QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020: Everything You Need to Know

subject rankings 2020

The 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject is now live with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology leading globally in 12 subject tables. 

The tenth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject has revealed that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) still dominates the higher education space.  

The prestigious university tops 12 subject tables, while Harvard University follows closely behind with the top spot in 11 subject tables and University of Oxford leads eight subject tables.  

However, the institution with the highest number of programs in the top 10 is Cambridge University with 38 of its programs mentioned in the top ten subject lists, followed by:  

  • Harvard University (35 top-10 programs) 
  • University of Oxford (34 top-10 programs) 
  • University of California, Berkeley (32 top-10 programs) 
  • Stanford University (30 top-10 programs) 
  • MIT (21 top-10 programs) 
  • ETH Zurich (13 top-10 programs) 
  • London School of Economics (13 top-10 programs) 
  • University of California, Los Angeles (11 top-10 programs) 
  • Yale University (11 top-10 programs) 

The QS World University Rankings by Subject ranks the performance of 13,138 individual university programs, taken by students at 1,368 universities in 83 locations across the world. This spans 48 academic disciplines and five broad faculty areas. 

Uniquely, this ranking incorporates the large QS Employer Survey, which means it’s the only global subject ranking that includes employer perspectives and graduate employability in its methodology.  

Chinese programs haven’t seen any improvements in employability and employer reputation performance, but they’ve seen considerable improvement in research performance.  

While there hasn’t been an increase in Chinese programs in the top 10 lists for the last five years, Mainland China did hit 100 top-50 programs for the first time this year.  

Ben Sowter, QS Director of Research, states: “After five years of relentless improvement, our dataset has illuminated a slowdown in Chinese progress. However, their trajectory is still superior to that of American universities. We also find that Brexit does not yet appear to have jeopardized the research performance of British universities.” 

In the US, the number of top-50 programs has decreased from 806 in 2018 to 769 in 2020. American institutions also saw drops in the number of top-10, top-100, and top-200 programs listed 

Universities in India recorded moderate improvements with 53 programs improving, 29 declining, and significant increases in the number of top-50 and top-100 programs. 

The UK also saw positive change with UK programs recording overall year-on-year improvement, with more rises (306) than drops (238). 

In Latin America, the best-performing overall system is Colombia, while the region’s leading institutions are Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (12 top-50 programs) and Universidade de São Paulo (11 top-50 programs). 

To discover more insights, download your free QS World University Rankings by Subject report. 

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