There are 34 British universities in the 2015-2016 Times Higher Education rankings, which lists the top 200 institutions in the world.
Oxford tops the pile of UK universities, reaching second place, with Cambridge in fourth place. Imperial College London also featured in the top 10, placing eighth.
The highest ranked university was the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in America, the fifth consecutive year it has won this prestigious accolade.
The table ranks universities based on aspects such as teaching, international outlook and research.
Again, America leads the way in the table, but its dominance has decreased this year. Although it has six of the world’s top ten universities, this is one fewer than last year. The country also has fewer universities in the top 100, down from 45 to 39.
European universities are improving, with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (in Zurich) becoming the first university outside of the UK and America to feature in the top 10 in a decade. The number of European universities in the table has also risen from 87 to 105.
“It is great to see the UK is second only to the US for the number of world-class universities in the top 80. These rankings confirm the world-class standing of our higher education sector,” said Jo Johnson, the universities minister.
“Our reforms will ensure our universities continue to compete with the very best internationally and deliver high-quality teaching to students at home.”
However, it was highlighted that funding cuts and immigration rules on international students could negatively impact the UK’s performance in the future.
The editor of the Times Higher Education world university rankings, Phil Baty, said: “Despite the UK’s success, its continued cuts in higher education funding – the Higher Education Funding Council for England received a £150 million budget slash this year – and series of immigration measures affecting overseas students, will hinder its performance in the long run.”
“Many of the country’s European rivals, such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, are also performing well, but are less hindered by funding cuts and more welcoming for international students,” he continued.