StudyAbroad: Five universities gained in the annual QS World University Rankings released on Thursday, with all but Auckland University of Technology (AUT) among the top 350.
Auckland University was New Zealand's top-placed provider at 82nd worldwide, sliding back one spot on last year's rankings.
The University of Canterbury maintained its 214th place ranking and AUT remained in the 441-450 place bracket.
Internationally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) held its first place spot for the sixth year running, followed by Stanford and Harvard universities. English academic strongholds Cambridge and Oxford were fifth and sixth place respectively after California Institute of Technology (4th).
New Zealand universities performed well in research outputs – Waikato ranked 133rd, Otago 174th, and Canterbury 178th. The exception was Lincoln University, which featured among the top 200 universities globally in that measure.
The fourteenth annual QS ranking considered institutions' reputations as employers, their academic reputation and international staff and student numbers.
Universities New Zealand executive director Chris Whelan said domestic institutions did well in research and international connections.
"Despite really tight funding conditions, New Zealand universities have done well because we know how to cater to the rankings and they play to our strengths.
"That all of our universities are in the top 450 is truly impressive; no other country in the world can boast that."
Whelan said good rankings helped attract international staff. While about 80 percent of international students considered rankings when deciding to study here, they were not the main driver.
QS research director Ben Sowter applauded New Zealand's rankings "especially considering that it competes with far more populous and richer countries".
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