Eight departments at Irish universities rank among top 50 in the world

Eight departments at Irish universities rank among top 50 in the world

University College Cork is ranked as one of Ireland’s best research hubs in the QS World University Rankings by Subject on the basis of  citations per paper. Picture: UCC

Eight subject departments at Irish universities have placed within the top 50 globally, with Ireland’s ranking seen as higher education’s “testament to its resilience” to overcoming severe budget restrictions.

The latest round of the QS World University Rankings by Subject shows that Irish higher education subjects are on the rise in the annual global league table, improving 6% overall year-on-year.

The 2023 installment of the table includes independent data on the performance of 173 programmes at 11 Irish universities.

Of its total ranked programmes, 40 improved, 29 declined, and 94 remain unchanged. Ten programmes also ranked for the first time.

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has taken the country’s highest rank at 22 with English Language and Literature, usurping University College Dublin (UCD) in the national top spot.

Overall, UCD is Ireland’s strongest institution in the league table, with 42 subjects ranked, including 13 in the world top 100.

The Long Library at Trinity College Dublin. 
The Long Library at Trinity College Dublin. 

University College Cork (UCC) is one of Ireland’s best research hubs, the rankings found, based on citations per paper.

The university boasts three of the country’s five highest-scoring subjects for this indicator, with its nursing programme, 33rd overall, achieving the highest score.

UCC was also found to be the national leader in ‘employer reputation’ with archaeology, suggesting strong employment prospects for its graduates, according to the ranking. It ranked in the 201 to 250 band.

QS senior vice president Ben Sowter said: 

Ireland’s continued improvement in QS’ subject rankings is a testament to its resilience, having overcome more severe budget restrictions over the past decade than most of its peers in Europe and the UK. 

“With Ireland’s traditional strengths residing primarily in the arts and humanities, it should be encouraging to see its science and technology programmes achieving such success, with four of its 10 highest ranking subjects coming in these fields, life sciences and medicine showing particular strength.” 

Globally, US institutions lead in 32 subjects, with Harvard University found to be the strongest-performing institution, ranking first in 14 subjects. This is two more than last year.

Cambridge University.  
Cambridge University.  

British universities also topped 15 subject tables, with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge leading in four and two subjects respectively.  ETH Zurich was ranked as Europe’s top university, achieving number-one spots in three subjects.

China was also found to have the fifth-highest number of top-50 programs.

The rankings, which are compiled by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, provide comparative analysis on the performance of more than 15,700 individual university programmes, taken by students at 1594 universities across the world.

They include subjects across 54 academic disciplines and five broad faculty areas.

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