There are more than 26,000 Institutions of higher learning the world over but among them there are some that have distinguished themselves as top notch universities offering quality education. As a student, you may want to select the best university in your local area or select one that is reasonably close to you without having to travel thousands of miles in search of higher education. Highlighted below is a list of top universities in the world ranked according to position. The positions are according to the The Higher Education ranking of 2016-2017.


1- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Topping the list this year is MIT. The university is known to produce top performers in the technological field. Unknown too many people though, is that the university also offers other subjects like humanities, arts and social sciences.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Source

2- Stanford University

At number two is the Stanford University. This university is located next to the Silicon Valley and contributes immensely to the research that is undertaken in the Valley. Another strong point of this university is its ability to produce very successful business moguls in the U.S.

Stanford UniversitySource

3- Harvard University

This is the school where the former charismatic U.S president Barack Obama studied. Another interesting fact is that this university is the oldest university in the U.S having being started in the year 1636! It is also known for its stellar performance in medicine and life sciences.

Harvard UniversitySource


1- University of Oxford

At number one in Europe is the University of Oxford or Oxford University as it is commonly referred to. The university is believed to be among the oldest universities in the world and although its exact establishment date is not known, it is believed to have been started in the 13th century.  Additionally, it did not accept women until 1878!

University of OxfordSource

2- University of Cambridge

The University is better known as Cambridge University. The university stands out as a public research university where many ground breaking researches have been carried out by some of the greatest minds in the academic field. A wooden spoon was given to the students who had had the lowest graduating marks on a mathematical course that is still offered in the school. This tradition however came to an end in 1909.

University of CambridgeSource

3- Imperial College London

This university which is located in London contributes significantly towards research and development in the fields of science, medicine, business and engineering. This does not come as a surprise since it is the only university in the UK that solely focuses on these four disciplines.

Imperial College LondonSource


1- National University of Singapore

This world class university takes the number one position in Asia. Interestingly, the university is the oldest of all universities in Asia and also the largest by the virtue of its student population.  The university is known the world over for its focus on technology and engineering.

National University of SingaporeSource

2- Peking University

At number two is Peking University which is found in China. This university is one of the most modern universities in Asia which focuses on research and progressive thinking. The university offers and carries out research in humanities social sciences and physical science although it is well known for its immense research efforts in engineering and physical sciences.

Peking UniversitySource

3- Tsinghua University

This university which is also found in China ranks third in the best universities in China. Having been founded in 1911, the university has distinguished itself by admitting students who score very high in the national examinations. The University has over fifty undergraduate programs and more than two hundred postgraduate programs.

Tsinghua UniversitySource


1- University of Cape Town (UCT)

At the helm of African universities is the University of Cape Town. The university is one of the oldest in the continent having been founded in 1829. The school offers undergraduate programs in law, commerce, engineering, health, humanities and the built environment.  It is also located at the foot of the table Mountain overlooking the Devil’s Peak.

University of Cape Town (UCT)Source

2- University of the Witwatersrand

This university commonly known as Wits University is ranked second in Africa. During the Apartheid struggle, the University was deeply divided along racial lines because it is in Johannesburg where the anti-apartheid movement was very strong. Like its counterpart the UCT, Wits University is known to offer very good programs in law, science health science, humanities, built environment and engineering.

University of the WitwatersrandSource

3- Stellenbosch University

At number three is yet another South African university: the Stellenbosch University. This university is located in the Western Cape of South Africa which is not far from Cape Town.  An interesting fact about this University is that it was the first university in Africa to design a micro satellite in 1999. The main teaching language for the undergraduate programs is Afrikaans.

Stellenbosch UniversitySource


Due to the sheer number of universities in the world, this list is not exhaustive as there are other top notch universities not mentioned in this list. Also it is important to note that there is another ranking method known as the QE ranking method which may give differing data from the one presented above. Having said so, the mentioned universities are among the best in different regions and gaining admittance in any one of them would give you a sure footing in your academic and professional life.

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