Breaking a decade-long tradition, the United States failed to have the top school in the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings released Wednesday. The list, a global analysis of research institutions put together by the London-based Times Higher Education magazine, showed that the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom beat out longtime American winner the California Institute of Technology for the No. 1 spot.
"The U.S. has lost its status as home of the world’s top university for the first time in the 12-year history of the rankings," rankings editor Phil Baty said in a news release.
If you're an American student, don't despair: The red, white and blue performed well otherwise, nabbing 15 of the top 20 spots on the list. Stanford University came in third place, as it did last year, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in fifth and Harvard University in sixth.
Baty said the results suggested that American public universities "have been successfully weathering the storm of funding cuts, following dips in their rankings progress in the last couple of years." But he cautioned that Asia was quickly improving, with two top-40 schools in China alone.
"North America’s success cannot be guaranteed in the long term while more of Asia’s leading universities soar to join the world elite," Baty said.
As with all school rankings, you shouldn't take the list at face value. Compare and contrast the Times Higher Education analysis with resources like the QS World University Rankings to get some context. The QS 2016-2017 rankings, for example, put MIT at No. 1. Oxford doesn't come in until 6th place.
The Times Higher Education rankings are calculated based on teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income, according to the release. The top 20 schools are as follows:
1. University of Oxford (U.K.)
2. California Institute of Technology (U.S.)
3. Stanford University (U.S.)
4. University of Cambridge (U.K.)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.)
6. Harvard University (U.S.)
7. Princeton University (U.S.)
8. Imperial College London (U.K.)
9. ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland)
10 (tie). University of California, Berkeley and University of Chicago (both U.S.)
12. Yale University (U.S.)
13. University of Pennsylvania (U.S.)
14. University of California, Los Angeles (U.S.)
15. University College London (U.K.)
16. Columbia University (U.S.)
17. Johns Hopkins University (U.S.)
18. Duke University (U.S.)
19. Cornell University (U.S.)
20. Northwestern University (U.S.)