Best universities for arts and humanities degrees 2022

Find the best universities for arts and humanities using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

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November 3 2021
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Deciding where to study an arts or humanities degree is not easy, with hundreds of options all over the world.

But 606 of the top universities for arts and humanities have been ranked in the Times Higher Education arts and humanities ranking 2022. So where should you go to pursue your arts or humanities major?

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About a quarter of the best arts and humanities schools are in the US, but a number of European countries are well represented in the ranking, too; the top 100 includes a significant number of British, German and Dutch institutions.


Best universities in Australia for arts and humanities degrees 
Best universities in Canada for arts and humanities degrees
Best universities in the UK for arts and humanities degrees 
Best universities in the US for arts and humanities degrees 


If you’re hoping to study a humanities degree in Canada or Australia, these countries offer a choice of 26 universities each, and there are more than 40 institutions in the top 500 across Asia.

Times Higher Education subject tables are based on the same 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2022. However, the methodology is carefully recalibrated for each subject, with the weightings changed to suit the individual fields. The full methodology can be found here.

Arts and humanities degrees covered in the ranking include history, literature, philosophy, languages and architecture (scroll down for a full list of subjects and what you can do with them).

Top 5 universities for arts and humanities degrees

1. Stanford University

When the university was established, the Stanford family said that its aim was to educate “cultured and useful citizens”, and the university still counts its humanities courses as the “soul” of a Stanford education.

The School of Humanities and Sciences awards 63 per cent of all Stanford undergraduate degrees and almost 40 per cent of doctorates. Undergraduates are taught by faculty who are pioneers in their fields.

Recent achievements in the school include a complex study of race and ethnicity, an online course on classical music appreciation and an award-winning radio show hosted by Stanford philosophy professors.

Stanford is based next to Palo Alto, known as Silicon Valley because of its density of high-tech and start-up companies. The spirit of entrepreneurship in the area was encouraged by the university itself in the early 20th century, and many Stanford students and graduates are involved at the highest levels with the world’s most influential technology companies.

Many of the students live in campus residences, near the university’s faculty buildings, museums and recreation spaces.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Although well known as a leading university in science and technology teaching, the university also provides courses across the arts and humanities.

These include anthropology, history, linguistics, literature, media arts and sciences, and music and theatre arts.

When the School of Architecture and Planning opened in 1868, it had the first department of architecture in the US; today, it is still known for commissioning progressive buildings on campus.

The MIT library system is divided into five libraries, three of which are dedicated to the arts and humanities – Hayden Library (humanities and sciences), Lewis Music Library, and Rotch Library (art, architecture and planning). There are many notable collections within these libraries, such as the Lewis’ resources on 20th- and 21st-century music, hip hop and electronic music.

MIT is affiliated with many thought leaders in the arts and humanities, including the linguist Noam Chomsky, who is Institute Professor and  professor of linguistics (emeritus) at the university. The institution has produced six Pulitzer winners, and four current or former faculty are members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is regularly ranked as a top university across a wide range of subjects. As one of the oldest universities in the world, its colleges and traditions are famous in the UK and beyond.

The university is located about 100km north of London and attracts top scholars and distinguished visitors. More than 23,000 students are enrolled at the university across 31 colleges.

College life is central to the university experience. Undergraduates live in college for at least part of their time at university and are primarily taught by tutors in small groups.

Postgraduates, however, are more loosely affiliated with their college, although many participate in recreational and academic life.

The School of Arts and Humanities teaches a variety of subjects, from Asian and Middle Eastern studies to the history of art. Many research projects are collaborative and inform student learning at all levels.

Recent projects have explored flamenco dance and its cultural significance, and an undergraduate scheme used architectural techniques to develop local allotments.

Notable Cambridge alumni in the arts and humanities include the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the artist Quentin Blake and the dramatist Christopher Marlowe.


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4. University of Oxford

As one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, the University of Oxford is respected across all disciplines. The humanities division includes the faculties of music, history, Classics, theology and religion, and English language and literature. 

There are about 20,000 students at the university, more than a third of whom are international. Students belong to a college, where undergraduates take the majority of their classes with just a few of their peers and a college tutor.

In line with the British higher education system, students entering Oxford are admitted for a specific course (in contrast to US institutions, where students can take a variety of courses before declaring their major).

It is possible for undergraduates to study for joint degrees, such as philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) – a course particularly well known at Oxford – and combinations of arts and sciences.

