The rankings focus on quality of researchSimon Lock

The University of Cambridge has jumped one place to fourth in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (AWRU), leapfrogging the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In its best result since 2009, Cambridge scored 69.6 points out of a maximum one hundred, putting it narrowly behind Berkeley, in California. Cambridge is the most highly ranked university outside of the United States, with University College London also making it into the top 20.

Historic rival the University of Oxford moved up the table to seventh, while Harvard maintained its dominant position at the top of the table, where it has been since the table was established in 2003.

Released today, the AWRU, also known as the Shanghai Ranking, is an annual publication of university rankings compiled by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.

Though less well known in the UK than the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings and the QS rankings, it is considered one of the world’s foremost ranking tables, with The Chronicle of Higher Education calling it “the best-known and most influential global ranking of universities”.

While praised for its methodology, it has drawn some criticism for focussing too much on raw research power and therefore marginalising its consideration of the humanities.

The ARWU 2016’s Top 5 Universities in the World

1) Harvard (USA)

2) Stanford (USA)

3) University of California, Berkeley (USA)

4) University of Cambridge (UK)

5) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

Earlier this year, Cambridge also came fourth in the THE world reputation rankings, which prides itself on emphasising quality of teaching. In that table, Oxford came above Cambridge at number two.

The top of the Shanghai Ranking was dominated by American universities, with a total of 15 of the top 20 being based in the USA. Universities in China and Singapore appeared in the top 100 for the first time, with China’s Tsinghua University in 58th place.

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