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Top Universities in Australia by Subject 2020

Top Universities in Australia by Subject 2020 main image

38 universities in Australia are included in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020. Covering 48 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 48 subjects in this year’s rankings.

Accounting & Finance

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) remains Australia’s highest ranked university for accounting and finance, ranked at 15th globally. There are 17 other Australian universities ranked in this subject, one fewer than last year.

Agriculture & Forestry

Despite falling eight places this year, The University of Queensland (UQ) is Australia’s highest ranked university for agriculture and forestry, ranked at 25th worldwide. A further 22 Australian institutions are ranked this year.

Anatomy & Physiology

The University of Melbourne drops four places this year but remains Australia’s highest-ranked university for anatomy and physiology, in 13th place globally out of seven Australian schools in the rankings.

Anthropology

Australian National University (ANU)

The Australian National University (ANU) is the top place in Australia to study anthropology again this year, in an impressive joint fourth place globally. Five more Australian schools are featured in the rankings this year, with three of these making it into the global top 50.

Archaeology

The Australian National University (ANU) is once again the best university in Australia for archaeology, rising six places this year to come joint 11th globally. A further 10 institutions in Australia are in the archaeology rankings, including the University of Sydney in 31st place.

Architecture

A total of 15 Australian architecture schools feature in the rankings this year, with the highest ranked program at The University of Melbourne in 17th place globally. A further three Australian schools feature in the global top 50 for the subject.

Art & Design

RMIT University

One Australian school narrowly misses out on a spot in the global top 10 for art and design – Melbourne’s RMIT University in 11th place. A further 12 schools make it into the art and design rankings, including four in the top 50.

Biological Sciences

There are an impressive 24 universities in Australia in the rankings for biological sciences, including three in the global top 50. The highest ranked Australian school this year is The University of Melbourne in 36th place, down seven places from 2019.

Business & Management

The University of Melbourne is once again the best Australian university for business and management, in 26th place globally. There’s a further 22 Australian business schools in the rankings, including three in the top 20.

Chemistry

Monash University is the top ranked institution out of 22 entrants in Australia, ranking in joint 40th place globally, down five places from last year.

Chemical Engineering

Out of 10 Australian universities ranked for chemical engineering, four made it into the global top 50. Top of the pile is Monash University in 29th place.

Civil & Structural Engineering

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Australia has a significant number of institutions in the global top 50 for civil and structural engineering, with six out of a total of 15 schools in the region ranking amongst the top schools in the world. The country’s highest ranked school is The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 11th place.

Classics & Ancient History

Only one school from Australia placed in the rankings this year for classics and ancient history – new entrant Macquarie University in 44th place.

Communication & Media Studies

16 Australian universities feature in the rankings for communication and media studies this year, including five in the global top 50. The top ranked is Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in 17th place globally.

Computer Science & Information Systems

Out of 23 Australian schools in the rankings for computer science and information systems, three made it into the global top 50. The highest ranked of these is The University of Melbourne, in 32nd place.

Dentistry

The University of Melbourne

There are two Australian universities featured in the rankings for dentistry this year, with The University of Melbourne the highest ranked institution in 26th place.

Development Studies

Five Australian universities feature in the rankings for development studies this year, including three in the global top 50. The highest ranked institution is the Australian National University (ANU), in 13th place.

Earth & Marine Sciences

The Australian National University (ANU) comes out on top again for earth and marine sciences, cracking into the global top 10 in ninth place globally. There are a further 12 Australian universities in the rankings for the subject.

Economics & Econometrics

There are 22 Australian universities in the rankings for economics and econometrics this year, including five in the top 50. The highest ranked Australian program can be found at The University of Melbourne, in 23rd place.

Education

Two universities share the crown for the top Australian university to study education - Monash University and The University of Melbourne in joint 12th place globally. A further 25 Australian programs feature in the education rankings.

Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Out of 21 Australian universities featured in the ranking for electrical and electronic engineering, two universities make it into the top 50 globally - The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Melbourne in 35th and 36th place respectively.

English Language & Literature

There are 16 Australian universities featured in the rankings for English language and literature this year, including six in the global top 50. The highest ranked program can be found at The University of Melbourne, which falls one place this year to 18th globally.

Environmental Sciences

The University of Queensland

Out of 24 Australian universities in the rankings for environmental sciences, four make it into the top 50 globally. The University of Queensland (UQ) is the highest ranked institution despite falling three places this year to 14th.

Geography

There are 14 Australian universities in the global rankings for geography, including one entrant in the global top 10 – the Australian National University (ANU) is the country’s highest ranked program in sixth place.

History

Eight Australian programs feature in the history rankings this year, but the highest ranked course can be found at the Australian National University (ANU), which narrowly misses out on a spot in the top 10, ranked 12th globally.