Many writers, actors, composers and other prominent personalities in arts and culture dating back to the 14th century are Oxford graduates, including the novelists J. R. R. Tolkien and Graham Greene and the satirist Jonathan Swift.

5. UCL

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL offers students a wide variety of courses, in departments including English language and literature, philosophy, information studies, Greek and Latin, fine art, and Hebrew and Jewish studies.

The faculty also has a strong research output including an innovative digital project around transcribing the work of Jeremy Bentham, whose ideas contributed to the founding of UCL, and an exploration into the histories of the Italian mafias. 

Each year, the faculty hosts a Festival of Culture, a five-day event of talks, panels, live performances, walking tours, film screenings and exhibitions showcasing the research being undertaken at the university.


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Best universities for arts and humanities 2022

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2022 profile

Arts and humanities rank 2022 Arts and humanities rank 2021 University  Country/region
1 1 Stanford University United States
2 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
3 3 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
4 4 University of Oxford United Kingdom
5 5 UCL United Kingdom
6 6 Harvard University United States
7 9 Princeton University United States
8 7 The University of Chicago United States
9 8 University of California, Berkeley United States
10 10 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
11 13 Columbia University United States
12 11 Yale University United States
13 12 University of California, Los Angeles United States
14 14 University of Pennsylvania United States
15 15 University of Toronto Canada
16 17 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
17 16 New York University United States
18 18 LMU Munich Germany
19 =22 Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
20 24 University of Tübingen Germany
=21 29 Cornell University United States
=21 20 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
=21 28 Peking University China
24 =22 Leiden University Netherlands
25 25 KU Leuven Belgium
=26 19 Durham University United Kingdom
=26 27 Free University of Berlin Germany
28 21 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
29 35 Australian National University Australia
30 26 King’s College London United Kingdom
31 32 Duke University United States
32 42 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
33 33 Heidelberg University Germany
34 37 National University of Singapore Singapore
35 36 McGill University Canada
=36 30 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
=36 39 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
38 34 University of Vienna Austria
39 31 University of Melbourne Australia
40 56 Tsinghua University China
41 41 Johns Hopkins University United States
=42 65 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
=42 40 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey United States
44 72 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
45 55 Lancaster University United Kingdom
46 44 University of Sydney Australia
47 =50 Panthéon- Sorbonne University  – Paris 1 France
48 =50 University of Warwick United Kingdom
49 53 ETH Zurich Switzerland
50 43 University of Texas at Austin United States
51 38 University of Manchester United Kingdom
52 49 University of Notre Dame United States
53 =47 The University of Tokyo Japan
=54 57 Brown University United States
=54 62 University of Helsinki Finland
56 66 SOAS University of London United Kingdom
57 45 University of York United Kingdom
58 =47 University of Copenhagen Denmark
59 46 University of British Columbia Canada
60 =75 Aarhus University Denmark
61 52 University of Freiburg Germany
62 54 Utrecht University Netherlands
63 =58 Sorbonne University France
=64 68 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus United States
=64 71 University of Zurich Switzerland
66 101–125 Michigan State University United States
=67 70 University of Birmingham United Kingdom
=67 67 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
=69 =58 University of California, San Diego United States
=69 64 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
71 60 University of Wisconsin -Madison United States
=72 =75 University of Groningen Netherlands
=72 87 The University of Queensland Australia
74 69 Ghent University Belgium
75 63 Northwestern University United States
76 82 University of Oslo Norway
77 =77 Carnegie Mellon University United States
=78 =90 University of Maryland, College Park United States
=78 =77 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
=80 79 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
=80 61 Sapienza University of Rome Italy
82 101–125 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
83 74 Monash University Australia
84 89 University of Southern California United States
85 =98 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
86 83 University of Washington United States
=87 95 Birkbeck, University of London United Kingdom
=87 101–125 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
89 101–125 Georgetown University United States
=90 81 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
=90 101–125 Uppsala University Sweden
92 96 Indiana University United States
93 73 University of Leeds United Kingdom
=94 92 University of Auckland New Zealand
=94 =93 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
96 80 University of Arizona United States
97 101–125 Kyoto University Japan
