8 May 2013

Studies in four key disciplines at The University of Queensland rank in the international top 10 in the latest QS World University Subject Rankings.

Psychology, education, agriculture and forestry, and environmental sciences were UQ’s highest-rated areas and among the highest in the world.

Additionally, QS reports in its 2013 assessment – released today – that UQ has nine further subject areas in the world’s top 30. These are: English language and literature, computer science and information systems, chemical engineering, civil and structural engineering, biological sciences, sociology, pharmacy and pharmacology, accounting and finance, and communication and media studies.

In the world’s top 50, UQ subject areas include linguistics, modern languages, medicine, geography, materials science, mathematics, economics and econometrics, law, politics and international studies, and statistics and operational research.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the QS rankings increasingly highlighted the global quality of Australian higher education.

“Governments of all persuasions need to recognise what a great asset Australia has in its universities,” he said.

“We need to protect and grow the global opportunities that our universities are opening for Australia. This is a view we see coming through strongly in recent opinion polls.”

Professor Høj said the QS rankings were an important tool for students comparing universities and their strengths around the world.

He said education studies at UQ were charging up the QS ranks, leaping from 29th position globally last year to 10th this year.

“Recognising the global quality of our work in education, and in psychology, the Australian Research Council this week awarded $16 million over four years to establish a Science of Learning Research Centre at UQ,” Professor Høj said.

“The centre will bring together researchers in education, neuroscience and cognitive psychology from leading Australian universities as well as from international universities including Carnegie Mellon and University College London.”

UQ subjects that climbed up the QS ranks this year included English language and literature (at 18th position globally, up from 42nd last year); computer science and information systems (25, up from 39), civil and structural engineering (27, up from 35), biological sciences (22, up from 38), medicine (33, up from 48), communication and media studies (20, up from 33), accounting and finance (25, up from 29), modern languages (39, up from 51-100) and politics and international studies (34, up from 48).

Ben Sowter, QS head of research, said Australia’s Group of Eight dominated local rankings, with Go8 universities topping all 30 subjects here.

When Australia’s universities were ranked against each other, Mr Sowter said UQ came outright first in the nation in agriculture and environmental sciences, joint first in chemical engineering, second in psychology and second in biological sciences, third in communication, sociology, materials science and English, and fourth in education.

QS rankings are based on surveys of about 70,000 academics and graduate employers, research citations and an analysis of research impact.

More than 46,000 academics identified the leading institutions for research within their field and region of expertise. Employers identified institutions that had produced outstanding graduates in given discipline areas.

Globally, Harvard University ranked number one in 10 disciplines, ahead of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (7), University of California, Berkeley (4), Oxford (4), Cambridge (3), Imperial (1) and University of California, Davis (1).

QS said the rankings featured notable performances from Asian universities, particularly in the hotly contested science and technology areas.

The US and UK, traditionally two dominant forces in international rankings, account for just five of the top 20 this year.

“The shift in global economic power is transforming the international higher education landscape, with countries such as Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore emerging as genuine challengers to the traditional elite,” Mr Sowter said.

“Many institutions in Europe are struggling to keep pace in technical disciplines, in which financial resources are particularly crucial.”

UQ is one of only three Australian universities ranked in the top 100 of the most respected global higher education rankings systems, including QS, Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities and Times Higher Education Rankings.

The QS World University Rankings had been in existence since 2004, and the separate subjects ranking assessment was added in 2011.

Contact: Fiona Cameron, UQ Communications ph +61 7 3346 7086, communications@uq.edu.au. Ben Sowter, Head of Division, QS Intelligence Unit. http://www.iu.qs.com/
About QS:Quacquarelli Symonds, founded in 1990, is a global provider of higher education and careers information and independent research. Its activities span 50 countries, it has 250 staff and it works with more than 2000 universities and business schools. QS is headquartered in London and has other main offices in New York, Paris, Singapore and Stuttgart. It has satellite offices in Alicante, Beijing, Johannesburg, Philadelphia, Shanghai, Sydney and Washington DC.

QS World University Rankings by Subjects are designed to provide comparative information at discipline level and to highlight the excellence of institutions in specialist areas. The rankings take into account the views of academics and employers and the impact of the research produced the citation per paper indicator, where applicable. Not all disciplines can be considered equal and their research activities or popularity among employers varies greatly hence a variable adaptive weighting has been applied to each criterion and to each subject. Click here to view the detailed methodology.


UQ Arts & Humanities UQ rank (global)
English Language & Literature 18
History 51-100
Linguistics 37
Modern Languages 39
Philosophy 51-100
UQ Engineering & Technology
Computer Science and Info Systems 25
Engineering - Chemical 12
Engineering - Civil & Structural 27
Engineering - Electrical 51-100
Engineering - Mechanical 51-100
UQ Life Sciences & Medicine
Agriculture & Forestry 7
Biological Sciences 22
Medicine 33
Pharmacy and Pharmacology 25
Psychology 9
Natural Sciences
Chemistry 51-100
Earth & Marine Sciences 51-100
Geography 34
Environmental Sciences 9
Materials Science 43
Mathematics 46
Physics & Astronomy 101-150
Social Sciences & Management
Accounting and Finance 25
Communication & Media Studies 20
Education 10
Economics & Econometrics 35
Law 48
Politics & International Studies 34
Sociology 27
Statistics & Operational Research 46