UK universities top for maths and English in world rankings by subject.

UK universities top for maths and English in world rankings by subject.

According to the QS world university rankings by subject, published on Tuesday, UK institutions provide world-leading courses in eight of the 42 subjects featured, which puts them second – by quite a margin – only to the US.

UK universities also secure 16 second places and 21 third rankings “illustrating the depth and breadth of world-class UK education”, according to QS, which says its rankings provide a global barometer of world university performance at subject level.

Maths at Cambridge University is ranked first, as is English language and literature at Oxford – both came second in last year’s rankings. Of all UK universities Oxford leads with four top positions – as well as English, it comes out top for geography, modern languages, and history.

Cambridge comes second in the UK by this measure with three world-leading subjects – as well as maths it also leads in archeology and history (tying first with Oxford).

UK universities top for maths and English in world rankings by subject.

Other top ranked UK institutions are the Royal College of Art for its art and design course and UCL Institute of Education at University College London for education, repeating last year’s success when they were also both ranked first.

The London School of Economics took second place in the rankings for social policy and administration; Imperial College came third in material science, and King’s College London came fourth in dentistry, pharmacy and pharmacology.

According to QS, subjects taught at UK universities occupy 120 top-10 places; these 120 places are shared among 24 different universities, and the UK has at least one top-10 course in 41 of QS’s 42 subjects.

Despite the UK’s success, once again it is the big US universities that dominate the field, with Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) each taking the top position in 12 subjects each.

Ben Sowter, head of the QS intelligence unit, said: “Though the US and UK remain dominant, our most inclusive rankings ever show that excellence can be found in an ever-increasing number of places. Nations like Austria, South Africa, Finland, Brazil, China, and Sweden can be found in the top 10 of our tables.”

QS says its rankings are based on the expert opinion of just under 88,000 academics and 55,000 employers, plus analysis of 28.5m research papers and 113m citations.