Health and science subject rankings 2022: results announced

UK reinforces its lead in clinical table and tops psychology for first time, while US dominates physical sciences and is on the up in life sciences

September 16, 2021
University of Oxford students walking on campus
Source: iStock

Browse the full results of the World University Rankings 2022 by subject for clinical and health, life sciences, physical sciences and psychology


The UK has reinforced its world-leading performance in health sciences teaching and research in the latest Times Higher Education rankings in a year when its top institutions have been at the forefront of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The University of Oxford tops the World University Rankings by subject table for clinical and health for the 11th consecutive year, increasing its overall score and its lead over second-place Harvard University, after its scientists developed a Covid-19 vaccine.

Imperial College London and UCL each rise one place to third and eighth respectively, while King’s College London jumps four places to 12th. Overall, 21 of the UK’s 28 representatives in the top 200 have improved or stayed stable since last year. Imperial academics’ statistical modelling on the spread of coronavirus has informed governments and public health agencies around the world.

The UK’s average scores in all five pillars of the ranking have improved compared with 2021, particularly in citations and internationalisation. This year’s subject rankings include data covering the period of the Covid-19 pandemic for the first time. The reputation scores draw on THE surveys from 2020 and 2021, while the citation impact score is based on publications between January 2016 and December 2020, and citations to those made in the six years from 2016 to 2021.  However other data, including the international metrics, predate the pandemic.

One of the most striking developments at the top of the clinical ranking is Tsinghua University’s meteoric rise from 32nd to seventh place, driven by a significant boost to its citation impact score after the publication of Covid-related research. It is the first Chinese university to make the top 10 of the table.

India is home to the highest newcomer in the table: JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research at joint 93rd.

THE’s global rankings for life sciences, physical sciences and psychology have also been updated for 2022. Overall, 1,523 universities from 98 territories rank in at least one of the four subject areas.

In the life sciences table, three US universities have made significant progress in the top 20. Princeton University is now ranked fifth, up from 10th, following improvements in its scores for teaching environment, research environment and industry income.

Columbia University is 11th, up from 20th, after rising in the areas of research environment, industry income and international outlook. And the University of Washington is the highest newcomer in the ranking at 18th place, boasting strong scores in research and citations (the institution did not previously have enough staff in life sciences to meet the eligibility criteria for the table).

In the physical sciences table, France’s Institut Polytechnique de Paris, which was formed as a result of a merger of five institutions, is the highest debutant at 22nd place. The university has a particularly strong international outlook.

The US dominates physical sciences, taking all of the top six places. The University of California, Berkeley leads the table for the first time.

In psychology, the University of Cambridge is now the top-ranked institution, knocking Stanford University, which previously led the table since its inception in 2018, down to second. Cambridge was previously not ranked because it did not meet the staff threshold in the eligibility criteria. Germany’s LMU Munich and Australia’s UNSW Sydney rank in the top 30 for the first time.

The other seven THE subject rankings for 2022 will be released on the following dates:

  • 6 October – Engineering and technology and computer science 
  • 13 October – Social sciences, business and economics, education and law 
  • 3 November – Arts and humanities 

View the full rankings schedule for the rest of the year here.

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com

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