Hospitality & Leisure Management

There are three hospitality and leisure management programs in Australia featured in the global rankings this year. The highest ranked of these can be found at Griffith University, which climbs five places this year to rank 15th globally.

Law

Some of the best law programs in the world can be found in Australia, with six out of the 18 programs ranked making their way into the top 50 globally. The highest-ranked program can be found at The University of Melbourne which drops four places this year to place 10th globally.

Library & Information Management

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

One of the smallest subject rankings, 50 library and information management programs across the world were ranked, including three Australian schools. The highest ranked of these is University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in 32nd place globally.

Linguistics

14 linguistics programs in Australia were included in the rankings this year, including four in the global top 50. The top ranked program in the country can be found at the Australian National University (ANU) in 15th place.

Materials Science

There are 10 Australian materials science programs featured in this year’s rankings for materials science – the highest ranked program is at The University of New South Wales (UNSW), ranked 42nd globally.

Mathematics

Mathematics is one of the largest subject rankings, with 501 schools ranked globally. 18 Australian schools feature in the rankings, with The University of Melbourne rising nine places this year to 32nd place, the highest ranked Australian school.

Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering

There are 18 Australian schools ranked for mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering. However, only one school made it into the global top 50 this year - The University of Melbourne in 50th place.

Medicine

Medicine is a mammoth ranking, with 600 programs worldwide included, including 22 in Australia. The highest ranked medicine program in the country can be found at The University of Melbourne in joint 16th place.

Mineral & Mining Engineering

Curtin University

Australia is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to mineral and mining engineering courses, with half of the global top 10 made up of Australian schools. The highest ranked of these can be found at Curtin University, which ranks second globally.

Modern Languages

Nine Australian schools feature in the rankings for modern languages, including four in the global top 50. The highest ranked of these is The University of Melbourne in 24th place.

Nursing

Australia performs very well in the nursing rankings this year, with 17 schools included in the global table, including 10 in the global top 50. The top ranked school in Australia is the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) which climbs three places this year to seventh globally.

Performing Arts

Australian schools ‘perform’ well for performing arts, with nine schools in the rankings, including five in the global top 50. The highest ranked of these is The University of Sydney in 15th place worldwide.

Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Monash University

Australia is home to the second best pharmacy and pharmacology program in the world, at Monash University. A further 13 Australian programs feature in the rankings, including three in the top 50.

Philosophy

There are 12 philosophy programs in Australia featured in the rankings, including four in the top 50. Despite falling two places this year, the Australian National University (ANU) is still top in the country in seventh place globally.

Physics & Astronomy

Another large ranking, with 600 schools included, 18 Australian schools feature in the physics and astronomy rankings. However, only one school made it into the global top 50 – the Australian National University (ANU) in 45th place.

Politics & International Studies

11 Australian schools feature in the rankings for politics and international studies, including three in the top 50 worldwide. The highest ranked school is, once again, the Australian National University (ANU) in eighth place globally.

Psychology

There are 20 Australian schools featured in the ranking for psychology, including five in the global top 50. The highest ranked of these is The University of Melbourne in joint 17th place.

Social Policy & Administration

Despite only having six schools featured in the ranking, Australia performs well for social policy and administration, with four schools in the global top 50. The highest ranked is the Australian National University (ANU), which drops out of the top 10 this year to 13th place.

Sociology

20 Australian schools feature in the sociology rankings this year, including five in the global top 50. The highest ranked school is a top 10 entrant, with the Australian National University (ANU) ranked ninth worldwide.

Sports-related Subjects

Australian schools perform extremely well for sports-related subjects, out of 15 schools featured in the ranking, seven are in the global top 50, including three in the global top 10. The highest ranked institution is The University of Queensland (UQ), which drops one place this year to third.

Statistics & Operational Research

Statistically, Australia performs well for statistics and operational research, with 10 programs in the global ranking. The highest ranked program can be found at The University of Melbourne which drops eight places this year to joint 32nd place.

Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies

The University of Sydney

Three Australian institutions feature in the rankings this year for theology, divinity and religious studies, all at 51-100: Monash University, The University of Melbourne and The University of Sydney.

Veterinary Science

There are four Australian veterinary science programs featured in the rankings. The University of Sydney is the top ranked program despite falling out of the top 10 this year, in 12th place.

 

At a glance: top Australian universities

University

Amount of number one ranks for Australia in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

The University of Melbourne

18*

Australian National University (ANU)

14*

Monash University

5*

The University of New South Wales (UNSW)

5

The University of Queensland (UQ)

3

The University of Sydney

2*

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

2

Curtin University

1

Griffith University

1

Macquarie University

1

Queensland University of Technology

1

RMIT University

1

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

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Written by Julia Gilmore
Julia is the Assistant Editor for TopUniversities, publishing articles for students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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