London universities among the very best in Europe, new league table shows

UCL does well in new league table of European universities  (Alamy Stock Photo)
UCL does well in new league table of European universities (Alamy Stock Photo)

The UK has the most successful higher education system in Europe according to a new league table which is dominated by institutions from this country.

Seven of the top ten universities listed in a new European ranking are from the UK – including three from London.

The University of Oxford is ranked first in the inaugural QS World University Rankings for Europe, while the University of Cambridge is comes third. ETH Zurich is named in second place.

Imperial College London, University College London, and King’s College London all make it into the top ten, along with the universities of Edinburgh and Manchester.

Almost 700 universities in 42 countries were judged on global recognition, research prowess, teaching resources, internationalisation and employment outcomes.

The results show that the UK is the most successful higher education system in many categories.

UK universities produce “hugely influential research” and have an “exceptionally international” student cohort. Graduates have “outstanding career prospects.”

Ben Sowter, QS Senior Vice President, said the UK will be even more successful if universities increase student exchange programmes and produce more research.

He added that the UK’s success is “underpinned in part by the global renown of the historic Oxbridge universities and its high-impact, globally collaborative research.”

He said: “For the UK, enhancing research productivity and its student exchange programmes will drive greater success in future rankings. Meanwhile, maintaining its competitiveness and global appeal for international students will reinforce the foundation on which much of its success is built, not to mention the vast funding that such students provide, and on which the UK has come to depend.”

On the ‘academic reputation’ and ‘employer reputation’ scores, Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial are all in the top five in Europe.

The research also found that the UK produces “exceptionally high-quality” research. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh produces Europe’s most impactful research, while Imperial College London comes fifth.

But in terms of research volume, no UK university places in the European top 50.

The report said this suggests that while the UK could produce more research, its emphasis is placed on quality over quantity.

The report said the UK is also home to an exceptionally diverse student body and UK universities are also “exceptionally sustainable.”

All three of Europe’s universities with the best career prospects are in the UK – they are Oxford, Cambridge and the LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science.)

Elsewhere in Europe, German universities produce an “exceptional amount” of research while Italian universities are also “highly productive.”