The only international performance tables that evaluate research-intensive universities in terms of all of their primary goals—teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international perspective—are the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Check out the complete list of the world's best universities 2024/2025 by Times Higher Education Here!

The 20th edition of the World University Rankings' methodology has undergone significant revisions this year to ensure that it accurately reflects the current and future outputs of the wide range of research-intensive universities worldwide.

Although the names of these areas have changed, the performance indicators are still divided into five categories: teaching (the learning environment); research environment (volume, income, and reputation); International outlook (staff, students, and research); Industry (income and patents); and Research quality (citation impact, research strength, research excellence, and research influence).

Learn more: Top 20 Best Universities In The US by US News and QS Ranking

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher

Top 20 Best Universities in the World 2024/25, According to Times Higher

1. University of Oxford (UK)

Location: University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2JD, United Kingdom

Situated in the picturesque city of Oxford, Oxford University is the top-ranked university globally. This university was founded at the end of the eleventh century and is well known worldwide. Here, some of the top academics in the world work as researchers and teachers. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 (THE) for 2022 ranked Oxford as the best university in the world. It has been the winner for seven years running.

There are more than 25,000 students living in Oxford. Students must obtain the best grades they can in order to study here because many people from all over the world are interested in doing so. Only 17.5% of applicants are accepted to Oxford University to pursue higher education.

More than 150 different nationalities study at the University of Oxford. At Oxford, international students make up about 30% of the student body, and they can apply for more than 200 scholarships.

Humanities, Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Physical & Life Sciences, and Social Sciences are the four academic groups that Oxford University offers undergraduate courses in. There are thirty "colleges" at the university that house and care for student groups. Located all over the city, colleges offer everything one could possibly need, including on-site laundry, a library, and dining options. Students have the option of remaining in college for the entire duration of their studies, or just the first and last years.

Oxford University boasts the largest library system in the United Kingdom, with over 100 libraries. There are many social areas and sports facilities at the university for both staff and students.

Over 3,000 students are seen annually by the large team of counselors at Oxford University. Their role is to support each and every student in their academic and personal endeavors. All sessions are free and confidential, and students are free to request a counselor of a particular gender or race.

2. Stanford University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Stanford University

Location: 450 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, California, 94305, United States

One of the most prominent universities in the world, Stanford University boasts one of the biggest campuses in the United States.

It was founded in 1885 and opened as a private, coeducational, nondenominational school six years later.

Situated in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, close to Palo Alto and less than an hour's drive south of San Francisco, the university is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit.

Silicon Valley emerged as a self-sufficient industry due to the provost's encouragement of innovation following World War II, which is where the entrepreneurial spirit originated.

The university hosted a portion of the initial network that would serve as the internet's technical backbone by 1970 and possessed a linear accelerator.

Nearly all of the university's undergraduate students reside on the 8,180-acre main campus.

Forty departments spread across three academic schools, four professional schools, and eighteen independent laboratories, centers, and institutes are housed in 700 large university buildings.

Within its student body, Stanford boasts 21 Nobel laureates and a long list of well-known alumni from the fields of technology, business, politics, media, and athletics.

Herbert Hoover, the thirty-first president of the United States, graduated from Stanford University's first class in 1895 with a degree in geology. Stanford is currently among the top universities producing members of the US Congress.

Thirteen billionaires in the making, seventeen astronauts, eighteen Turing Award winners, and two Fields Medallists are among the alumni.

Over $2.7 trillion in revenue is generated annually by companies founded by Stanford alumni and affiliates, making it the tenth largest economy in the world. Nike, Netflix, Sun Microsystems, HP, Instagram, Snapchat, PayPal, and Yahoo are a few of these businesses.

Stanford awarded Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, an undergraduate physics degree in 1973. She launched herself into space a mere ten years later.

The university set itself a goal to raise over $4 billion in the five years before 2012. The campaign's fundraising goal was surpassed, and a total of $6.2 billion was raised. This money will be utilized for 38 new or existing campus buildings, graduate research fellowships and scholarships, and additional faculty appointments.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139-4307, United States

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private, coeducational, independent research university.

"Further knowledge and prepare students in science, technology and other fields of study that will best benefit the nation and the world today" is the stated mission of MIT, which was founded in 1861. Mens et Manus, which roughly translates to "Mind and Hand," is its motto.

