Nearly three-quarters of the UK’s top universities, including Oxford and UCL, have fallen in international league table rankings. 62 of the top 84 British institutions were downgraded for the fourth consecutive year according to a 2021 university guide from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a publishing firm.
Oxford dropped from fourth to fifth place while UCL fell two places down to number 10 compared with their 2020 rankings. Imperial College London however moved up one spot from ninth to eighth, the only UK university in the top 20 to climb in its position. Cambridge (7th) and Edinburgh (20th) Universities both held on to their spots.
The fall has been blamed on poorer teaching as well as declining research as top academics and students around the world, but particularly in Europe, may not see the UK as an attractive place to study as a result of Brexit.
According to director of research at QS, Ben Sowler, “Numerous sources, from UCAS to the Higher Education Policy Institute, have drawn the same connection between Brexit and lower British appeal among the global international student community.”
Over half of the nation’s top universities (66) saw a drop in their student to staff ratio while many (59) had fewer research citations. International students enrolling had fallen at 51 universities, the data found.
Universities in Europe as well as North America had also slipped in the rankings as investments in higher education have increased worldwide, especially in Asia, according to Sowler.