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Top universities for life sciences & medicine subjects 2022

By Craig O

Updated May 11, 2022 Updated May 11, 2022

The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 reveal the top degree programmes in 51 different subjects across five broad subject areas.

Nine of these subjects fall within the life sciences & medicine subject area, covering a range of degrees connected to biology and medicine. Below is a look at the top-ranked universities for each of these nine subjects, as well as for the overall life sciences & medicine subject ranking which assesses institutions at a faculty level.

What are the top universities for life sciences & medicine?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for life sciences & medicine
Rank University Location
1 Harvard University United States
2 University of Oxford United Kingdom
3 Johns Hopkins University United States
4 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
5 Stanford University United States
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
7 Karolinska Institutet Sweden
8 UCL United Kingdom
9 University of California, San Francisco United States
10 Imperial College London United Kingdom

At a faculty level, life sciences & medicine is a subject area dominated by universities from the US and the UK with only the Karolinska Institutet, a medical university in Stockholm, breaking up the duopoly. It's also the only specialist institution in the top 10.

What are the top universities for agriculture & forestry?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for agriculture & forestry
Rank University Location
1 Wageningen University & Research Netherlands
2 University of California, Davis United States
3 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Sweden
4 Cornell University United States
5 China Agricultural University Mainland China
6 ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Switzerland
7 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States
8 Purdue University United States
9 Norwegian University of Life Sciences Norway
10 Michigan State University United States

There's more international diversity - and more specialist institutions - in the agriculture & forestry top 10. Continental Europe is represented in the top 10 by three universities: Wageningen University & Research, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

What are the top universities for anatomy & physiology?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for anatomy & physiology
Rank University Location
1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 Stanford University United States
4 Johns Hopkins University United States
5 Columbia University United States
6 UCL United Kingdom
7 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States
=8 Duke University United States
=8 University of British Columbia Canada
=8 University of Toronto Canada

North America is clearly the place to study anatomy & physiology with the US and Canada dominating this year's top 10. However, the top two universities ahead of third-placed Stanford are both from the UK - the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

What are the top universities for biological sciences?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for biological sciences
Rank University Location
1 Harvard University United States
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States
3 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
4 Stanford University United States
5 University of Oxford United Kingdom
6 ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Switzerland
7 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States
8 University of California, San Diego (UCSD) United States
9 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States
10 Yale University United States

Although none are at the very top of the ranking, the presence of three Californian universities in the biological sciences top 10 suggests the west coast of the US has plenty of options for aspiring biologists. ETH Zurich is the only university in the top 10 to not be located in either the US or the UK.

Looking for an alternative degree to medicine which will still lead to a career in healthcare? Find out how biological sciences is an option.

What are the top universities for dentistry?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for dentistry
Rank University Location
1 Karolinska Institutet Sweden
=2 Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) Netherlands
=2 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong SAR
4 University of Gothenburg Sweden
5 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
6 Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan
7 University of Bern Switzerland
8 University of Zurich Switzerland
=9 King's College London United Kingdom
=9 University of California, San Francisco United States

Few things are as important as good dental hygiene so it's probably reassuring that the top 10 universities for dentistry is so varied geographically. Students interested in becoming a dentist or studying dentistry can choose between specialist institutions like the Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA) or more historic universities like King's College London.

What are the top universities for medicine?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for medicine
Rank University Location
1 Harvard University United States
2 University of Oxford United Kingdom
3 Stanford University United States
4 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
5 Johns Hopkins University United States
6 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States
7 UCL United Kingdom
8 Imperial College London United Kingdom
9 Yale University United States
10 University of Toronto Canada

Medicine is arguably the most high-profile subject within this area of study, with medical degrees among some of the longest (and most expensive) that you can choose to study. However, the work can be extremely rewarding, something which has been amply demonstrated by global events in the last few years as healthcare professionals treated COVID-19 patients.

Harvard University tops this year's ranking - one of five US universities in the top 10.

What are the top universities for nursing?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for nursing
Rank University Location
1 University of Pennsylvania United States
2 King's College London United Kingdom
3 Johns Hopkins University United States
4 University of Washington United States
5 University of Southampton United Kingdom
6 University of Manchester United Kingdom
7 Yale University United States
8 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill United States
9 University of Alberta Canada
10 University of Toronto Canada

An equally vital part of any healthcare structure, nurses work at the very frontline of patient care. This year's top 10 sees a few universities appear in this article for the first time, including two UK institutions: the University of Southampton and the University of Manchester.

What are the top universities for pharmacy & pharmacology?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for pharmacy & pharmacology
Rank University Location
1 Monash University Australia
2 Harvard University United States
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
4 UCL United Kingdom
5 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
6 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
7 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill United States
8 Johns Hopkins University United States
9 University of Toronto Canada
10 University of California, San Diego (UCSD) United States

Monash University may be the only Australian university in the top 10 for pharmacy & pharmacology but it holds the honour of also being the world's best university for the subject, ranking ahead of institutions from the US, UK and Canada.

The next highest Australian university of the subject is the University of Sydney which is ranked joint 14th, tied with the UK's University of Manchester.

What are the top universities for psychology?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for psychology
Rank University Location
1 Harvard University United States
2 Stanford University United States
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
4 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
5 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States
6 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States
7 UCL United Kingdom
8 Yale University United States
9 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
10 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States

If exploring the mysteries of the human mind sounds like an exciting way to spend a lifetime, a psychology degree might be the ideal first step in that journey. US universities dominate the top 10, with Harvard and Stanford taking first and second place respectively.

What are the top universities for veterinary science?

QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022: Top universities for veterinary science
Rank University Location
1 Royal Veterinary College, University of London United Kingdom
2 University of California, Davis United States
3 Utrecht University Netherlands
4 Cornell University United States
5 University of Guelph Canada
6 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
7 Vetsuisse Faculty Bern and Zurich Switzerland
8 University of Copenhagen Denmark
9 University of Pennsylvania United States
10 Ohio State University United States

Given the highly specialised nature of a veterinary science education, it's no big surprise to see a few specialist institutions in the top 10 for this subject, with London's Royal Veterinary College taking the honour of being the top university in the world for veterinary science. Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark are other European locations to feature in the top 10.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

This article was originally published in May 2022 .

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Written by

As Head of Content, Craig is responsible for all articles and guides published across TopUniversities and TopMBA. He has nearly 10 years of experience writing for a student audience and extensive knowledge of universities and study programs around the world.

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