The University of Cambridge has secured the top spot ahead of the University of Oxford in Times Higher Education's fifth annual "Table of Tables".
Based on the combined results of the UK's university league tables, Cambridge kept its number one status after ousting its varsity rival from pole position for the first time last year.
Cambridge sealed its triumph over its old foe after it was judged the UK's top university by The Complete University Guide and in rankings published by The Guardian. Oxford took first place in the Good University Guide, published by The Times.
The London School of Economics took third place in the Table of Tables, but closed the gap on second place, finishing ahead of Oxford in The Complete University Guide.
The University of St Andrews cemented its place at fourth in the Table of Tables, with Durham University completing the top five at the expense of Imperial College London, which fell to seventh.
One big winner was the University of Surrey, which rose seven places from 26th to 19th, thanks largely to its 12th-placed finish in The Guardian's ranking.
The University of Bristol leapt four places to 12th, the University of Glasgow rose five places to 16th and the University of Southampton climbed to 17th, up from 20th last year.
THE has carried out the analysis to give an overview of how the sector is viewed by national newspapers.
Heriot-Watt University entered the full top 30 (see table below) thanks to its 20th-place position in the Guardian table, while Royal Holloway, University of London, made its debut after scoring highly with The Times (th) and The Complete University Guide (26th).
The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, suffered a dramatic slide in the annual listing, dropping out of the top 30 from 18th place last year.
Queen's University Belfast and Aston, Manchester and Leeds universities were among others that missed out on top 30 spots.
Comprehensive winners: Table Of Tables results
|Rank 2012||Rank 2011||Institution||Complete University Guide rank||Guardian rank||Times/ Good University Guide rank||Total score|
|3||3||London School of Economics||2||3||3||85|
|%3D7||%3D5||Imperial College London||4||13||4||72|
|%3D7||%3D5||University College London||8||6||7||72|
|22||22||King's College London||18||%3D31||22||22|
How the table is set
Each year since 2008, Times Higher Education has compiled a "Table of Tables" to offer a snapshot of how universities are viewed by national newspapers. This year, it was calculated by giving the 30 top-ranked institutions in league tables compiled by the Good University Guide (published by The Times), The Guardian and The Complete University Guide points corresponding to their position (30 for first place, 29 for second and so on). The total scores determined the positions. We make no claims for statistical rigour and acknowledge the methodological limitations.