In Brief

The world's best universities by subject

A number of UK universities have been ranked the best in the world in subjects that include English language and literature, geography and art and design.

This year's QS World University Rankings has the University of Sussex top for development studies, while Loughborough University comes joint-first for sports-related subjects.

London's Royal College of Art is top for art and design and the Institute of Education, part of University College London, is in first place for education.

The University of Oxford is rated top for five subjects: English language and literature; geography; anatomy and physiology; social policy and administration, and archaeology.

Globally, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) dominate the list, topping the standings in 15 and 12 subjects respectively.

Although the University of Cambridge fails to come first in any subject, it's named as the most consistently high performer – appearing in the top ten for the most subjects – followed by the University of California, Berkeley.

The rankings, which are based on 43 million research papers and 305,000 responses to an academic survey, "show the strengths of in-depth specialisms, rather than basing comparisons on an overall university ranking", says the BBC.

Ben Sowter, head of research for QS, says the UK does particularly well in these rankings which "drill down" to subject level.

"Subject rankings are becoming more and more influential" as competition for places increases globally, he adds.

Here's the list of the top university for each subject:

Accounting and finance: Harvard University, US

Agriculture and forestry: Wageningen University, Netherlands

Anatomy and physiology: University of Oxford, UK

Anthropology: Harvard University, US

Archaeology: University of Oxford, UK

Architecture: MIT, US

Art and design: Royal College of Art, UK

Biological sciences: Harvard University, US

Business and management: Harvard University, US

Chemical engineering: MIT, US

Chemistry: MIT, US

CiviI and structural engineering: MIT, US

Communication and media studies: University of Southern California, US

Computer science: MIT, US

Dentistry: The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Development studies: University of Sussex, UK

Earth and marine sciences: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland

Economics and econometrics: MIT, US

Education: University College London (UCL), UK

Electrical and electronic engineering: MIT, US

English language and literature: University of Oxford, UK

Environmental sciences: University of California, US

Geography: University of Oxford, UK

History: Harvard University, US

Hospitality and leisure management: University of Nevada, US

Law: Harvard University

Linguistics: MIT, US

Materials science: MIT, US

Mathematics: MIT, US

Mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering: MIT, US

Medicine: Harvard University, US

Modern languages: Harvard University, US

Nursing: University of Pennsylvania, US

Performing arts: The Juilliard School, US

Pharmacy and pharmacology: Harvard University, US

Philosophy: University of Pittsburgh, US

Physics and astronomy: MIT, US

Politics and international studies: Harvard University, US

Psychology: Harvard University, US

Social policy and administration: University of Oxford, UK

Sociology: Harvard University, US

Sports-related subjects: Loughborough University, UK, and the University of Sydney, Australia

Statistics: Harvard University, US

Theology, divinity and religious studies: Harvard University, US

Veterinary science: University of California, US

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