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Top Universities for Arts and Humanities

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The QS World University Rankings by Subject includes a ranking of more than 500 of the world’s top universities for the broad subject area of arts and humanities, based on a methodology which assesses employer and academic reputations as well as citations per faculty.

Read on for an overview of the top universities for arts and humanities in each world region, starting with a look at the top 10.

Top 10 Universities for the Arts & Humanities subject area

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

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Top universities for arts and humanities in the US & Canada

The US boasts 95 positions out of the 504 possible places in the arts and humanities ranking, with seven institutions in the top 10 above. A further 21 US universities are in the global top 100 for this broad subject area, including New York University (NYU) (12th), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (16th), University of Chicago (=18th) and Cornell University (32nd).

Heading north, Canada claims 22 of the world’s top universities for arts and humanities, led by the University of Toronto at joint 18th. Other top Canadian institutions for this area include the University of British Columbia (=29th) and McGill University (43rd).

Top universities for arts and humanities in Europe

Many the world’s top universities for arts and humanities are found in Europe. 59 are found in the United Kingdom, 19 of which are in the top 100. As well as the prestigious Oxbridge duo in the top 10 above, other high-ranking UK universities for this broad subject area include the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (14th), UCL (University College London) (=18th) and the University of Edinburgh (22nd).

Germany also performs well this year and is represented by 34 of the world’s top universities for arts and humanities, including five in the top 100. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (35th) continues to be the highest-ranked German institution for this broad subject area, and is joined in the top 50 by Freie Universitaet Berlin (37th). 

Italy is next with 19 representatives in the arts and humanities ranking, led by the Università di Bologna (UNIBO) at 59th. Meanwhile Spain has 16 entrants, including the University Complutense Madrid at joint 101st.

Next up is France, which claims 15 of the world’s top universities for arts and humanities, with two in the top 100: Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) (=26th) and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (=61st).

The Netherlands meanwhile has 11 top arts and humanities schools, again with two in the top 100: Leiden University (49th) and the University of Amsterdam (53rd).

Elsewhere, Belgium, Ireland and Sweden each have seven top universities for arts and humanities, including one each in the top 100: Belgium’s KU Leuven (57th), Ireland’s University College Dublin (UCD) (=83rd) and Sweden’s Stockholm University (80th).

Russia and Switzerland have six entrants in the ranking each, with Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia’s highest ranked at 70th, while the Swiss ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Zurich also both feature in the top 100.

Five more top arts and humanities schools are based within Denmark, two of which are in the top 100: the University of Copenhagen (58th) and Aarhus University (=93rd).

Austria, Finland and Portugal have three entrants in the ranking apiece, with the Finnish University of Helsinki the highest-ranked at joint 75th. Norway has three representatives, including the University of Oslo at joint 103rd.

The Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Romania have two entrants in the arts and humanities ranking each – of these five countries, Hungary’s Central European University ranks best at joint 194th.

Finally, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Serbia and Slovenia all have one top university for arts and humanities each, with Estonia’s University of Tartu the highest-ranked at joint 301st.

Top universities for arts and humanities in Asia

China has the most top universities for arts and humanities in Asia with 20, of which three are in the top 50: Peking University (23rd), Tsinghua University (44th) and Fudan University (50th).

Japan has 17 entrants ranked among the world’s best for arts and humanities, again with three spots in the top 50 for this broad subject area: the University of Tokyo (11th), Kyoto University (=26th) and Waseda University (=45th).

South Korea and Taiwan have 12 top universities for arts and humanities each, with four South Korean institutions featured in the top 100, including Seoul National University (SNU) (28th), while the highest-ranked Taiwanese institution for this subject area is National Taiwan University (NTU) (=29th).

Nine more top arts and humanities universities are claimed by Malaysia, with Universiti Malaya (UM) jumping from 127th in the previous year’s ranking to joint 85th in 2017.

Hong Kong is home to eight of the world’s best universities in this subject area, of which three rank in the global top 100: the University of Hong Kong (13th), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) (31st) and the City University of Hong Kong (54th).

India and the Philippines have three entries in the arts and humanities ranking each, while Singapore and Thailand have two. Singapore’s two representatives are both ranked well: National University of Singapore (NUS) is 21st, while Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) is joint 51st. India and Thailand’s highest ranked entries both share joint 210th place: Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) and the University of Delhi (India). 

Finally, the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (Macau) is also new to this year’s ranking with one entrant, the University of Macau (ranked 401-450).

Top universities for arts and humanities in Australia & New Zealand

Of the 27 top arts and humanities schools in Australia, seven are in the top 100. As well as the Australian National University in the top 10, other Australian universities to perform well include the University of Sydney (15th), the University of Melbourne (17th) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia) (36th).

Seven more top universities for arts and humanities are found in New Zealand, led by the University of Auckland at 25th. Also in the top 100 are Victoria University of Wellington (55th) and the University of Otago (=88th).

Top universities for arts and humanities in Latin America

Of the 25 top arts and humanities schools in Latin America, the majority (eight) are found in Brazil, led by Universidade de São Paulo (USP) at joint 114th.

Next up is Chile with six entrants in the ranking, including Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) at joint 98th.

Colombia and Mexico have four representatives each, with Mexico’s highest-ranked entrant also the best performer in the whole of Latin America for this subject area: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).

Lastly, Argentina has two top arts and humanities schools, led by Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) at joint 118th, while Peru enters the ranking this year with one institution.

Top universities for arts and humanities in Africa & the Middle East

Six of the world’s best universities for arts and humanities can be found in South Africa, led by the University of Cape Town at joint 160th. Egypt has two representatives in the ranking, including the American University in Cairo at joint 282nd.

In the Middle East, Turkey is home to four institutions featured among the most prestigious for arts and humanities, including Bogaziçi Üniversitesi at 401-450. Israel has three entrants in the ranking, led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at joint 202nd.

Finally, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia both have one representative in the arts and humanities ranking.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
Sabrina is a content writer for TopUniversities.com, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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I need guidelines on how I can apply for a study in any abroad university. My interest is Politics or (and) Philosophy

Hi Akanmu, our guide on how to apply to university abroad should help to get you started, and includes advice on admissions tests and student visas - you can find advice on studying in particular study destinations in our country guides here. Hope this helps!