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19 academic subjects ranked in world top 100 for third consecutive year

students stood in group

Durham University has again performed strongly in the prestigious QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024. 

The University has three subjects in the global top ten, a total of ten subjects in the world top 50 and 19 in the world top 100.  

All four of Durham’s Faculties have subjects ranked in the world top 100, demonstrating its strengths as a broad subject university across science, business, social sciences and arts and humanities.

Ten subjects have improved their QS ranking on the previous year.  

The 2024 rankings demonstrate a consistently strong performance, with the University recording 19 top 100 subjects for three consecutive years. 

Archaeology is the highest performing subject globally at joint 5th – followed by Classics and Ancient History at 6th and Theology and Religion at 7th.  

Placing in the top 50 are Geography 16th, Anthropology 28th, English Studies 29th, Philosophy 29th, History 42nd, Law 48th and Earth Sciences joint 48th. 

Durham subjects ranked in the world top 100 include: Modern Languages, Education, Physics, Psychology, Accounting and Finance, Politics and International Studies and Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Durham also ranks 42nd globally QS Faculty level for Arts and Humanities, with Social Sciences and Management and Natural Sciences in the world top 100.

Professor Karen O’Brien, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said:

“These prestigious global rankings demonstrate how Durham University is world-leading across a broad range of academic subjects, from science to business and social sciences to arts and humanities.  

“Our research is innovative and impactful, informing the high-quality education we deliver to all our students, as well as transforming lives and making a difference, globally and locally.” 

Durham’s Department of Archaeology is consistently ranked among the best in the world and has jumped five places up the QS subject rankings from tenth position last year. 

With over 70 research active staff and increasing numbers of projects, publications and postgraduates, the department has developed pathways for research and engagement with more diverse audiences than ever before. 

The department has leading academic experts in isotope analysis, expertise that recently helped establish that a male born in the Roman period made an extraordinary journey spanning thousands of miles from Sarmatia to Britain as a child. 

Classics and Ancient History is up two places from eighth last year to sixth in 2024. 

University researchers are at the forefront of renewed interest in the study of Classics subjects in state-maintained primary and secondary schools.   

The University is currently leading a ‘Shy bairns get nowt’ project involving Classics, Education, English and Psychology professors combining their expertise to support the teaching of oracy in primary and secondary schools across North East England. 

Meanwhile, Theology and Religion have consistently been strongly performing subjects at Durham and have maintained their top ten status in the QS rankings for the eighth year in a row. 

Durham’s Department of Theology and Religion is one of the largest in the UK and features a diverse intellectual community of 50 academics, over 150 postgraduate students, and more than 70 undergraduates in each year. 

As part of its pioneering Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS) project, the department is establishing a global community of partners to explore the different national and cultural contexts that church leaders work in. 

Its mission is to foster science-engaged theology, bringing science and faith together to change the Church’s engagement with science from fear to joy. 

Other rankings success stories for Durham include English Language and Literature which has steadily climbed the table from 46th in 2020 to 29th in 2024 and Philosophy which is now ranked at 29th having risen each year since 2021. 

The QS rankings annually rank the world’s top universities by analysing the reputation and research output of almost 5,000 global institutions. 

From this group, around 1,500 were ranked across 55 narrow subjects and five broad subject areas, creating over 19,100 entries.  

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