In addition to 45 MacArthur Fellows, 58 National Medal of Science winners, 29 National Medal of Technology and Innovation winners, and 85 Nobel Laureates, the university can boast these accomplishments. Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations, is one of its distinguished alumni.

The first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the creation of radar, the discovery of quarks, and the development of magnetic core memory—which made it possible to create digital computers—are just a few of the scientific and technological advancements attributed to MIT.

Currently, MIT is divided into five schools: engineering, humanities, management and science, arts and social sciences, and architecture and planning.

In addition to more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, it is home to about 1,000 faculty members. Among the many current research topics at MIT are digital learning, big data, sustainable energy, human health, and much more.

Apart from prioritizing innovation and entrepreneurship, MIT also features a vibrant and diverse campus community, home to a diverse range of student organizations. Spread across 168 acres in Cambridge, the campus is home to more than 100 public works of art in addition to 18 student residences, 26 acres of playing fields, 20 gardens, and green spaces.

According to MIT estimates, its living alumni have started over 30,000 active businesses, produced 4.6 million jobs, and brought in about $1.9 trillion annually.

They claim that when combined, this "MIT Nation" is equal to the tenth-largest economy in the world.

4. Harvard University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Harvard University New Building

Location: Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, United States

Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1636, Harvard University holds the distinction of being the first college in the American colonies.

Harvard University was founded by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony through a vote. Over the course of nearly four centuries, the university has worked to create a community of students and faculty that is diverse in terms of backgrounds, cultures, identities, races, life experiences, beliefs, perspectives, and values.

Harvard University maintains operational campuses in the Boston, Massachusetts neighborhoods of Allston and Longwood in addition to its main campus in Cambridge.

At Harvard University, students have two options: they can concentrate in liberal arts during their undergraduate studies, or they can enroll in one of the 12 graduate or professional schools to continue the university's tradition of groundbreaking research and influential scholarship.

3 Life Lessons from Harvard University President 3 Life Lessons from Harvard University President's Speech

5. University of Cambridge (UK)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Cambridge University

Location: The Old Schools, Trinity Lane, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 1TN, United Kingdom

Among the greatest and oldest universities in the world is the University of Cambridge. Since its founding in 1209, it has grown to rank among the world's most esteemed universities.

The university has 150 departments, faculties, and schools in addition to 31 colleges. There is a rich history associated with many of the university's structures, such as the well-known King's College Chapel and two chapels created by Christopher Wren. A few have endured for over 800 years.

One of the top 10 universities in the world has always been Cambridge. According to the QS World University Rankings in 2022, it ranked second globally, while the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed it at number three. Approximately 40% of the more than 24,000 students enrolled here are from abroad. Admission to this university is highly competitive; in 2020, more than 20,000 applicants vied for 4,000 undergraduate spots.

Cambridge University offers financial aid to international undergraduate students. Both the university and the Cambridge Commonwealth and European and International Trust provide awards to students from other countries.

Twenty percent of the town's residents are Cambridge students, and the majority of the older colleges are located close to the city center. The university has more than 100 libraries with a combined volume of over 15 million books.

Cambridge University provides assistance to overseas students. The university counseling service provides free, private support to help students deal with life's challenges and academic obligations.

Numerous well-known figures and esteemed scholars, such as 121 Nobel laureates, 47 heads of state, and 210 Olympic medalists, have graduated from Cambridge. Eighty-one percent of graduates in Cambridge find jobs within a year of graduating from university, indicating a high rate of employment.

Top 15 Oldest University Campuses in the United States Top 15 Oldest University Campuses in the United States

6. Princeton University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Princeton University

Location: Princeton, New Jersey, 08544, United States

One of the most distinguished universities in the world, Princeton is also one of the oldest in the United States.

Originally called the College of New Jersey when it was founded in 1746, it officially changed its name to Princeton University in 1896 to honor the city where it is located. It opened its renowned graduate program in 1900.

The Ivy League university, which is renowned for its dedication to education, allows all of its undergraduate students to live on campus during their four years of study. 98 percent of undergraduates attend this institution.

Less than 10,000 students enrol in the school overall, with 12% of undergraduates being international students.

