U.S. Schools Take 8 of 10 Top Spots on U.S. News' Best Global Universities List for 2020

American higher education institutions dominated U.S. News & World Report's 2020 rankings of global universities, taking eight of the top 10 spots.

U.S. News released the annual list on Tuesday morning, which ranked 1,500 schools from more than 80 countries and territories. Harvard University took the No. 1 spot, followed by fellow Cambridge, Massachusetts, school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Stanford University in third place.

Only two institutions outside the United States­ broke into the top 10 list. They were the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford, both located in the United Kingdom, at the number five and nine spots respectively.

The rankings were a dose of good news for America's higher education institutions after a week of speculation about America's ability to compete on a global scale. The Graduate Management Admission Council, a nonprofit organization of business schools, released a report on October 15 that identified a 13.7 percent decline in 2019 in international students applying to American business schools.

Experts were concerned that visa restrictions, coupled with the growing reputations of business programs in other countries, meant America was missing out on the world's top talent and ultimately hurting its economy by being unable to fill the needs of STEM jobs.

The report also acknowledged the significant force China played in the education arena. A total of 188 Chinese universities made the list, making it the country with the second most schools to be ranked.

u.s. news ranking best global universities
Students on the campus of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. On Tuesday, 'U.S. News' released its annual rankings of global universities and Harvard University took the top spot. Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis/Getty

However, when it comes to higher education, it seems the United States still has an edge over other countries. It had the most schools on the list, taking 249 spots total and dominating the top spots. Following Harvard, MIT and Stanford was the University of California, Berkeley and the California Institute of Technology in the fourth and sixth spots. These were the same rankings they earned on the 2019 list.

Last year's list ranked Columbia University and Princeton University as eighth and ninth place, respectively. This year, they once again made the list, but climbed up the rankings, bumping the University of Cambridge from the seventh spot to ninth.

Rounding out the list as the 10th best global university, according to U.S. News, was the University of Washington in Seattle.

Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News, said in a press release that the rankings give students who want to study abroad a "starting point" for their college search. Although a good place to begin, she cautioned students against solely using the rankings to determine where to apply, recommending they also consider the language of instruction, the fields of study the school offers and the costs associated with studying in another country.

To determine the rankings, U.S. News started out with a pool of 1,599 schools and considered 13 factors, including global and regional research reputation, conferences and international collaboration.