(Newsroom America) -- U.S. News & World Report has released the fifth annual edition of the World's Best Universities rankings, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking top place.
For the past two years, the United Kingdom's University of Cambridge topped the list, but this year, MIT jumped from third to first.
The World's Best Universities rankings, updated annually by U.S. News, are based on the 2012 QS World University Rankings, developed by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a leading global career and education network.
Using a different methodology and ranking data than the well-known U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, the World's Best Universities rates schools on factors such as academic reputation, the proportion of international faculty, and the proportion of international students.
"As the job market becomes more competitive, there's a growing interest among prospective students to attend institutions abroad," said U.S. News & World Report Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly.
"The World's Best Universities rankings help students compare and select the best schools worldwide. In addition, the rankings enable our readers to understand more fully how well American institutions perform when compared with other institutions of higher learning around the world."
The World's Best Universities rankings are among the most comprehensive of their kind and include the following lists: Top 400 Universities Worldwide, Top 100 Asian Universities, and Top 100 Latin American Universities. In addition to the regional rankings, there are also global rankings in 25 different subject disciplines, such as electrical engineering, accounting and finance, biological sciences, and the newly added communication and media studies.
An in-depth methodology was used to determine the 2012 rankings. For the Top 400 Universities, six distinct indicators of excellence were evaluated: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, proportion of international faculty, proportion of international students, and citations per faculty.
The two regional rankings each have distinct methodologies from the global Top 400 to better reflect the uniqueness of those regions, using indicators such as the specific region's academic and employer reputations, citations per paper, and proportion of staff with Ph.D's.
World's Best Universities Rankings 2012
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States) University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) Harvard University (United States) UCL (University College London) (United Kingdom) University of Oxford (United Kingdom) Imperial College London (United Kingdom) Yale University (United States) University of Chicago (United States) Princeton University (United States) California Institute of Technology (United States)
For the full list of rankings, visit www.usnews.com/worldsbest