The ranking’s top spots remain largely unchanged–nine of last year’s 10 highest-ranked universities remain in the top 10. The most elite institutions are almost all large, well-established universities based in the United States and Western Europe. The highest ranked university outside the U.S., Belgium’s KU Leuven (#5), is a nearly 600-year-old institution that maintains one of the largest independent research and development organizations on the planet.

In contrast, there are only two Asian universities in the top 20, both of which are based in South Korea, and one of them actually teaches the majority of its classes in English: South Korea’s KAIST, formerly the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, ranked #6. Established in 1971 by the Korean government, KAIST was modeled after engineering schools in the United States, and initially funded with a multimillion-dollar loan from the United States Agency for International Development.

The top 10 innovative universities are:
1. Stanford University
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3. Harvard University
4. University of Pennsylvania
5. KU Leuven
7. University of Washington
8. University of Michigan System
9. University of Texas System
10. Vanderbilt University

Overall, the top 100 consists of 51 universities based in North America, 26 in Europe, 20 in Asia and three in the Middle East.

For more on the Reuters Top 100, including a detailed methodology and profiles of the universities, visit

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura

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