Cambridge Falls to Lowest Ever Place in University Rankings

The university was ranked seventh- a historic low

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In the 2020 QS World University Rankings, Cambridge was ranked in seventh place, slipping down the table for the third year running. The University has moved down considerably since 2014, when it was ranked second.

This places Cambridge behind Oxford, who have moved from fifth to fourth place in the league this year. Unlike Cambridge, Oxford are persistently on the rise in the table, having overtook Cambridge for the first time ever last year.

The top three Universities for 2019-20 were ranked as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, and Harvard University.

Cambridge’s overall score in the table was 95/100, whilst Oxford received 97.2/100 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ranked first) received 100/100.

Cambridge’s decline in position is reportedly due to declining research performance, which is measured by citations per member of academic staff. The University has apparently shifted its focus to be more on the teaching aspect of academia.

Cambridge’s fall is part of a wider trend in the UK. Two-thirds of the 84 UK universities in the top 1,000 have seen their rankings fall this year. In fact, besides Oxford, only 11 UK universities have improved their position. This includes UCL, which is now in eighth place (only one behind Cambridge).

The methodology for the QS world rankings is based on employer and academic reputation, class sizes, research output and international staff and students numbers.

It is one of the most prestigious international university league tables, which are becoming increasingly popular among students and staff as more and more students look to international options for higher education.

Ben Sowter, director of research at QS, has commented on the matter: "For decades, UK higher education has been one of the country’s finest exports to the world.

To ensure that this privileged situation continues, it is essential that those with the power to do so redouble their efforts to improve teaching capacity.

So as to reduce the burden on passionate but beleaguered academics, reach a clear conclusion about the fee status of EU students post-Brexit, and do their utmost to ensure that the UK remains a part of EU research collaboration frameworks into the future."

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