Brexit triggers world rankings slump

British universities have seen their rankings fall sharply in the latest QS World University Rankings published this month.

Although four institutions remain in the top 10, the wider picture is not rosy. Cambridge, which is the top-ranked British university in fourth place, is placed outside the top three for the first time since QS began publishing their world rankings 12 years ago.

Oxford and University College London retain their 2015 positions in sixth and seventh place respectively, but Imperial College London, which makes up the top 10 quartet, drops one place to ninth.

Of the 47 institutions in The Sunday Times Good University Guide to feature in the top 400 in the world, 38 of them have seen their global rankings fall this year.

Just five – Edinburgh, Manchester, Dundee (our Scottish University of the Year), Soas and Swansea (our Welsh University of the Year) – have seen their world ranking rise since 2015.

While only the United States has more top-performing universities in the world than the United Kingdom, there is a significant level of uncertainty in the higher education sector in the UK triggered by Brexit.

Concerns over future research funding, a large proportion of which is distributed by European funding bodies , and the ability to attract and retain leading researchers in a post-Brexit world have all added uncertainty to the higher education sector in the UK, reflected in the latest QS rankings.

Among the universities experiencing the largest falls year on year are York (down 24 places to 127th), Reading (down 19 places to 175th) and Durham (down 13 places to 74th).

Oxford Brookes remains the top-ranked modern university, despite slipping 35 places to 359=.

There are now 70 British universities that feature in the QS world rankings.