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The University of Oxford leads four tables

UK universities ranked world's best in Maths and English

The QS World University Rankings by Subject shows UK universities provide world-leading courses in eight of the 42 subject tables

Posted by Hannah Oakman | March 22, 2016 | Research

The United Kingdom’s universities also secure sixteen second-place ranks and 21 third-place ranks, illustrating the depth and breadth of world-class UK education.

The expert opinion of 76,798 academics and 44,426 employers informed the results, alongside the analysis of 28.5 million research papers and over 113 million citations sourced from the Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database.


Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) continue to dominate, leading in 24 subjects between them. Each takes twelve leading positions.

The UK splits their eight first-place finishes between four universities. The University of Oxford leads four tables (English Language and Literature, Geography, Modern Languages, (joint) History) edging out its perennial rival, the University of Cambridge, which leads three (Archaeology, Mathematics, (joint) History). The Royal College of Art, given a major boost last week by the Chancellor with £54million in funding for its new design and innovation campus in Battersea, is ranked as the world’s best university for Art & Design for a second consecutive year. University College London also retains its status as the world-leading institution at which to study Education. 

In total, subjects provided by UK-based universities occupy 120 top-ten places. These 120 places are taken by 24 different universities, highlighting the UK’s immense strength in depth. Moreover, the UK can boast at least one top-ten course in 41 of QS’s 42 subject tables.

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 it in 26.”

For more information visit: http://www.topuniversities.com/subject-rankings/2015

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