With ties to over 40 Nobel laureates, 17 National Medal of Science winners, and five National Humanities Medal winners, Princeton is also one of the top research universities in the world.

The chemists Tomas Lindahl and Osamu Shimomura, the economists Paul Krugman and Angus Deaton, and the physicists Arthur McDonald and David Gross are among the faculty members who have received Nobel prizes recently.

The physicists Richard Feynman and Robert Hofstadter, as well as the chemists Richard Smalley and Edwin McMillan, are notable alumni who have received Nobel prizes.

Two US presidents, Woodrow Wilson and James Madison, both attended Princeton and served as the institution's president before going into the White House. Michelle Obama, actors Jimmy Stewart and Brooke Shields, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and astronaut Pete Conrad are among the other notable alums.

Princeton, which is frequently rated in the top 20 universities in the world, is well-known for both the park-like setting of its campus and some of its iconic structures, which were created by some of the most well-known architects in the country. For example, Frank Gehry designed the Lewis Library, which houses many of the university's scientific collections. A Tony Award for best regional theater in the nation has been given to its McCarter Theatre Center.

The Princeton campus, which spans 500 acres, is home to 180 buildings, including 10 libraries with a combined total of 14 million holdings. About 800,000 people visit its open campus annually, bringing in about $2 billion in revenue, demonstrating its popularity with tourists.

With 30,000 or so residents, the Princeton area is also somewhat of a destination in and of itself, drawing many with its tree-lined streets and diverse selection of eateries, retail establishments, and parks.

The "Dinky" shuttle train runs frequently, every hour or so, between New York City and Philadelphia, making it easy to travel to and from the university from both locations. Numerous student outings to plays, concerts, and sporting events in the two cities are frequently funded by Princeton.

7. California Institute of Technology (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
California Institute of Technology

Location: 1200 East California Boulevard, Pasadena, California, 91125, United States

California Institute of Technology was founded in 1891 and is located in California. There are about 2,100 students enrolled in total.

The university's study programs are organized into several divisions, including Interdisciplinary programs, Engineering and Applied Science, Geological and Planetary Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. All first-year graduate students and all undergraduate students are guaranteed housing on campus by the Housing Office.

Learn More: Top 40 U.S Best Scholarships for International Students 2024/2025

8. Imperial College London (UK)

Location: South Kensington Road, Kensington, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom

For many years, Imperial has been regarded as one of the top universities in the world. It is well-known throughout the world for its numerous well-regarded study programs and highly regarded courses, and it assures all of its students of a fantastic educational experience with professional academics and first-rate facilities and amenities.

Imperial is big, vibrant, and provides students with a wide range of learning opportunities. It has nine campus locations spread throughout London and the UK county of Berkshire. Over 12,000 international students from more than 130 countries make up the large student body. From the time of application until after graduation, everyone is made to feel welcome and receives first-rate support services. Additionally, Imperial offers several excellent scholarships to international students to help lower their tuition and expenses.

Students at Imperial have access to cutting-edge resources and equipment. They have quiet, concentrated workspaces for work and study thanks to the research centers, lecture halls, and libraries. All classes are taught by Imperial tutors and lecturers, who maintain high standards and provide an engaging, modern learning environment. Students can be sure they're learning from the best of the best because a large number of the faculty members are award winners and top researchers in their fields.

With a focus on science, engineering, business, and medicine, Imperial University is a great choice for dedicated students seeking a top-notch education at a reputable university with strong industry ties. More precisely, an academic experience that can easily lead to graduate job prospects and professional success.

Students at Imperial are never far from all of the amenities and options available in the nation's capital because of its proximity to London. This includes a plethora of extracurricular activities and fantastic internship opportunities. Imperial is the only option for London student life and academic excellence at a level that is extremely difficult to match.

9. University of California, Berkeley (USA)

Location: 110 Sproul Hall, Berkeley, California, 94704, United States

One of the most prominent state universities in the United States is the public research University of California, Berkeley. Founded in 1868, it is a part of the University of California System.

The state constitution envisioned Berkeley as a university that would "contribute even more than California's gold to the glory and happiness of advancing generations," which led to the establishment of the university.

The colors blue and gold were selected for Berkeley in 1873; blue stood for the California sky and ocean as well as the Yale graduates who assisted in the founding of the university, and gold for the "Golden State" of California.

