Brazil has three of the top four institutions in the rankings, while 16 of the leading 20 Chilean universities have improved their positions.
These institutions include Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile (UC), which rises to the number one spot for the first time, overtaking Brazil’s Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP).
Colombia and Mexico are the other rewarded countries, with Colombia having one institution in the top 20 listing and Mexico two. However, it is the success of Brazil and Chile that is the real story.
“Universities from Mexico, Argentina and Colombia excel in specific areas, but they currently lack the all-round consistency of the top institutions from Brazil and Chile,” said QS head of research Ben Sowter.
“High student-to-faculty ratios are an issue at several major public research institutions throughout region,” he added.
More than twenty countries feature in the 2014 rankings, including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and El Salvador.