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Student News

The UK is the best country in the world to get a degree – if you study one of these subjects

The UK has emerged as the best country in the world for studying eight key subjects - did your uni steal the top spot?
sussex uniThe results of the annual World University Rankings by Subject are out, and while Oxford is the UK’s major winner this year, Cambridge missed out on snatching top spot for any degree subject.

There were also a few surprise winners this year. Sussex University has been declared the world’s number one uni to study Development Studies (stealing the top spot from Harvard in the US), and if you’re looking for a career in sport, Loughborough Uni is officially the best place in the world to prepare you for it.

Of the 46 degree subjects included in the rankings, Oxford took four number one positions - for English, Archaeology, Geography and Anatomy - making it one of only three universities to record world-leading performance in more than one subject.

The others are Harvard University - which has taken 15 top positions - and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which has taken 12.

Did you know you can now study an Oxford University class in Economics online for free?

The UK's world class uni subjects

simply the bestSo what are the top eight subjects the UK is ranking for, and where can you study them?

  1. Anatomy & Physiology - Oxford
  2. Archaeology - Oxford
  3. Art & Design - Royal College of Art
  4. Development Studies - Sussex University
  5. Education - UCL Institute of Education
  6. English Language & Literature - Oxford
  7. Geography - Oxford
  8. Sports - Loughborough University

How does the UK compare globally?

Girl standing behind giant inflatable globeEven though our unis are still some of the best in the world, they’re facing increasingly stiff global competition, the rankings have warned. Eastern Europe and Asia - particularly Russia and China - have started to give the UK a run for its money.

Cambridge also lost their top stop for Maths this year, and although they failed to gain number one position for any degree subject, they're the most consistently-ranking uni in the UK, with top ten spots for most subjects across the board.

However, this year’s list has been described as “less chilling” after last autumn’s overall rankings saw the UK’s performance slip on the world stage.

Ben Sowter, who headed the research for the subject rankings, has said:

Though the UK does see its share of overall places decrease, this is a trend observed by institutions in the US, Canada, and Australia, as other nations grow increasingly competitive.

The upper echelons of the tables remain dominated by the US and UK - and this seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

The best unis in the UK - by faculty

Arts & Humanities

  • Oxford University
  • Cambridge University
  • London School of Economics (LSE)

Engineering & Technology

  • Cambridge University
  • Imperial College London
  • Oxford University

Life Sciences & Medicine

  • Cambridge University
  • Oxford University
  • University College London (UCL)

Natural Sciences

  • Cambridge University
  • Oxford University
  • Imperial College London

Social Sciences & Management

  • LSE
  • Oxford University
  • Cambridge University

You can view the full results here.

Katie Paterson

WRITTEN BY Katie Paterson

Katie Paterson is an accomplished writer from Glasgow. She studied English Literature at the University of Strathclyde, then went on to do a Research Masters in Literature at the University of Amsterdam. As Lead Editor for Save the Student, Katie has covered topics from career tips to ways to make money go further as a student.
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