The university, which has 10,000 postgraduate students and about 27,000 undergraduate students, is situated in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

Professors at Berkeley have received 19 Nobel Prizes, the most in economics, chemistry, and physics. Recent winners include George Akerlof, who won the 2001 Prize for Economics for showing how markets break down when buyers and sellers have access to different information, and Saul Perlmutter, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for heading a team that discovered the universe's accelerating expansion, suggesting the existence of a form of dark energy that comprises 75% of the universe.

Prominent alums include writer and journalist Jack London, Oscar-winning actor Gregory Peck, author Joan Didion, former Pakistani president and prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and US football player Alex Morgan, who won the women's World Cup.

Berkeley is known for being a hub for political activism. The campus served as a focal point for student demonstrations against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s.

Among the attractions on campus are the university's sports teams' 60,000-seat California Memorial Stadium and the Botanic Garden, which opened its doors in 1890.

10. Yale University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut, 06520, United States

The third-oldest university in the United States, Yale University is a private research university in the Ivy League.

Yale was first established as the Collegiate School in Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1701; fifteen years later, it relocated to New Haven.

In honor of Welsh benefactor Elihu Yale, it was renamed Yale College in 1718. In 1861, it became the first university in the United States to grant a PhD.

The 260 acres of Yale's main campus in New Haven are home to structures that date back to the middle of the eighteenth century.

The university consists of fourteen schools. Prior to selecting a departmental major, students study humanities and arts, sciences, and social sciences as part of a liberal arts curriculum. In addition, writing techniques, mathematical reasoning, and foreign languages are taught to the students.

Yale students live in residential colleges modeled after the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which is unusual for the US. There are currently twelve historic colleges, and in 2014 work on two more began.

More than half of all undergraduates receive grants or scholarships from the university, and about one in five students are from outside the country.

Yale is the second wealthiest university in the world, with an endowment exceeding $25 billion (£17.3 billion), and the third largest library in the United States, with over 15 million volumes.

"Bulldogs" are the nickname for Yale students and sports teams. Numerous Yale alums have achieved notable success in the fields of politics, the arts, and science.

William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush are the five US presidents who attended Yale; four of its alumni signed the Declaration of Independence. Paul Krugman, an economist, is among the twenty Yale alumnus who have won Nobel prizes; thirty-two have won Pulitzer Prizes.

Hollywood star Meryl Streep and US secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are among the other illustrious alumni.

The Sterling Memorial Library, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library are just a few of the well-known structures on the Yale campus.

Approximately 130,000 people live in the city of New Haven, which is 1.5 hours north of New York and 2.5 hours south of Boston. It is close to beaches, hiking trails, and historical sites and features a large number of stores, museums, and restaurants.


The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
ETH Zürich

Location: Rämistrasse 101, Zürich, 8092, Switzerland

ETH Zurich was first founded as the Federal Polytechnic School in 1855, and after 150 years, it has grown to become one of the most prestigious scientific and technological universities in the world.

More than 20 Nobel Prize winners have come from the institute, including Albert Einstein, the creator of the general theory of relativity and the father of modern physics.

The university, also referred to as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, or Poly for short, has built its reputation on the traditional values of freedom, personal accountability, entrepreneurship, and an open-minded approach to education that are valued in Switzerland. It continues to be a leader in European research, attempting to provide workable answers to global problems.

With 16 departments conducting excellent interdisciplinary academic research in fields from biology and architecture to chemistry and physics, the university has a significant impact on the global science and technology sector.

In order to accomplish this, ETH Zurich greatly depends on its solid relationships with academics, international collaborators, and important stakeholders who also fund its state-of-the-art research.

ETH Zurich is situated in Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland. Its main campus, which is modern and well-endowed, was constructed on the outskirts of the town.

Along with the opportunity to attend frequent exhibitions and concerts, students pursuing an intensive academic program can also take advantage of the many academic events hosted on campus, which serve as a gathering place for some of Europe's top scientists.

University students have been able to dance to the sounds of a live orchestra and well-known national singers at Polyball, a classic ball event, since the 1880s.

