Top universities in Australia by subject | Top Universities
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Top universities in Australia by subject

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated Apr 29, 2024
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37 different universities from Australia are included in this year’s QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022. Covering 51 different subjects, this year’s subject rankings are the easiest way to see which top Australian universities are considered to be the best for your chosen area of study.

Need inspiration to help you choose where to study in Australia? Here’s a breakdown of which university is the best in Australia for each of the subjects in this year’s rankings.

Accounting & Finance

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is Australia’s highest-ranked university for accounting and finance this year, down slightly at 20th. 17 other top Australian universities are featured in this ranking.

Agriculture & Forestry

24 Australian universities feature in this year’s agriculture ranking and the University of Queensland (UQ) retains its number one spot in Australia, ranking in joint 16th

Anatomy & Physiology

Ranked 12th in the world, the University of Sydney has taken over the University of Melbourne as the best university in Australia for studying anatomy & physiology. Eight other Australian institutions are included this year.

Anthropology

ANU

The Australian National University (ANU) maintains its position of joint sixth in this year’s anthropology ranking, with eight more Australian universities featured among the world’s best for this subject.

Archaeology

The Australian National University (ANU) is the best place to study archaeology in Australia again this year, improving by two places globally to 11th this year. ANU is one of 12 Australian universities to be included in this year’s ranking, with the University of Sydney also featuring in the world’s top 40.

Architecture

The University of Melbourne is one of four Australian universities to be ranked among the top 50 in the world for architecture this year, in 24th place. 16 Australian institutions are included in total.

Art & Design

RMIT University continues to be the highest ranked Australian institution for art and design, ranked 15th this year, with 12 more universities joining it in this year’s ranking.

Biological Sciences

The University of Melbourne is ranked ahead of 23 other Australian universities in this year’s biological sciences ranking, at joint 41st. Also in the top 50 are the University of Queensland and the Australian National University.

Business & Management Studies

The University of Melbourne is the best university in Australia for studying business & management studies. Ranked joint 34th in the world, it comes ahead of 22 other Australian universities.

Chemical Engineering

Monash University claims the top spot for Australia in the chemical engineering ranking 34th place, with nine other Australian institutions featured.

Chemistry

Of the 22 Australian universities ranked for chemistry this year, Monash University is top of the pile this year, ranking joint 37th

Civil & Structural Engineering

Down one place to rank 13th in the world, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is the best university in Australia for civil engineering. 13 other Australian institutions are also ranked.

Classics & Ancient History

Two Australian universities were ranked this year for classics & ancient history, with Macquarie University ranking 44th, ahead of the University of Sydney.

Communication & Media Studies

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) continues to be the top Australian university for communication & media studies. Now ranked 15th in the world, QUT is one of 18 universities to be included in this year’s ranking.

Computer Science & Information Systems

architecture schools

22 Australian institutions are ranked in the world’s top 500 universities for computer science this year. The University of Melbourne can proudly boast of being the best of the bunch, although it went down four places to rank 43rd.

Dentistry

Only four Australian universities are ranked for dentistry this year. The University of Adelaide takes the top spot, ranked in 25th place, up from nine places from last year.

Development Studies

The University of Melbourne takes over from the Australian National University (ANU) as the best place in Australia for studying development studies, ranking 13th. Seven universities are ranked in total.

Earth & Marine Sciences

The Australian National University (ANU) is the best university in Australia for earth & marine sciences, and is also the 14th best university in the world for this subject. 12 other Australian universities are ranked this year, including another five in the top 50.

Economics & Econometrics

Of the 20 Australian universities ranked for economics, the Australian National University (ANU) is the best. Ranked 33rd globally this year, ANU is one place ahead of the University of Melbourne.

Education & Training

architecture ranking

Three Australian universities are within the world’s top 30 universities for education, meaning you’re spoilt for choice. 28 institutions are ranked in total, but the University of Melbourne is the pick of the bunch, ranked 12th in the world.

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Although there are 20 Australian universities in this year’s electrical & electronic engineering ranking, only two of these are included in the world’s top 50: the University of New South Wales (UNSW) at 37th, and the University of Melbourne in joint 40th.

English Language & Literature

As you’d expect from an English-speaking location, there are plenty of Australian universities included in this year’s English language & literature ranking. The University of Sydney is the highest-ranked of these in 18th place, retaining its position from last year.

Environmental Sciences

Four Australian universities are in the top 30 in the world for environmental sciences, with the University of Queensland (UQ) ranked 19th, ahead of 25 other top universities in Australia.

Geography

The Australian National University (ANU) ranks 7th in this year’s geography ranking. 14 more top universities in Australia are featured, including three more in the top 20.

