GLOBAL: QS releases final subject rankings

A pattern of domination by universities in the United States and United Kingdom established in international subject rankings compiled by QS, the UK-based education network, is repeated for the final two groups of subjects. Social sciences and the arts and humanities are confirmed as the near-exclusive preserve of the developed, English speaking world, despite some strong performances by universities in the Far East.

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, compiler of the annual QS World University Rankings, have now published rankings for the social sciences and the arts and humanities, following on subject rankings for engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, and the natural sciences. All the rankings are published here.

Just 20 universities appear in the top 10 rankings for the six social sciences - statistics, sociology, politics, law, economics and accounting.

A charmed group appear in the top 10 in all - Harvard (which heads the tables in all bar one), Stanford and the University of California Berkeley in the US, and Cambridge and Oxford in the UK. One Canadian and two Australian universities are among the top 20: the University of Toronto, Australian National University and the University of Melbourne.

Just one university from outside North America, the UK and Australia makes a top 10 spot - the National University of Singapore, which was seventh in the world for statistics.

UK universities performed well in law and politics, taking the top four places for politics behind Harvard. The best position achieved by a continental European university was 13th for statistics (ETH Zurich), but otherwise they struggled to get into the top 30.

The only African university represented was Cape Town, in the bottom 50s for law and sociology. Indian universities appear three times - Jawarhal Nehru University in the bottom 50 for sociology and two Indian Institutes of Technology for statistics (Delhi 48th and Kanpur in the bottom 50).

Central and South America also managed three places - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México was ranked 44th for sociology, and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Universidade de São Paulo in the bottom 50s for law and sociology respectively.

Harvard and Yale, Oxford and Cambridge, and the California universities also appear regularly at the top of the rankings for the arts and humanities group, which includes history, philosophy, geography, modern languages, linguistics and English language and literature.

Just 17 universities from five countries are represented in the top 10s for the six subjects. They include the National University of Singapore, ranked tenth in the world for geography and the only university outside North America, the UK and Australia to do so.

Harvard is ranked best in the world for four of the six subjects including history and philosophy, and is beaten into third place by Oxford and the University of California, Berkeley, for geography, and by Cambridge and Oxford for linguistics.

Oxford (second) and Cambridge (third) are the only universities outside the US in the history top 10. The only university outside the US, the UK and Australia in the top 20 is Peking University (19th). The highest place institution in continental Europe is the Freie Universität Berlin (30th). Apart from universities in the UK, US, Canada and Australasia, just 24 universities in 13 countries make the history top 100.

There is a similar ranking for philosophy, except that UK-US domination of the top 10 is relieved by the presence of Australian National University in sixth place, with the University of Toronto seventh. At 23rd, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is the highest placed university outside the UK, North America and Australasia. In 30th place, the Université Paris Sorbonne (Paris IV) is the best-ranked European university. Outside the UK, North America and Australasia, 32 universities from 19 nations appear in the top 100.

Cambridge beats Oxford into second place for linguistics, with Harvard third. Oxford leads the world for geography, ahead of Berkeley, Harvard and Cambridge.

Only one South Asian university, Jawaharlal Nehru University, makes any of the top 100s, for geography. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México makes the lower half of three top 100s, with Brazil's Universidade de São Paulo and Argentina's Universidad de Buenos Aires appearing in one top 100 apiece.

Universities are ranked based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research citations per paper, which makes up 30% of the score. The full methodology can be found here.

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