12. Tsinghua University (China)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Tsinghua University

Location: 1 Qinqhuayuan, Beijing, Hebei Province, 100084, China

Renowned in China and worldwide, Tsinghua University (TSU) is among the top universities in the world. Since its founding in 1911 in Beijing, it has provided students with an excellent education as well as a wonderful overall experience of college life. At TSU, even more than a century later, students can be confident they'll be ready for a bright future thanks to outstanding employability services and gifted, enthusiastic tutors.

TSU is frequently listed as one of the top 20 universities worldwide and as the best university in China. It is well-known worldwide for its courses, particularly in science and engineering. Each year, TSU welcomes over 5,000 international students who can pursue non-degree programs, undergraduate degree programs, or postgraduate degree programs. These students can receive an excellent education in either Chinese or English.

Among the top universities in the world is TSU. Numerous organizations' rankings attest to this indisputable fact. TSU is ranked as the sixteenth best university in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022. TSU is ranked as the 14th best university in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2023. TSU's teaching quality is evident with such high rankings and an 88.1 percent teaching rating.

A few TSU courses are well-known and regarded internationally, such as its computer science and engineering programs, which were both ranked #1 in the world in 2020. Chemistry came in seventh place, and materials science in sixth. Each and every one of the available programs, including these ones, is taught to the highest standards.

Along with multiple other honors, TSU took home the Grand Prize in the Chinese Ministry of Education's Outstanding Achievement Award for Research in Institutes of Higher Education in 2019. On campus, TSU instructors provide students with the knowledge and resources they need to complete significant research projects and perform their best work in labs, study spaces, and classrooms. The university is a hub for innovation and creativity, and it maintains partnerships with nearly 300 other universities worldwide.

TSU offers some of the best support available to international students. With more than 500 courses offered in English, a broader global audience can take advantage of them. In actuality, TSU is among the most accessible universities in China for this reason as well as a few more.

Although English is the second language of instruction offered at TSU, most international applicants choose to take advantage of these courses. The majority of instruction at TSU is conducted in Chinese. More than five hundred of the university's programs, including eight doctorate programs and twenty-one master's degree programs, are offered entirely in English.

Applicants for these courses must demonstrate that they can speak English at a minimum proficiency level.


International undergraduate and graduate students can apply for financial aid at TSU. The Chinese government provides financial assistance to students in certain forms, while direct university scholarships are provided in others. Every award and scholarship has a different application procedure and set of prerequisites, so applicants should thoroughly investigate all of their options to ascertain their eligibility and familiarize themselves with the requirements.

For overseas students, the Chinese Government Scholarship is among the greatest choices. A full scholarship or a partial scholarship is available. The entire scholarship pays for tuition, living expenses while living on campus, a monthly stipend, and health insurance. One or more of the same elements may be covered by the partial scholarship. If the student continues to fulfill all of the scholarship requirements (such as maintaining good academic standing), both scholarships are renewable each year.

The university offers three scholarships for tuition. In collaboration with the Beijing government, two of them are available: the Beijing Government Belt and Road Scholarship and the Beijing Government Scholarship. The TSU University Tuition Scholarship comes in third.

Learn more: Top 30 Best International Scholarships From Top World's Universities

13. The University of Chicago (USA)

Location: Edward H. Levi Hall, 5801 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60637, United States

With the issuance of its official certificate of incorporation by the state of Illinois in September 1890, the University of Chicago came into existence in the latter part of the 19th century. Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller contributed $600,000 toward the university's founding, and Marshall Field, the owner of a nearby department store, gave land. The first president of the university envisioned a "bran splinter new" university that was "as solid as the ancient hills"—a contemporary research university dedicated to non-sectarianism and equal opportunities.

Encapsulated in its motto, Crescat scientia; vita excolatur, or "Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched," this vision has been the driving force behind Chicago's existence. The university has upheld its reputation by leading significant scholarly research and discovery. It is linked to nine Fields Medallists, thirty National Medal winners (in the humanities, arts, and sciences), and over eighty Nobel laureates. Additionally, it has received almost 50 MacArthur "genius grants."

The economists Robert E. Lucas (1995), James J. Heckman (2000), Roger Myerson (2007), Lars Peter Hansen (2013), Eugene Fama (2013), and physicist James Cronin (1980) are among the current faculty members who have received Nobel prizes while working at Chicago. The first Vietnamese recipient of the Fields Medal (2010), Ngô Bao Châu is the Francis and Rose Yuen distinguished service professor in the mathematics department at the University of Chicago.

