26 February 2014

The University of Queensland has performed strongly in a global league table of subjects released today (26 February).

UQ has maintained top-50 positions in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2014, with six top-20 spots.

The 2014 QS World University Rankings by Subject evaluated 3002 universities and ranked 689 of them.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said there were more than 10,000 universities in the world, and to remain among the top echelons of the widely referenced rankings was a strong achievement.

“To have the majority of our subjects in the global top 50, with six out of 30 in the top 20 and 11 in the top 30, is a great credit to UQ staff,” Professor Høj said.

“In this funding climate it is particularly impressive to improve in four subjects – sociology, biological sciences, geography and materials science – and for education to maintain 10th position.

“UQ is the top in Australia in three subject areas – environmental sciences, agriculture and forestry, and biological sciences – and that should reinforce the confidence of students in these areas.”

UQ ranked in the top 20 in six subjects: Education (10), environmental sciences (11), psychology (14), agriculture and forestry (18), English language and literature (20) and chemical engineering (20).

The university improved its positions in four subjects since 2013: Biological sciences (21, up from 22), geography (26, up from 34), materials science (41, up from 43), and sociology (22, up from 27).

“There are strong signals here for UQ’s social sciences, which in the past year have received significant Australian Research Council grants for the Life Course Centre and the Science of Learning Centre,” Professor Høj said.

“Nationally, the ability of some Australian universities to improve their positions says a lot for the quality that underpins Australian higher education.”

Professor Høj said UQ and other Australian universities had held high ground in the global rankings for some years, but “we are on shifting sands and Australian universities must work harder than ever to withstand challenges from our counterparts”.

“There are imperfections in all of the ranking systems, but rankings cannot be ignored because they influence Australia’s fourth largest export industry – education – and our attractiveness to top staff, collaborators, philanthropists, industry partners and investors.

“The movements in Australia’s rankings profile give more reason to reflect on whether the recently-announced funding cuts represent smart policy.

“At the same time, there is a message for universities to focus on connecting with industry, to optimise our joint potential to boost productivity and deliver other great outcomes for Australia.”

UQ improved its overall positions in the top 100 of four widely-referenced rankings systems in 2013.

These are:

Media: UQ Communications, communications@uq.edu.au or 07 3346 0561.