Oxford and Cambridge have been named as the two best universities in the world for the first time.
They beat all of the prestigious Ivy league universities in the US as well as the most elite institutions across Asia and Europe.
Oxford held on to first place while Cambridge rose from fourth to second in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2018.
Oxford University (pictured) has been ranked the best university in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2018
It is the first time that both institutions have taken the top spots in the internationally-respected league table’s 13-year history.
Phil Baty, editorial director of the global rankings, said UK higher education is facing ‘intense political pressure’, but that the data shows the nation has ‘many of the very best universities in the world’.
Coming in joint third place behind Oxbridge is the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University in the US, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology taking fifth place.
Other UK institutions to rank highly were Imperial College London in eighth place and University College London in 16th. The rankings, which include 1,000 universities around the world, judge institutions on 12 measures grouped into five areas: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income.
Cambridge University (pictured) came second in the prestigious rankings, beating American Ivy League universities
The authors said that results at the top were ‘extremely tight’. They explained that one reason for Oxbridge’s success is that both institutions have seen significant increases in their total institutional income this year.
Mr Baty said: ‘The UK higher education system is facing intense political pressure, with questions over the value for money provided by £9,250 tuition fees … the flow of research funding and academic talent post-Brexit, and even levels of vice-chancellors’ pay.
‘But one thing this new data makes absolutely clear is that the UK has many of the very best universities in the world.’
Commenting on the rankings, Alan Smithers, a professor at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘The fears that Brexit would damage our leading universities appear to be just scaremongering.’
The rankings come amid a row over pay of Britain’s university chiefs, with many earning much more than the Prime Minister.
Earlier this week, Oxford University vice-chancellor Louise Richardson attempted to justify her £350,000 salary by saying it is ‘very different’ to the pay packages of footballers and bankers.
She branded politicians ‘mendacious’ and ‘tawdry’ for criticising so-called ‘university fat cat’ pay, and said the comments were ‘damaging’ to the sector’.