History

The Australian National University (ANU) retains its title as the best place in Australia to study history, continuing to rank 12th this year. It’s one of ten universities from Australia in this year’s ranking, three of which are in the world’s top 50.

Hospitality & Leisure Management

Only ten Australian universities are ranked this year for hospitality & leisure management. Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS), ranked joint 21st, replaces Griffith University as the highest ranked Australian institution for this subject.

Law

Three universities out of 20 rank within the top 20 globally. Ranked 12th, the University of Melbourne continues to be the best place to study law in Australia. 

Library & Information Management

RMIT University

Only four universities from Australia are ranked for library & information management, with the University of Technology Sydney coming out on top, having been ranked 22nd in the world.

Linguistics

The University of Melbourne is ranked the best in Australia for studying linguistics, overtaking the Australian National University (ANU), ranking 25th. 13 more Australian universities are in this year’s ranking.

Materials Science

Monash University and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) both feature in the top 50 of the materials science ranking, ranked join 35th and joint 39th respectively. 14 other Australian universities are also ranked.

Mathematics

Of the 17 Australian universities ranked for mathematics this year, the University of Melbourne comes out on top this year in joint 41st place, with the Australian National University (ANU) also featuring in the global top 50 in joint 47th place.

Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering

Of the 18 top universities in Australia in the mechanical engineering ranking, four are ranked 50-100, with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) being the best place to study in 50th place.

Medicine

Aspiring doctors have 26 Australian universities to choose between from in this year’s ranking of top medical schools, with the University of Sydney leading the way in 18th place globally. Two places lower is the University of Melbourne.

Mineral & Mining Engineering

Curtin University

Curtin University is the best university in Australia for mineral & mining engineering and is also the second-best university in the world for this subject. Three more Australian institutions are included in the world’s top 10 and a further four are within the top 30.

Modern Languages

This year’s modern languages ranking sees the University of Melbourne rank joint 26th for this subject and number one in Australia, overtaking last year’s leader the University of Sydney, which is eight places behind. Seven other Australian universities are also ranked.

Nursing

Despite falling three places this year, the University of Syndey takes over from the University of Technology Sydney to be the best university in Australia for nursing. 18 other Australian universities are included in this year’s ranking. 

Performing Arts

Despite the University of Melbourne losing 20 places in this year’s performing arts ranking, it remains the top university in Australia for this subject at 49th. Six Australian universities are featured in total.

Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Ranked number one in the world this year, Monash University is also the best university in Australia for pharmacy & pharmacology. 16 other Australian universities are ranked too, two of which are also in the world’s top 50.

Philosophy

The Australian National University (ANU) made an impressive leap in this year’s philosophy ranking, climbing two places to now rank third in the world for this subject. Also improving its position this year is Monash University, up 2 places to rank joint 27th. Nine more top universities in Australia are featured among the world’s best for this subject.

Physics & Astronomy

Ranked 35th for physics & astronomy this year, the Australian National University (ANU) continues to be the highest ranked Australian university for this subject. 16 top universities in Australia are ranked in total this year. 

Politics & International Studies

Despite falling two places to 11th in the world this year, the Australian National University (ANU) remains the best place in Australia to study politics. 11 universities from Australia are included in this year’s ranking, two of which are in the top 50 globally. 

Psychology

Gaining three places to rank joint 17th in the world, the University of Melbourne is the best place to study psychology in Australia this year. 24 other Australian universities are ranked beneath Melbourne, six of which are also in the top 50 in the world.

Social Policy & Administration

One of six Australian universities to be ranked for social policy & administration this year, the University of Melbourne climbed two places to rank 12th in the world for this subject.

Sociology

Ranked 15th in the world, the Australian National University (ANU) retains its title as the best university in Australia for studying sociology. 20 Australian institutions are ranked in total.

Sports-related Subjects

University of Queensland

Ranked second in the world, the University of Queensland (UQ) takes the top spot for the subject in Australia, 18 other Australian institutions ranked beneath those two. Three other universities feature in the top 10 globally. 

Statistics & Operational Research

Of the 10 Australian universities ranked for statistics in this year’s subject ranking, six are within the top 51-100, including Monash University, the Australian National University (ANU), the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney. 

Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies

Only four Australian universities are included in this year’s theology ranking, with the Australian Catholic University the highest-ranked of these at 26th.

Veterinary Science

Four Australian universities are included in this year’s veterinary science ranking, with the University of Melbourne taking over the University of Sydney to claim the honor of being the best, ranking 21st in the world.

At a glance: top Australian universities

University

Amount of number one ranks for Australia in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022

University of Melbourne

15*

Australian National University (ANU)

10*

University of Sydney

5*

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

5*

Monash University

4*

University of Queensland

4*

RMIT University

1

Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS)

1

Curtin University

1

University of Technology Sydney

1

*indicates one number-one ranking has been shared with another university

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