Careers

The 12 best universities in the world

Every year, millions of graduate and undergraduate students study at a foreign college.

There are over one million international students studying in the United States alone. The most recent figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that over 4.5 million students enroll in a college located in a country where they are not citizens.

OECD research also suggests that the number of international students is rising sharply. Between 2005 and 2012, the share of students studying outside of their home country increased by 50 percent.

This increase in popularity is why U.S. News & World Report assessed 1,250 institutions across 74 countries in order to develop its annual 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities rankings.

"Today, more students are exploring higher education options beyond their own borders," writes U.S. News and World Report. "Universities worldwide are competing for the best students, renowned faculty and research dollars."

U.S. News used data from Clarivate Analytics InCites and ranked universities based on factors such as global research reputation, publications and conferences. In order to be considered, universities had to have published at least 1,500 papers between 2011 and 2015. In some cases several institutions tied for the same ranking.

Read on to see the 10 best global universities:

Yale University campus
Topic Images Inc. | Getty Images
Yale University campus

10. Yale University

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 12,458

10. University of Washington

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 45,591

10. Johns Hopkins University

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 23,992

9. Princeton University

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 8,181

8. Columbia University

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 25,084

7. University of Cambridge

Country: United Kingdom

Region: Europe

Total enrollment: 18,977

6. California Institute of Technology

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 2,240

Oxford University
Joe Daniel Price | Getty Images
Oxford University

5. University of Oxford

Country: United Kingdom

Region: Europe

Total enrollment: 19,790

4. University of California Berkeley

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 40,174

3. Stanford University

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 16,914

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 11,376

1. Harvard University

Country: United States

Region: North America

Total enrollment: 20,324

Harvard University
janniswerner | Getty Images
Harvard University

Harvard University was ranked the best global university by U.S. News thanks in part to its broad-reaching international reputation and impressive research opportunities.

The United States dominated U.S. News' 2018 rankings. All of the schools in the top 10 are located within the U.S. except for the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.

Among the 1,250 schools ranked, 17.7 percent are located in the United States, a slight decrease from 21 percent in 2017. The next most well-represented country on the list is China, where 136 universities made the list.

Within the United States, public universities excelled. Six U.S. public universities made it into the top 20 global universities, including University of California Berkeley, which came in fourth, and University of Washington, which tied for tenth.

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook

Don't miss:
The 5 most valuable college majors
These are the 10 best community colleges in the country
This is the age most Americans pay off their student loans