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Twelve Durham University subjects ranked in world top 50


Durham University has performed very strongly in the prestigious QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, with 12 of its subjects ranked in the world top 50.

The rankings, announced today (Wednesday 22 March) assessed over 18,300 subjects from 1,597 institutions across the world, based on academic and employer reputation, citations per academic paper, impact and quality of research and international research collaboration factors.

12 of Durham’s subjects have been ranked in the world top 50: Theology & Religion (6th), Classics & Ancient History (8th), Archaeology (10th), Geography (14th), Anthropology (23rd), Philosophy (32nd), History (joint 38th), English Literature (38th), Geology (joint 46th), Earth Sciences (joint 46th), Law (46th) and Geophysics (47th).

Nine of Durham’s subjects have enhanced their world top 100 ranking.

In addition, two subject areas are in the world top 100 – Arts and Humanities is placed 32nd, up from 41st last year, and Natural Sciences ranks joint 74th, up from 99th in 2022.

Theology and Religion at Durham is where tradition, theology and lived religion are respected, studied and brought into critical conversation. The subject has received a very high academic reputation score, which showcases the global prominence of Durham’s researchers, and 3rd position in the UK.

Durham’s Classics and Ancient History graduates are highly sought-after by global employers as is reflected by an excellent score in this category.

The high impact and significance of Durham’s Archaeology has been recognised with a score of 94.9 and domestic ranking of 4th. It has consistently been ranked in the world top 10 for its world-class research and teaching specialisms.

New research conducted by Durham’s Archaeology Department includes evidence of early Ice Age writing and the first solid evidence that Vikings brought animals to Britain.  

Durham’s Geography has moved up to 14th place in the world rank from 15th last year and scored 97.9 points in the world for citations per paper. This reflects the strong impact and quality of work produced by researchers and academics at Durham’s Geography Department.

Prominent research carried out by Durham’s Geography Department includes the research on the surface melting around the world’s largest ice sheet (

Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University, said: “Durham is a world-leading university, and our academic excellence and impact is reflected in our global rankings.

“Every year our subjects are highly rated in the global league table rankings, and it is a true credit to the outstanding teaching and research carried out at our University.

“We aim to inspire our people to achieve extraordinary things and I am delighted to see so many of our subjects ranked in the world top 50 and top 100 again in this very prestigious ranking.”

Durham is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading universities. It is ranked 92nd in the QS World University Rankings 2023, 6th in the Guardian University Guide 2023 and Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, and The Complete University Guide 2022. Durham is also regularly ranked in the top ten universities in the UK.

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