The University of Cambridge has only the US behemoth Massachusetts Institute of Technology ahead of it in the 20th QS World University Rankings.

MIT stays top for the 12th successive year and Cambridge is second again out of 1,500 institutions across 104 global locations.

Taking a broader view, the London-Cambridge-Oxford Arc has three universities in the world’s top six after Oxford climbed a place to third and Imperial College, London finished sixth behind celebrated US duo Harvard and Stanford. The US dominates the rankings.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a global higher education specialist, says this is the only ranking of its kind to emphasise employability and sustainability. The results draw on the analysis of 17.5 million academic papers and the expert opinions of 240,000+ academic faculty and employers.

This year, QS has implemented its largest-ever methodological enhancement, introducing three new metrics: Sustainability, Employment Outcomes and International Research Network.

“Deep consultation across global higher education has empowered the QS World University Rankings to align better with Gen Z and Alpha priorities, focusing on what genuinely matters to increasingly socially conscious students in our rapidly evolving world,” said Ben Sowter, Senior Vice-President, QS.

Seventy-five per cent of Africa’s universities fare better while the Arab Region remains increasingly competitive, according to QS.

Asia’s top university, National University of Singapore breaks into the top 10 in eighth position. South Korea and Japan remain strong but less prolific. Thailand and Indonesia are said to be emerging while Australia “excels at global engagement” and has three universities joining the top-20.