The QS World University Rankings for 2024 have been released, and half of the top 10 spots are now held by universities in Europe.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) retained its top spot in the QS World University Rankings 2024, which is dominated by European and North American universities.

The QS World University Rankings for 2024 have been released, and half of the top 10 spots are now held by universities in Europe.

The annual evaluation, which is now in its 20th year, is based on an analysis of 17.5 million scholarly articles and the professional judgement of more than 240,000 academic faculty members and employers from around the world.

Five of the top ten spots were held by universities in Europe, and the top echelons of the rankings are dominated by English-speaking universities, which consistently achieve perfect scores in areas like academic reputation, employer reputation, and faculty/student ratio.

For the 12th year running, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, took first place with a perfect score of 100.

The UK’s University of Cambridge came in second with 99.2 points, closely followed by its regional rival, the University of Oxford, who took third with 98.9 points.

Stanford University came in fifth with 98.1 points, followed by Harvard University in fourth place with a score of 98.3.

The top 10 universities in Europe for 2024 include the University of Cambridge (99.2), which came in second globally, the University of Oxford (98.9), which came in third globally, Imperial College of London (97.8), which came in sixth globally, ETH Zurich (93.9), which came in seventh globally, and University College of London (92.4), which came in ninth globally.

The University of Edinburgh in the UK (86.1), Université PSL Paris in France (85.8), University of Manchester (82.2), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland (80.4), and Technical University of Munich in Germany (80.4) round out the top five institutions on the continent of Europe (80).

The ranking considers nine key metrics: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty ratio, international students ratio, international research network, employment outcome, and sustainability.

These indicators reflect shifts in higher education over the past two decades, emphasizing sustainability, employability, and research collaborations. Quacquarelli Symonds, the ranking’s analyst, believes these indicators reflect the significant changes in higher education over the past two decades.

According to Dr. Andrew MacFarlane, manager of QS Rankings, “one of the first changes we noticed [over the past two decades] was this really increasing focus on employability from students.” This prompted them to strengthen the employability focus.

In a highly competitive global job market, he claimed, “students are graduating from [university] with higher debt than ever.”

They take “immense pride in the increasing inclusivity of our rankings, which illuminates the global distribution of academic excellence,” as the ranking marks its 20th anniversary.

The proportion of Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and African universities in the QS World University Rankings has significantly increased between the 2018 and 2024 editions. In 2018, the regions made up 37% of the ranking; by 2024, that percentage had increased to 46%.

According to MacFarlane, rankings for China in particular have significantly improved as a result of research efforts.

In other words, the calibre of the research being conducted in China has really “pulled them up” the rankings ladder. According to him, they are the world’s largest producer of research but are also increasingly producing highly cited research.

While historically strong performers, the United States and the United Kingdom have seen a slight drop in rankings, it doesn’t necessarily mean things are getting worse. According to MacFarlane, it’s also a sign that other institutions around the world are developing and narrowing the gap.

The fastest runner is still the fastest runner, but someone else is closing the time gap, he said.

According to MacFarlane, “to break down the world’s challenges, you’re going to have to work across borders, solve challenges together, and be more transparent. Globally, European universities continue to excel in their global engagement. And Europe is actually setting the pace on this.

Université PSL Paris (Paris Sciences et Lettres University), which placed third in the “international research network category,” the Sorbonne (4th), KU Leuven and Ghent University in Belgium (sixth and eighth, respectively), and Université de Montpellier in France are notable EU institutions showcasing their strength in international research collaboration (9th).

In terms of collaborative research and global engagement, East Asia may be becoming more dominant, according to McFarlane, “but Europe [is] definitely shining much brighter in that in that case.”