NZ universities lift rankings in world survey of subjects

The University of Auckland is the country's top performer, with 21 subjects in the top 50.

New Zealand universities have improved their overall rankings in a new global survey based on 42 disciplines.

Six new subjects have been added to the sixth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, released today on TopUniversities.com,

They are anthropology, archaeology, performing arts, mineral engineering, nursing and social policy and administration.

New Zealand’s universities feature in all six of these new rankings with five featuring in the top 50.

The country’s top performing university, Auckland, ranks 49th for anthropology, 20th for archaeology, 32nd for nursing and 49th for social policy and administration – a subject in which the Victoria University of Wellington ranks joint 50th.

New Zealand’s sole entry into the new engineering – mineral and mining ranking is the University of Auckland, which places in the 51-100 category.

New Zealand’s universities take 21 top-50 places, slightly improving on last year’s figure of 20.

The University of Auckland, which ranked 82nd overall,  was first in New Zealand in 35 of 40 subjects.

Dentistry finishes highest for NZ
The University of Otago took New Zealand’s highest finish with12th for dentistry, followed by Auckland's 20th for archaeology rankings and 23rd for education.

Auckland was also 26th in development studies, 29th in psychology, 31st in English language and literature, 32nd in law and in nursing, and 34th in accounting and finance.

No other New Zealand universities were ranked at 50 or above in these subjects.

The top subjects for other universities were:

  • Canterbury – engineering (civil and structural), 49=

  • Massey – veterinary science, 25; forestry and agriculture 30

  • Waikato – education, 51-100

  • AUT – art and design, 51-100

  • Lincoln – agriculture and forestry, 51-100

The QS survey is based on the expert opinion of 76,798 academics and 44,426 employers, alongside the analysis of 28.5 million research papers and over 113 million citations sourced from the Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database.



Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) continue to dominate, leading in 24 subjects between them. Each takes 12 leading positions.

Auckland’s vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, says the survey emphasises the comprehensive nature of its research and teaching contribution.

“The results also affirm the calibre of the research being undertaken by our staff, and the impact it is having both nationally and around the world,” he says.

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