Authors Saul Bellow and Susan Sontag, astronomer Edwin Hubble, film critic Roger Ebert, and Indiana Jones—everyone's favorite celluloid scholar and archaeologist—are among the famous Chicago alums who also taught there.

Chicago's academic standing among the best in the world is well-established, but its athletic prowess is equally impressive. It was one of the original members of the oldest and most prestigious intercollegiate athletics conference in the United States, the Big Ten Conference. Currently, the university supports 19 intercollegiate sports with 330 competitions annually and over 500 participants. The university was given the moniker "the Maroons" because of its official color, and that is what they all play under.

Situated south of downtown Chicago, in the neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Woodlawn, is the university's expansive campus spanning over 210 acres. Its initial structures were modeled after the University of Oxford's Gothic architecture, but by the middle of the 20th century, new and old had started to coexist. From the Mitchell Tower and Robie House, the historic home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, to the Laird Bell Law Quadrangle, it now combines a blend of classical and modern architecture.

The university's "laboratory, playground, and muse" is the city of Chicago itself, with downtown's highlights including dining options, retail establishments, and cultural attractions. You could visit the Art Institute of Chicago, the Navy Pier amusement park, and the Magnificent Mile shopping district in a single day.

UChicago has established itself as an international university by expanding its presence beyond the borders of the US with satellite campuses and facilities abroad. Prospective students are encouraged to "walk along the paths of Nobel laureates, pathbreaking researchers, and tomorrow's leaders" by entering the building.

14. Peking University (China)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Peking University

Location: No.5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100871, China

Peking University is frequently ranked among the best universities in China and is a member of the C9 League, which is comparable to the Ivy League in the United States. Only the top scorers in national exams are accepted; there are roughly 35,000 students enrolled overall.

The old imperial academy, which had taught administrators for China's civil service for hundreds of years, was superseded by the then Imperial University of Peking, which opened its doors in 1898 as the country's first comprehensive national university.

The university adopted its current name in 1912, the year China became a republic. Its 274-hectare campus, also referred to as "Yan Yuan" or "the garden of Yan," is located in Beijing's Haidian District, close to the well-known Yuanmingyuan Garden and Summer Palace.

Mao Zedong became a communist after reading Marxist literature for the first time while holding a minor position at the university in 1918. There, renowned author Lu Xun gave lectures on Chinese literature as well.

Later, the university had to relocate to Changsha and then Kunming due to the Second Sino-Japanese War.

After the communist revolution, the university began to take on a more public rather than a national character; however, it was forced to close for four years as a result of the cultural revolution.

When three thousand of its students and those from nearby Tsinghua University built shrines to Hu Yaobang in 1989 and then assembled in Tiananmen Square for a large-scale demonstration, the university was instrumental in the country's protests.

The university maintains that it has kept its traditional emphasis on science, progress, and patriotism and has been instrumental in China's modernization.

53 members of the esteemed Chinese Academy of Sciences and seven members of the corresponding academy of engineering comprise the faculty. In 2000, Peking and Beijing Medical University merged, bringing a plethora of new medical specialties and courses.

15. Johns Hopkins University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, Maryland, 21218, United States

After 130 years of establishment in 1876, Johns Hopkins is still a global leader in research and teaching.

There are nine campuses and academic divisions of the university spread out across the Baltimore-Washington region. Prominent academics at JHU guide bright students pursuing careers in the humanities, engineering, social and natural sciences, education, business, international studies, music, and the arts.

The declared goals of Johns Hopkins are to educate its students and develop their capacity for lifelong learning, to support independent and creative research, and to spread the advantages of discovery throughout society.

16. University of Pennsylvania (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
University of Pennsylvania

Location: 3451 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104, United States

Not surprisingly, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) claims to be the first fully fledged (multi-faculty) "university" in the United States, considering it was one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities and one of the nine original Colonial Colleges, institutions founded prior to the US becoming a sovereign nation following the American Revolution.

Penn's history began in 1740, but it wasn't until 1749 that Benjamin Franklin published his well-known essay, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth, distributed it to notable Philadelphians, and assembled 24 trustees to establish an institution of higher learning based on his recommendations. Thirty years later, Penn was made an official university. Since then, Penn has grown into a vast campus spanning 302 acres, home to 200 buildings. Its campus is home to numerous noteworthy "first" landmarks, such as The Wharton School, the first collegiate business school in the world, and the nation's first student union and double-decker college football stadium.

