28 June 2019

Subject rankings have become increasingly influential in influential in recent years. It is likely that they provide useful information for students and other stakeholders.

ShanghaiRanking have just released the third edition of their subject rankings. These include rankings of eight subjects in the Natural Sciences, four in the Life Sciences, six in the Medical Sciences, 22 in Engineering, and 14 in the Social Sciences. There are no rankings for the arts and humanities.

The methodology is somewhat different from the Shanghai world rankings. The indicators are Publications in the Web of Science and InCites, Category Normalised Citation Impact, International Collaborations, papers in Top Journals, and Awards identified in the Academic Excellence Survey. The weighting of these is different for each subject.

Harvard is the best performer, holding the top position in 14 subjects followed by MIT with five.

The USA is still the best performing country holding first place for 35 subjects followed by China with 11. The other countries with at least one first place are the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore and Hong Kong.

China is especially strong in Engineering subjects taking the top position for Telecommunication Engineering, Instruments Science and Technology, Civil Engineering, Food science and Technology, Aerospace Engineering, Marine/Ocean Engineering, Transportation Science and Technology, Remote Sensing, Mining and Mineral Engineering, and Metallurgical Engineering.

In the natural sciences, it is noticeable that some French universities are performing well. Sorbonne University is in the top ten for Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Oceanography and Atmospheric Science while the University of Montpellier is first for ecology.

Academic Ranking of World Universities

IREG Initiatives

The purpose of "IREG Inventory of International Rankings" is to collect and make available on the IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence website information on the current state and scope of this important group of rankings.


National and international academic rankings play ever increasing role as a barometer of quality of higher education institutions. The purpose of "IREG Inventory of National Rankings" is to collect and make available on the IREG Observatory website information on the current state and scope of this important group of rankings.


With the fast development of science and technology, as well as the internationalization of scientific activities, international academic awards have been more and more popular and influential. Numerous international academic awards have been established to provide individuals with incentives and motivation for new academic work and to reward past excellent academic accomplishments.


The purpose of the IREG Ranking Audit, conducted by independent experts, is to verify and attest that ranking under review is done professionally, with a transparent methodology, observes good practices and responds to a need for relevant information of various stakeholders, in particular students, higher education institutions, employers and policy makers.


The purpose of the IREG Guidelines for Stakeholders of Academic Rankings is to provide recommendations for appropriate interpretations, uses and applications of rankings by potential interested parties, including students and parents, institutions of higher education, policymakers, quality assurance and funding organizations, employers and the media. Specific recommendations have been formulated for each group of stakeholders.


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