Harvard and MIT dominate university subject rankings

Two American universities – Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – dominate this year's rankings of the world's best institutions at which to study any one of 42 separate academic disciplines.

Harvard University USA
Both Harvard and cross-town rivals MIT top the annual rankings in 12 subjects in the list compiled by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds), a British company specialising in education abroad. The research encompassed the opinions of 76,798 academics and 44,426 employers, and an analysis of 28.5 million research papers.UK universities come out top in eight subjects, including education, maths, English, history and art, but the dominance of US institutions in many disciplines is apparent from the research. In total, 16 different universities come top of at least one of the 42 subjects, which range from economics and history to veterinary science and mining engineering.MIT tops the list in subjects including economics and econometrics, linguistics, physics, astrophysics and chemistry, while Harvard is rated best for subjects such as law, business and management, and political and international studies.Ben Sowter, head of the QS Intelligence Unit, said, "Though the US and UK remain dominant, our most inclusive rankings ever show that excellence can be found in an ever-increasing number of places."Nations like Austria, South Africa, Finland, Brazil, China, and Sweden can be found in the top ten of our tables. Our new top 100 for performing arts acknowledges academic excellence in 27 different countries, while our top 100 for mineral engineering recognises 26 countries."Some universities from outside the US or UK do manage to break into the top spots for the study of individual subjects. ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, is home to the best degree programme for students studying earth and marine sciences. The university boasts more than 20 Nobel Prizes and counts Albert Einstein among its alma mater.And while Wageningen University, some 50 miles outside Amsterdam, might not be so well known as others in the list, it is ranked best in the world to study for a degree in agriculture and forestry.Among UK universities, Oxford and Cambridge dominate the list and, indeed, share the No 1 position for the study of history. University College London (UCL) is rated best for studying education while the Royal College of Art, which was awarded £54 million in government funding for its new campus in Battersea, south London, is ranked as the world's best for art and design.The only university from outside the US or Europe to top the subject list is the University of Hong Kong, which occupies the top place for dentistry.

Top universities by subject:

  • Accounting and Finance: Harvard
  • Agriculture and Forestry: Wageningen University
  • Anthropology: Harvard
  • Archaeology: University of Cambridge
  • Architecture/Built Environment: MIT
  • Art and Design: Royal College of Art
  • Biological Sciences: Harvard
  • Business and Management: Harvard
  • Chemistry: MIT
  • Communication and Media Studies: University of Southern California
  • Computer Science: MIT
  • Dentistry: University of Hong Kong
  • Development Studies: Harvard
  • Earth and Marine Sciences: ETH Zurich
  • Economics and Econometrics: MIT
  • Education: UCL Institute of Education
  • Engineering – Chemical: MIT
  • Engineering – Civil and Structural: MIT
  • Engineering – Electrical & Electronic: MIT
  • Engineering – Mechanical: MIT
  • Engineering – Mining and Mineral: Colorado School of Mines
  • English Language and Literature: University of Oxford
  • Environmental Sciences: University of California
  • Geography: University of Oxford
  • History: Universities of Oxford & Cambridge
  • Law: Harvard
  • Linguistics: MIT
  • Materials Science: MIT
  • Mathematics: University of Cambridge
  • Medicine: Harvard
  • Modern Languages: University of Oxford
  • Nursing: University of Pennsylvania
  • Performing Arts: Juilliard
  • Pharmacy and Pharmacology: Harvard
  • Philosophy: University of Pittsburgh
  • Physics and Astronomy: MIT
  • Politics and International Studies: Harvard
  • Psychology: Harvard
  • Social Policy and Administration: Harvard
  • Sociology: Harvard
  • Statistics and Operational Research: MIT
  • Veterinary Science: University of California
As previously reported by Relocate Global, students are increasingly choosing to study outside their native country and there is some evidence to suggest that international students do then have the edge in the global business world. Relocate Global's Guide to International Education & Schools explores the options for higher education across the globe and compares the curricula and tuition fees. There is also invaluable advice on preparing applications and settling in. 

For more Relocate news and features about higher education in the UK and across the globe, click here

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