Penn's abilities extend beyond infrastructure. The university boasts a long list of accomplished former students from various fields. In addition to having accounted for multiple heads of state, Penn is associated with over 25 Nobel Laureates, including economist Lawrence Klein and physicist Raymond Davis Jr. William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, graduated from Penn in 1791. Former Nigerian president Nnamdi Azikiwe and former Ghanaian prime minister Kwame Nkrumah also received multiple degrees from the university. Distinguished modernist poets and friends Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams are two of the university's literary alumni.

17. Columbia University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Columbia University

Location: 116th and Broadway, New York, 10027, United States

Founded as Kings College in 1754, Columbia University is located in New York. The university has two main campuses: one in Washington Heights and one in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. It is run by thirteen graduate and professional schools, one school of continuing education, and three undergraduate schools.

In the domains of science, medicine, the arts, and the humanities, research is done. The arts and sciences, business, medicine, journalism, social work, law, nursing, and public health are among the fields in which academic programs are offered.

18. University of California, Los Angeles (USA)

Location: 405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, California, 90095, United States

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a small campus that fosters a sense of community while also providing opportunities for research, education, and discovery.

230 undergraduate and graduate majors are offered by the campus's renowned faculty, with over two dozen academic programs ranking among the top 20 in their respective fields. Every year, the faculty offer over 5,000 courses, with fewer than 30 students enrolled in two-thirds of the undergraduate courses.

The academic journey of numerous first-year students commences with a year-long Cluster Course, which involves a collaborative investigation of a demanding multidisciplinary subject.

Furthermore, there are 200 Fiat Lux Seminars available, with a priority enrollment period for freshmen, and instruction by senior faculty in small groups. More than half of UCLA graduates have research experience in the humanities, social sciences, or STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Undergraduate research projects are available as early as the freshman year.

UCLA also promotes study abroad, with over 2,400 students participating in more than 275 programs across 39 nations each year.

Another essential component of UCLA's undergraduate curriculum is community service. Students can get involved through events hosted by the Volunteer Center, which hosts over 220 student organizations that volunteer in the community, and Volunteer Day, which unites 8,000 volunteers from UCLA each year.

With 1,000 student organizations at UCLA, students have plenty of opportunities to pursue interests and projects with other students when they're not in the classroom. Leading research institutes, premier performing arts programs, a top Division I athletics program, and the best hospital in the West are all located at UCLA.

19. National University of Singapore (NUS)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
National University of Singapore

Location: 21 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore, 119077, Singapore


Situated in the heart of Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is a preeminent global provider of higher education, with a broad selection of bachelor's and graduate programs. This university is well known for its comprehensive, results-oriented teaching methodology and for its emphasis on research.

As the top university in Asia and the eleventh best in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2022, it is among the best universities in the world.

The university benefits from its location in the center of Singapore, one of the global centers of industry and technology. Numerous courses offered by the university are created in partnership with pertinent industry players, giving students the chance to gain practical experience in the workplace while they study and equip themselves with marketable skills.

NUS offers its courses from a state-of-the-art campus that places a strong emphasis on technological innovation and sustainability. Luxurious green areas envelop and link top-notch research facilities and lecture halls.

Students at the university will be able to take advantage of a vibrant city lifestyle that blends a rich history with contemporary urban planning, effective transportation, and an ideal subtropical climate in Singapore, one of the most livable cities in the world.

NUS is a great option for students seeking an internationally competitive university degree and a distinctive student lifestyle.

20. Cornell University (USA)

The World's Top 20 Best Universities by Times Higher Rankings 2024/25
Cornell University

Location: 116th and Broadway, New York, 10027, United States

Founded in 1865 and situated in Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a private, endowed university that belongs to the Ivy League/Ancient Eight.

The university has 20,833 enrolled students. It grants J.D., M.D., D.V.M., master's, doctoral, and bachelor's degrees. In addition to its four graduate and professional units and seven undergraduate units located in Ithaca, Cornell University also maintains two graduate and professional medical units in New York City and one in Doha, Qatar.

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