The University of Sydney has improved its position in the prestigious Times Higher Education world rankings.

Sydney this year has moved up one position to now be ranked 36 amongst the world's top 200 universities and equal second in Australia.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence said he was encouraged by this year's rankings.

I am pleased that our continual improvement and our reputation for world class research and research led teaching is being recognised internationally, he said.

The University of Sydney has also shown considerable improvement in the rankings for specific subject areas.

Of particular note are the Life Sciences and Biomedicine which are ranked 15th in the world (up from 27 last year) and the Natural Sciences ranked 34th (up from 44 last year). In other subject areas Arts and Humanities are ranked 19th, Social Sciences 27th and Engineering and IT 40th in the world.

The annual survey, now in its sixth edition, is produced by the QS Intelligence Unit in collaboration with the Times Higher Education.

A feature of this year's rankings is the fall in the number of North American Universities and the slight increase in the number of Asian universities

in the top 100.

Universities in the United States and the United Kingdom again dominate the top places with Harvard, Cambridge and Yale ranked as the top three.

In Australia, all of the Group of Eight research universities have been ranked in the top 100 this year.