The Best Universities In The World By Subject

There are many great universities around the world. Different universities excel in different areas though. If you want to know what are the best universities in the world in the specific subject you’d like to study, check out this post!

We’ve compiled a list of the best universities in the world in several different subjects. The rankings have been done by QS, who have based these rankings on five criteria: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, h-index and international research network. The h-index is a way of measuring the productivity and impact of a scholar based on their published work.

If you want to know what are the best universities in the world overall, check out our post about the top universities in the world. Once you’ve found the ideal university for you, don’t forget to search for student accommodation.

Accounting and Finance

An accounting student working on his laptop

1. Harvard University, USA

Harvard ranks extremely highly in the teaching of many subject areas, but the prestigious Harvard Business School is amongst the university’s best-known departments. The school is a world leader in business research whose aim is to produce the next generation of worldwide front runners in business fields such as accounting and finance. This leads them to have an especially global perspective, which is great news for international students.

2. Stanford University, USA

Impressively, the research and faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business help shape accounting practices in the United States and elsewhere. Stanford’s global connections make it an excellent choice for international students in terms of networking and opportunities after graduation.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

The MIT Sloan School of Management is a world-renowned teaching centre based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The accountancy and finance options on offer are mainly focused at graduate level and there are research teams assigned to both disciplines. Levels of study on offer at the Sloan School are MBA, Executive MBA, MIT Sloan Fellows, Master of Finance, Executive Education, as well as limited undergraduate programmes.

Architecture and Built Environment

A female student looking at her architecture notebook

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

As well as holding the title for number one university in the world, MIT is home to the oldest School of Architecture and Planning in the United States. The MIT model of teaching has an emphasis on experimentation, the use of technology and awareness of social impact. In addition to conducting extensive research, MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning draws upon the rest of the university to offer greater depth in technical studies such as computing, new modes of design and production, materials, energy and structure. Simply put, at MIT you have access to some of the best teaching and resources in the whole world.

2. Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands is one of the best universities in the world, coming in at number 61 in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. One of its most notable areas of expertise is the Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences programme. The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and the efficient use of space is important. This has led to a strong tradition in building and urban planning. At the Delft University of Technology this tradition is complemented by a multidisciplinary way of learning where students work in groups to create integrated solutions.

3. University College London, UK

UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture is a forward-thinking teaching centre that stands for provocative ideas, cutting edge research and high-achieving students and lecturers. It cites its students as amongst the most sought-after, both in the UK and overseas. Over the past 20 years, students of Bartlett have won more medals from RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) than any other school. They boast an impressive and distinguished list of alumni and academics.

Business and Management Studies

Two business students studying in a room

1. Harvard University, USA

The world-famous Harvard School of Business is number one when it comes to studying business and management. They offer a two-year, intensive MBA qualification which uses real-world challenges to develop leadership skills amongst students.

2. INSEAD, France

INSEAD names itself ‘the business school for the world’ and provides a number one ranked global MBA programme. They are an international graduate university with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, plus they have alliances with a number of the world’s top institutions.

3. London Business School, UK

The London Business School is a highly international university – in fact, it’s number one in the world for international students. Every year, the school teaches 2,000 students from 100 different countries how to succeed in business. London itself is an excellent place to start your career in business and management, with every one of the world’s leading financial institutions represented in the city.

Computer Science and Information Systems

A piece of computer code on a laptop

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

MIT offers something to students that no other university can compete with: CSAIL, the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory. It’s one of the world’s most important centres of information technology research. The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department is the largest at MIT, and awards over 300 highly competent undergraduates and graduates with a degree each academic year. This is where they put the ‘T’ in MIT.

2. Stanford University, USA

Stanford’s Computer Science Department was founded in 1965 and is part of the School of Engineering. It offers a range of undergraduate, graduate and inter-discipline degrees. Stanford is home to the Gates Computer Science Building, named after tech genius Bill Gates, who paid $6 million towards the project. It’s a state-of-the-art location for computing students.

3. Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Established already back in 1988, the CMU School of Computer Science is one of the first computer science programmes in the world. 35 years later, it’s still one of the best. In 2018 CMU introduced the first bachelor’s degree programme in artificial intelligence available in the United States. The goal of the CMU School of Computer Science is to give their graduates all the tools needed for their next steps, whether it’s in industry or further study.

Economics and Econometrics

Economics students studying on a couch

1. Harvard University, USA

Since 1897, Harvard’s Department of Economics has been teaching talented students. It has regularly been ranked one of the best places in the world to study economics. The Department of Economics is home to the Quarterly Journal of Economics, one of the top impacting economics journals globally.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

The MIT Department of Economics has been in existence for over a century. It counts itself among the world’s pre-eminent economic research and teaching institutions, offering the most rigorous undergraduate economics education in the US. The department teaches economics courses to over 2,000 undergraduates each year, all of which will be involved in research as well as learning.

3. Stanford University, USA

At Stanford, the Department of Economics focuses on teaching students a balance of traditional ideas and cutting-edge research. As Stanford is located in close proximity to America’s Silicon Valley, there is a focus on the use of big data and machine learning methods in the economics taught there. The work of Stanford’s economics researchers has helped shape many aspects of the US economy.

English Language and Literature

An English literature student reading a book

1. University of Oxford, UK

The Faculty of English Language and Literature at Oxford is by far the largest English department in the UK – explaining why it is top of the list for the subject. This world-leading faculty teaches the complete history of English, encompassing subjects from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. More recently it has added further strings to its bow by including film studies and world literature.

