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UCD leads the Irish University Sector with QS World University Subject Rankings increases

Posted March 07, 2017 

UCD’s English and Veterinary Science in top 50 in the world

The QS World University Rankings by Subject, published today, show a comprehensive increase in UCD subject rankings and scores. Of the 43 subject areas UCD offers, the University is now number 1 in Ireland for 40 of these, and number 1 in Ireland for each of the five major subject groupings, Arts & Humanities, Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences & Medicine, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences & Management.  Arts & Humanities is in the world top 100.

According to QS, “University College Dublin (UCD) now features amongst the world's elite institutions in 35 of the 46 subjects and all 5 faculty areas featured in this year's QS World University Rankings by Subject”

UCD is ranked in the top 50 for two subjects: English Language & Literature (45) and Veterinary Science (29).

Outside the top 50, QS groups the rankings into bands of 50.  UCD scores increased in 28 subjects* resulting in 9 of these subjects moving into higher bands of ranking.

UCD increased its rankings in each of the 5 broad faculty areas and UCD Arts & Humanities is now ranked within the top 100 at 83.

UCD has 13 subjects in the top 100:

English Nursing
Veterinary Science Geography
Archaeology Development Studies
History Law
Modern Languages Politics & International Studies
Philosophy Sports-related subjects
Agriculture & Forestry  

UCD has 31 subjects in the top 200.

The President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks, commented:

“I am gratified that these rankings appropriately reflect the standing of our subjects in the Irish context, and also indicate that the impact of our research is increasing internationally, despite the continuing funding issue and the constraints to our autonomy.

Once again, these rankings confirm that we are performing well in areas under our control; and indeed increasing our performance. If the recommendations of the Cassells’ Report were implemented, we would be able to rapidly improve our overall ranking.”

To compile these rankings, QS evaluated 4,438 universities, qualified 3,098 and ranked 1,117 institutions in total. The rankings are based on scores accumulated over a five year period – from 2012 to 2016.  

The most heavily weighted scores are for surveys completed by over 74,000 academics and over 37,000 employers, who are asked to list universities they believe, have top quality reputations.  In addition, over 185 million citations attributions were analysed from the Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database as a measure of research impact and QS verified the provision of over 18,900 academic programs.

The difference between these subject rankings and the overall institutional rankings published in October is that, although they are based on some of the same data, they focus on the impact of academics in their areas of expertise rather than on more general measures of university standing. Notably, student:staff ratio, exchequer and research funding, where UCD compares poorly to universities internationally, are not included in these rankings.

The stark difference between these rises in subject rankings and the fall in overall ranking occurring at the same time demonstrates the need for Ireland to move quickly to address the recommendations of the Cassells’ Report , ‘Investing in Higher Education’.

*UCD subjects with increased scores:

Architecture Earth & Marine Sciences
English Geography
Language & Literature Environmental Sciences
History Materials Sciences
Performing Arts Mathematics
Philosophy Physics & Astronomy
Computer Science & Info Systems Development Studies
Chemical Engineering Education
Civil & Structural Engineering Economics & Econometrics
Electrical Engineering Law
Mechanical Engineering Politics & International Studies
Biological Sciences Social Policy & Administration
Nursing Sociology
Pharmacy & Pharmacology Statistics & Operational Research