98 84 University of Exeter United Kingdom
=99 86 University of Hamburg Germany
=99 101–125 Lund University Sweden
101–125 126–150 University of Antwerp Belgium
101–125 126–150 University of Bern Switzerland
101–125 85 University of Bologna Italy
101–125 101–125 Boston University United States
101–125 88 University of Bristol United Kingdom
101–125 =98 University of California, Santa Barbara United States
101–125 101–125 University of Cologne Germany
101–125 126–150 Emory University United States
101–125 101–125 University of Geneva Switzerland
101–125 126–150 University of Göttingen Germany
101–125 126–150 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
101–125 =90 Macquarie University Australia
101–125 126–150 University of Montreal Canada
101–125 101–125 University of Münster Germany
101–125 126–150 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
101–125 =93 Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
101–125 100 Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
101–125 126–150 University of Reading United Kingdom
101–125 201–250 Saint Petersburg State University Russian Federation
101–125 101–125 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
101–125 151–175 Seoul National University South Korea
101–125 101–125 University of Southampton United Kingdom
101–125 97 Stockholm University Sweden
101–125 101–125 Tel Aviv University Israel
101–125 101–125 Trinity College Dublin Republic of Ireland
101–125 126–150 UNSW Sydney Australia
126–150 151–175 Aalto University Finland
126–150 151–175 Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
126–150 126–150 University of Basel Switzerland
126–150 176–200 Boston College United States
126–150 151–175 University of California, Davis United States
126–150 101–125 University of California, Irvine United States
126–150 126–150 Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
126–150 101–125 Fudan University China
126–150 151–175 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
126–150 126–150 Goethe University Frankfurt Germany
126–150 126–150 University of Hawai’i at Mānoa United States
126–150 101–125 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
126–150 151–175 University of Konstanz Germany
126–150 101–125 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
126–150 101–125 University of Massachusetts United States
126–150 101–125 National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico
126–150 126–150 Newcastle University United Kingdom
126–150 101–125 Penn State (Main campus) United States
126–150 151–175 Politecnico di Milano Italy
126–150 126–150 University of Potsdam Germany
126–150 151–175 University of São Paulo Brazil
126–150 126–150 Technical University of Berlin Germany
126–150 101–125 Tilburg University Netherlands
126–150 101–125 University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
126–150 126–150 University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
151–175 126–150 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
151–175 126–150 University of Adelaide Australia
151–175 176–200 University of Alberta Canada
151–175 101–125 University of Barcelona Spain
151–175 176–200 University of Bordeaux France
151–175 151–175 Cardiff University United Kingdom
151–175 126–150 Complutense University of Madrid Spain
151–175 126–150 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
151–175 201–250 University of Essex United Kingdom
151–175 176–200 Goldsmiths, University of London United Kingdom
151–175 201–250 HSE University Russian Federation
151–175 151–175 University of Minnesota United States
151–175 151–175 National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
151–175 126–150 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
151–175 151–175 Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
151–175 176–200 Ruhr University Bochum Germany
151–175 151–175 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
151–175 151–175 Simon Fraser University Canada
151–175 176–200 University of Sussex United Kingdom
151–175 151–175 Tomsk State University Russian Federation
151–175 201–250 UiT The Arctic University of Norway Norway
151–175 151–175 University College Dublin Republic of Ireland
151–175 126–150 University of Wollongong Australia
151–175 126–150 Zhejiang University China
176–200 201–250 University of Bath United Kingdom
176–200 126–150 University of California, Santa Cruz United States
176–200 201–250 University of Cape Town South Africa
176–200 151–175 University of Colorado Boulder United States
176–200 176–200 University of Connecticut United States
176–200 176–200 University of Gothenburg Sweden
176–200 201–250 University of Kiel Germany
176–200 176–200 La Trobe University Australia
176–200 176–200 University of Lausanne Switzerland
176–200 151–175 University of Leicester United Kingdom
176–200 151–175 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
176–200 201–250 Nagoya University Japan
176–200 176–200 Nanjing University China
176–200 201–250 University of Navarra Spain
176–200 201–250 University of Otago New Zealand
176–200 126–150 University of Padua Italy
176–200 176–200 Université de Paris France
176–200 NR Université Paris-Saclay France
176–200 176–200 RMIT University Australia
176–200 176–200 University of Technology Sydney Australia
176–200 201–250 Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgium
176–200 176–200 Washington University in St Louis United States
176–200 201–250 The University of Western Australia Australia
176–200 176–200 Western University Canada
176–200 151–175 York University Canada

Click here to view the full ranking for arts and humanities degrees

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