Here are the world's top universities for these 54 subjects
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  1. As the only global league table to originate from Asia, the annual publication by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy is often praised for the objectivity, stability and transparency of its methodology.

Its annual Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2019 was recently released, ranking approximately 4,000 universities according to these subject areas: Natural Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. In total, 54 subjects under these broad areas of study were listed.

American universities dominated, topping the tables in 35 subjects and appearing 4,808 times. China took top position in 11 subjects and its universities had the second highest number of appearances (2451 times), ahead of the UK (1554 appearances). In 10 engineering subjects, Chinese universities claimed the top position.

Speaking to Asia Times, Deputy Director of the Institute of Science and Technology Management of Zhejiang University Science and Education Strategy Institute, Lin Chenghua, said there was a huge gap in the superiority of the US which reflected China’s structural shortcomings.

While maintaining and promoting a competitive edge in engineering, China should increase investment in other courses such as Natural Science and Social Sciences, Chenghua explained.

Four universities appear in 52 research disciplines – University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). No other universities surpassed this figure.

UNSW scored the most subjects (13) ranked first in Australia for the second consecutive year. It was also listed as having the most number of subjects ranked for the third year in a row.

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Nicholas Fisk, said: “Today’s results in these prestigious rankings underscore the breadth, depth and consistency of UNSW research across almost the whole range of disciplines. Off the back of recent success in various national and international rankings, this supports UNSW not only as a leader in research quality and impact, but also for our research reach.”

But the university with the best performance was Harvard, which placed first in 14 subjects – seven of which are social science subjects, three from medical sciences, two from life sciences and two from engineering. It’s followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with five top positions, four of which fall within engineering.

Fields Subject Institution Name Country/Region
Natural Sciences Mathematics Princeton University USA
Physics Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chemistry University of California, Berkeley USA
Earth Sciences University of Colorado at Boulder USA
Geography University of Oxford UK
Ecology University of Montpellier France
Oceanography University of Washington USA
Atmospheric Science University of Colorado at Boulder USA
Engineering Mechanical Engineering University of Cambridge UK
Electrical & Electronic Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA
Automation & Control University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign USA
Telecommunication   Engineering Tsinghua University China
Instruments Science & Technology Harbin Institute of Technology China
Biomedical Engineering Harvard University USA
Computer Science
& Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA
Tongji University China
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA
Materials Science & Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA
Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Nanyang Technological University Singapore
Energy Science & Engineering Nanyang Technological University Singapore
Environmental Science & Engineering Stanford University USA
Water Resources University of Arizona USA
Food Science & Technology Jiangnan University China
Biotechnology Harvard University USA
Aerospace Engineering Beihang University China
Marine/Ocean Engineering Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
Transportation Science & Technology Beijing Jiaotong University China
Remote Sensing Wuhan University China
Mining & Mineral Engineering Central South University China
Metallurgical Engineering University of Science and Technology
Life Sciences Biological Sciences Harvard University USA
Human Biological Sciences Harvard University USA
Agricultural Sciences University of Wageningen Netherlands
Veterinary Sciences Ghent University Belgium
Clinical Medicine University of California, San
Public Health Harvard University USA
Dentistry & Oral Sciences University of Michigan-Ann Arbor USA
Nursing University of Pennsylvania USA
Medical Technology Harvard University USA
Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences Harvard University USA
Social Sciences Economics University of Chicago USA
Statistics Harvard University USA
Law Harvard University USA
Political Sciences Harvard University USA
Sociology Harvard University USA
Education Michigan State University USA
Communication University of Amsterdam Netherlands
Psychology Harvard University USA
Business Administration University of Pennsylvania USA
Finance New York University USA
Management Harvard University USA
Public Administration Indiana University Bloomington USA
Hospitality & Tourism Management The Hong Kong Polytechnic University China-Hong Kong
Library & Information Science Harvard University USA

The GRAS 2019 ranked universities based on several measures, including research productivity, research quality, extent of international collaboration, research and the highest academic recognitions.

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