2. University of Cambridge, UK

Cambridge’s Faculty of English is an international centre of excellence for the study, teaching, and research of literature and literary criticism. Cambridge regularly tops leaderboards for the teaching of English and is known for employing academics that are amongst the thought leaders in their field.

3. Harvard University, USA

Harvard’s English students have previously voted their college experience more highly than those studying any other discipline at the university. This is a great achievement for a department which prides itself on keeping classes small and personal, with the choice of modules on offer varied and flexible.

Engineering – Chemical

Two chemical engineering students working in a lab

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

The Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT pretty much sets the global standard for teaching and research in the discipline. For 28 years running, MIT has topped the US News & World Report for their graduate and undergraduate chemical engineering programmes. The department boasts both an impressive alumni and teaching staff. As well as focusing on learning and research, the department includes social responsibility as a key area of their mission.

2. Stanford University, USA

Research is a huge emphasis of Stanford’s Department of Chemical Engineering, with almost 50% of undergraduates studying for a master’s or honours research thesis. So it comes as no surprise that students are encouraged to develop individual research plans. With a focus on how chemical engineering can shape the future, the department has recently organised itself into three groups: chemistry of life, chemistry of energy and chemistry of the environment.

3. National University of Singapore, Singapore

The chemical engineering programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is a forward-thinking degree programme that not only teaches students to design, develop and operate chemical processes, but also to do it in an environmentally sustainable way. The programme prepares students for future employment especially in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Law and Legal Studies

Law students working on their MacBooks

1. Harvard University, USA

Harvard Law School offers one of the most superior legal educations in the world and is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States. The curriculum at Harvard includes a vast 400 courses, seminars and reading groups for students to participate in – the largest offering of any law school in the United States. The degree programmes on offer enable students to become a Juris Doctor (JD) or a Master of Law (LLM).

2. University of Oxford, UK

The Faculty of Law at Oxford is one of the largest law schools in the UK and welcomes a diverse body of students from all over the world. As well as offering the largest doctoral in law in the English-speaking world, Oxford teaches undergraduate and graduate degrees in tutorial pairs as well as classes, meaning each student’s work receives undivided attention.

3. University of Cambridge, UK

Roughly 6% of Cambridge students are studying law, with about 700 undergraduate and 250 graduate students. Cambridge has strong international links with partner institutions around the globe and provides the Programme in European Private Law for postgraduates, which is designed for doctorate students who work in private law in the European context.


Mathematics students working in a large classroom

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

MIT’s Mathematics Department is a world leader in mathematics education and includes many international students in its cohort of around 100 graduate and 360 undergraduate students. The department has a big focus on utilising connections with other disciplines in order to gain new insights and applications of mathematics.

2. Stanford University, USA

The goal of the mathematics department at Stanford is not just to teach the students maths, but to improve their skills in thinking, problem solving, analysing data and working in groups. This will give the students the tools needed for careers in a wide range of industries such as finance, business, technology and law.

3. University of Cambridge, UK

Cambridge’s Faculty of Mathematics is split into two sections: the Department of Applied Mathematics & Theoretical Physics, and the Department of Pure Mathematics & Mathematical Statistics. The faculty is constantly becoming more and more international in terms of its students and staff. The university is also home to the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Science, an important international research institute in the field.


Trainee doctors looking at an X-ray

1. Harvard University, USA

The world’s number one medical school, Harvard is a pioneer in teaching methods, curriculum development and research. More than 11,000 individuals work in Harvard’s Faculty of Medicine, whether it’s in a lab, clinic or classroom. Harvard’s most impressive feature is its affiliation agreement with 16 of the top hospitals and research institutes in the world.

2. University of Oxford, UK

The Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford is globally recognised for excellence in biomedical and clinical teaching and research. The department is large with 1,600 undergraduate and 1,400 graduate students. In terms of its status worldwide, Oxford has consistently been at the top spot in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for medicine, as well as topping league tables for medical student satisfaction in the UK’s National Student Survey.

3. Stanford University, USA

A leader in the so-called biomedical revolution, the medical school at Stanford University offers high-level teaching as well as pioneering research. The proximity to Silicon Valley means Stanford Medicine is ideally placed to work together with tech companies to turn medical knowledge into tangible health benefits.


A stethoscope, a pen and a notebook

1. University of Pennsylvania, USA

Penn Nursing Science is the University of Pennsylvania’s school of nursing. Its prestigious reputation comes from offering experiences and resources that are not found at many other schools, including a state-of-the-art simulation centre, classrooms with the latest electronic medical records technology, a leading PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) programme, and intensive clinical experiences with excellent hospital partners. The university is currently the only Ivy League school in the US to offer a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

2. King’s College London, UK

The King’s College Nursing programme lets you study nursing hands-on, doing placements at world-famous London hospitals ever since your first term. 50% of the programme consists of clinical and simulated practice and the other 50% consists of lectures, seminars and guided learning. At King’s College you’ll have state-of-the-art facilities to learn in, including the award-winning Simulation and Interactive Learning Centre, which replicates both hospital and home care environments.

3. Johns Hopkins University, USA

Located in Baltimore, the John Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) is highlighted for its low student-faculty ratio, the number of pathways offered and the high first-year salary amongst graduates. JHSON also openly welcomes many international students. It is one of the few places in the world where schools of nursing, medicine and public health are located next to one another, as well as neighbouring a top-ranked hospital.

    3 Responses

    1. Good info. How to get in there for under graduate architectural course.especially for international students. Any scholarship available.

    2. I am a 3rd year public health student in one of the best college in Ethiopia. My GPA is greater than 3.6 and I need to continue my education in your university. I am female and would you please inform me on how to go about it.

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