up in conversation. But the person who goes to the highest ranking university in that group knows who they are, and everyone else knows it to.

So get your pinch of salt ready, here are the world’s top 20 universities according to the 2021 QS World Rankings:

QS World Rankings 2021

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) / USA
  2. Stanford University / USA
  3. Harvard University / USA
  4. California Institute of Technology (CalTech) / USA
  5. University of Oxford / UK
  6. ETH Zurich- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology / Switzerland
  7. University of Cambridge / UK
  8. Imperial College London / UK
  9. University of Chicago / USA
  10. UCL / UK
  11. National University of Singapore (NUS) / Singapore
  12. Princeton University / US
  13. Nanyang Technological University SIngapore (NTU) / Singapore
  14. EPFL / Switzerland
  15. Tsinghua University / China
  16. University of Pennsylvania / USA
  17. Yale University / USA
  18. Cornell University / USA
  19. Columbia University / USA
  20. The University of Edinburgh / UK

The full league table can be found at:

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The QS world university rankings are out!