World University Rankings 2016-2017 By Subject: USA And UK Lead Way
ELITE GROUP OF 14 US AND EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES THRIVING ACROSS DISCIPLINES, ASIA GROWING
Expertise across a broad range of disciplines – rather than exceptional performance in just a few – is key to success in England’s The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, latest subject rankings suggest.
Just 14 different universities make the top five of the eight subject rankings published this week, which cover arts and humanities; business and economics; clinical, pre-clinical and health; computer science; engineering and technology; life sciences; physical sciences; and social sciences. Both computer science and business and economics are new subject rankings for 2016-17.
Only one of the universities in this eminent group is outside the US and the UK: Switzerland’s ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.
The other institutions are Stanford University, Yale University, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley in the US, and the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London in the UK.
All these universities appear in the top 33 places of the THE World University Rankings 2016-2017. The University of Oxford, which became the first UK university to top the table, makes the top five in seven of the subject rankings – more than any other institution – but is number one in only the clinical, pre-clinical and health list. Many Asian universities have also risen up the subject rankings since last year, mirroring the strength of the continent in the overall THE World University Rankings. Peking University is now joint 35th for social sciences, up from joint 52nd last year, while Tsinghua University is 34th for physical sciences, up from 47th. Stanford and Harvard each appear in six of the top five lists. Stanford is number one for social sciences, and arts and humanities, while Harvard is first in the physical sciences and life sciences, and shares top spot with Stanford for arts and humanities.
Richard Saller, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford, said that history, literature and philosophy have been “strong at Stanford for some time” but there has been a “real change” in the strength of art history, music and theatre recently. Investment in these areas has included a new concert hall and a new collection of American art, he said.
Professor Saller added that Stanford is “different from most of its peers” in that students combine both the practice and study of arts subjects.
“Our university believes that the interaction between practitioners and scholars can be productive and it’s not the way most other universities are organised,” he said. “That’s promoted a good deal of creativity.”
He said that the strength of the university’s engineering department also impacts on other areas of the university, citing a design programme that combines both engineering and art.
All undergraduates at the institution are required to take a course in “creative expression”, which includes creative writing, sculpture and painting, regardless of their specialism, he added.
The figures on the map refer to the top four countries with the highest number of institutions. The countries in white are those with no institutions in the 2016 ranking.