MELBOURNE University has raced up the global rankings table, cementing its position as Australia's top-placed university.
The university moved up nine places to 28th spot, the only Australian institute in the top 30 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The Australian National University was the second-highest at number 37.
Melbourne University provost Margaret Sheil said high rankings helped universities to attract elite staff and students. ''People want to be associated with success,'' she said.
Professor Sheil said the university's Melbourne Model, in which students complete broad undergraduate degrees before specialising in particular fields, had helped lift its profile in the rankings. ''The Melbourne Model underpins the success of the institution.''
Sydney University moved up four spots to 62 while Monash University pushed into the top 100 at number 99. Deakin University was ranked between 351 and 400, the same bracket as last year. Universities ranked in the lower part of the table are placed in groups of 50.
In total there were 19 Australian universities in the top 400. The rankings are measured according to a range of factors, including teaching, research, reputation and scholarly papers produced by the universities.
Australian Universities' Review editor Ian Dobson said elite institutes used the rankings in their marketing material to attract students. But the rankings failed to capture the individual strengths of smaller universities, he said.
Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson welcomed the results and said they underlined the importance of continued investment in higher education.