Oxford has been named the world’s best university for the study of eight different subjects in the tenth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject. This is the university’s best-ever performance in this exercise.

The eight subjects that are listed as best for study of the subject are Anatomy & Physiology, Anthropology, Archaeology, Classics & Ancient History, English Language & Literature, Geography, Modern Languages, and Pharmacy & Pharmacology.

Additionally, seven subjects (Development Studies, History, Law, Medicine, Social Policy & Administration, Sociology and Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies) were ranked second best in the world to study at Oxford.

In total, 21 subjects were listed in positions between 1-5th place in the table. Of the 38 academic disciplines from University of Oxford that are in the 2020 subject rankings, 50% improved their positions in the rankings, 16% decreased, and 34% stayed the same. In Academic Reputation, University of Oxford’s best performance is in English Language & Literature, in which it scores 100.

QS note that “year-on-year, the number of UK departments achieving a global top-10 rank has increased from 137 to 139, while the number of UK programs achieving a top-50 rank has increased from 357 to 362.”

The rankings, compiled by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, provide authoritative comparative analysis on the performance of 13,138 individual university programs, taken by students at 1368 universities which can be found in 83 locations across the world, across 48 academic disciplines and five broad Faculty Areas.

In order to compile the rankings list QS use four key metrics: Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Citations per Paper, H-Index which measures both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the academic’s most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications.

Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education at Oxford University, said: “I am thrilled to see that the University has been recognised at the top of the QS University World Rankings in so many disciplines.

“The University topping eight subject areas- up from five last year – is a recognition of the enduring excellence of an Oxford education and the calibre of our academic teaching staff. We pride ourselves on our international academic reputation and are committed to providing and supporting the best educational environment.”

For the fourth year in a row the University of Oxford remains the world’s leading institution for the study of Archaeology according to the QS rankings. Professor Amy Bogaard, Head of the School of Archaeology, said: “We are very proud to have retained our position at the top of the QS University World Rankings in our subject for the 4th year running, and amongst other excellent departments. Maintaining the top spot in such a dynamic global discipline is a testament to the creativity and dedication of our staff and students. We will continue to strive for innovation and impact in our research and teaching, and to prepare our talented graduates for a rapidly changing world and it’s new opportunities.”

The QS Spokesperson, Jack Moran, said: “Over the last five years, our results have illuminated the increasing competitiveness of the global higher education sector, with both the American and Australian systems seeing their share of top-ranked programs decrease sharply since 2016.

“Furthermore, the British higher education sector has also experienced no small amount of uncertainty since the 2016 referendum.

“It is therefore a testament to the University of Oxford’s enduring quality that it has not just kept pace with the rate of improvement enjoyed by highly-ambitious, well-funded peers abroad – but has actually managed to continue raising the bar in many areas.

“Not only do more of its departments enjoy world-leader status than ever before, but we observe nearly half of its 39 ranked departments improving their position: no mean feat, given their already lofty starting-point.

“A deeper delve into our dataset highlights the outstanding regard in which Oxford’s graduates are held, and the extraordinary impact of the academic inquiry taking place among the spires.”

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