Take That, Harvard: University of Cambridge Named World’s Best College

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Landov / PA

The University of Cambridge emerged victorious for the second successive year in the latest league table of global academic institutions.

The 802-year-old U.K. university – which counts 14 British Prime Ministers and 85 Nobel Prize winners among its graduates – beat out competition from fierce rival Oxford and top U.S. universities to claim the crown in the eighth annual QS World University Rankings.

Cambridge pushed Harvard University into second spot in 2010 – and the pair retained their respective positions again this year. Massachusetts Institute of Technology was ranked in third place, with Yale University coming fourth and Oxford fifth.

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The QS rankings consider over 2,000, and evaluate over 700, universities around the world, ranking the top 400 schools. The body gauges academic and employer reputations through a global survey, counts citations per faculty and compares global research, teaching standards, graduate employability and international work. The 2011 survey was the biggest the group had ever conducted.

The top 10 institutions in this year’s table were all from the U.K. and U.S. McGill University in Montreal, Canada — listed 17th — was the highest placed university elsewhere, while the University of Hong Kong was Asia’s best-placed school, coming in 22nd.

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) is an information specialist in the higher education sector, linking graduates, MBA and executive communities around the world with business schools, postgraduate departments at universities and various employers. (via The Independent)

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Joe Jackson is a contributor at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @joejackson. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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