QS: World’s Best Universities in 48 Subjects Revealed

The world’s most-consulted university rankings portfolio[1], released today by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, ranks 1222 universities in 78 countries across 48 single subjects and five broad subject-areas. The QS World University Rankings by Subjects features the insight

of 83,000 academics, who contributed over 1.25 million nominations to QS’s Academic Survey while 42,000 employers, contributed 199,123 nominations to QS’s Employer Survey; 150 million citations yielded from 22 million academic papers were analysed to compile the rankings.

Major Trends

– The number of number-one ranks held by US universities decreases from 34 in 2018 to 28 in 2019;

– Harvard University remains the world-leader, ranking number-one for 12 subjects, followed by MIT, which leads in 11 subjects.

– Switzerland has become the world’s third-best higher education system. Impressive performances from ETH Zurich mean that only the United States and United Kingdom occupy more top-10 ranks;

– The United Kingdom has remained resilient despite Brexit uncertainty, increasing its share of number-one ranks from 10 to 13 and improving research performance across the board;

– Singapore is Asia’s outstanding system, with more top-10 university departments than the rest of the continent’s universities combined;

– China continues to increase its competitiveness, recording a higher share of top-50 departments than ever-before;

– Brazil remains embattled, declining at a rate greater than the Latin American average.

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019: Top-10 countries by number of top-10 departments

Location Number of top-10 departments

United States 234

United Kingdom 137

Switzerland 22

Australia 18

Canada 15

Singapore 14

Netherlands 12

Italy 6

Mainland China 4

Sweden 4

(c) TopUniversities.com

Ben Sowter, Research Director at QS, said: “The major narrative emerging here is the perhaps-inexorable erosion of United States pre-eminence. Since 2015, it has lost 10% of its top-ranked research departments, with China, Australia, and the United Kingdom the major beneficiaries. UK research performance stays strong despite considerable funding cuts, though the contribution that EU research collaboration has made to this success cannot be understated.”

University Leader Subjects

Harvard 12

MIT 11

Oxford 6


Universities leading in one Subject

British Columbia, Cambridge, Colorado School of Mines, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, ETH Zurich, Julliard School, Karolinska Institute, LSE, Loughborough, Royal College of Art, Royal Veterinary College, La Sapienza, Stanford, University of Amsterdam, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, UPenn, Pittsburgh, Sussex, Wageningen.


[1] ‘Most-consulted’ refers to data from media monitoring platform Meltwater, corroborated by insights from SimilarWeb, Alexa, and Google Analytics.

SOURCE: QS Quacquarelli Symonds

/Public Release.