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Best universities for arts and humanities degrees 2023

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

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Rankings for Students
November 3 2021
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Top 10 universities in the world for arts and humanities

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in the world for arts and humanities degrees

Arts and humanities rank 2023  Arts and humanities rank 2022  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   6  Harvard University United States
 6   5  UCL United Kingdom
 7   7  Princeton University United States
 8   9  University of California, Berkeley United States
 9   10  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 10   8  The University of Chicago United States

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

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But 663 of the top universities for arts and humanities have been ranked in the Times Higher Education arts and humanities ranking 2023. So where should you go to pursue your arts or humanities major?

About a quarter of the best arts and humanities schools are in the US, but a number of European countries are also well represented in the ranking; 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 for a humanities degree in Canada or Australia, these countries offer a choice of 26 and 27 universities respectively, and there are more than 40 institutions in the top 500 across Asia.

Times Higher Education’s subject tables are based on the same 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2023. 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

5. Harvard University

The arts and humanities division at Harvard University is made up of 15 departments, four interdisciplin­ary undergraduate degree programmes and several secondary fields.

Courses available cover a wide range of subjects, including art, music, visual studies, theatre, English and many more. 

The arts and humanities student board is an opportunity for undergraduate students to be involved in developing programmes and initiatives for students with the department. 

The division organises a student art crawl where students can explore the art galleries on Harvard’s campus.

4. University of Oxford

The humanities division at the University of Oxford 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 joint degrees, such as philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) – a course for which Oxford is particularly well known – 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.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is regularly ranked as a top university across a wide range of subjects.

More than 23,000 students are enrolled at the university across 31 colleges.

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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2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Although it is known as a leading university in science and technology teaching, MIT 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 – the Hayden Library (humanities and sciences), the Lewis Music Library, and the Rotch Library (art, architecture and planning). These libraries contain many notable collections, 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.

1. Stanford University

The School of Humanities and Sciences awards 63 per cent of all Stanford undergraduate degrees and almost 40 per cent of doctorates.

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.

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 near 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 academic buildings, museums and recreation spaces.


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Best universities for arts and humanities 2023

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2023 profile

Arts and Humanities Rank 2023  Arts and Humanities Rank 2022  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   6  Harvard University United States
 6   5  UCL United Kingdom
 7   7  Princeton University United States
 8   9  University of California, Berkeley United States
 9   10  University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
 10   8  The University of Chicago United States
 11   11  Columbia University United States
 12   12  Yale University United States
 13   18  LMU Munich Germany
 14   13  University of California, Los Angeles United States
 15   15  University of Toronto Canada
 =16   17  New York University United States
 =16   14  University of Pennsylvania United States
 18   =21  Peking University China
 19   =42  Delft University of Technology Netherlands
 20   16  University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States
 21   19  Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
 22   25  KU Leuven Belgium
 23   30  King’s College London United Kingdom
 24   =21  Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
 25   =21  Cornell University United States
 26   24  Leiden University Netherlands
 27   34  National University of Singapore Singapore
 28   =36  University of Amsterdam Netherlands
 29   20  University of Tübingen Germany
 30   32  University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =31   31  Duke University United States
 =31   =26  Free University of Berlin Germany
 33   =26  Durham University United Kingdom
 34   49  ETH Zurich Switzerland
 35   33  Heidelberg University Germany
 36   38  University of Vienna Austria
 =37   28  London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom
 =37   40  Tsinghua University China
 39   46  University of Sydney Australia
 40   29  Australian National University Australia
 41   39  University of Melbourne Australia
 42   45  Lancaster University United Kingdom
 43   60  Aarhus University Denmark
 44   35  McGill University Canada
 45   41  Johns Hopkins University United States
 46   =36  University of St Andrews United Kingdom
 47   =72  University of Groningen Netherlands
 48   =54  Brown University United States
 49   =42  Rutgers University – New Brunswick United States
 50   57  University of York United Kingdom
 51   63  Sorbonne University France
 52   53  The University of Tokyo Japan
 53   62  Utrecht University Netherlands
 54   83  Monash University Australia
 =55   50  University of Texas at Austin United States
 =55   48  University of Warwick United Kingdom
 57   =54  University of Helsinki Finland
 58   47  Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1 France
 59   44  Lomonosov Moscow State University Russian Federation
 60   66  Michigan State University United States
 61   =87  Birkbeck, University of London United Kingdom
 62   59  University of British Columbia Canada
 =63   =64  University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus United States
 =63   56  SOAS University of London United Kingdom
 65   =80  Sapienza University of Rome Italy
 66   =64  University of Zurich Switzerland
 =67   =80  University of Glasgow United Kingdom
 =67   52  University of Notre Dame United States
 =69   =69  University of California, San Diego United States
 =69   77  Carnegie Mellon University United States
 =69   61  University of Freiburg Germany
 =69   51  University of Manchester United Kingdom
 73   101–125  Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
 74   86  University of Washington United States
 75   58  University of Copenhagen Denmark
 76   =67  University of Sheffield United Kingdom
 77   76  University of Oslo Norway
 =78   85  Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 =78   93  University of Leeds United Kingdom
 80   74  Ghent University Belgium
 81   89  Georgetown University United States
 82   101–125  University of California, Santa Barbara United States
 =83   101–125  University of Bristol United Kingdom
 =83   =99  Lund University Sweden
 85   101–125  University of Cologne Germany
 86   =78  University of Maryland, College Park United States
 87   82  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
 88   126–150  Politecnico di Milano Italy
 89   75  Northwestern University United States
 90   =67  University of Birmingham United Kingdom
 91   =72  The University of Queensland Australia
 =92   =99  University of Hamburg Germany
 =92   71  University of Wisconsin-Madison United States
 94   101–125  University of Bologna Italy
 95   =94  Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
 =96   126–150  Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
 =96   101–125  Radboud University Nijmegen Netherlands
 98   84  University of Southern California United States
 99   101–125  UNSW Sydney Australia
 100   96  University of Arizona United States
 101–125   =94  University of Auckland New Zealand
 101–125   101–125  University of Bern Switzerland
 101–125   126–150  University of California, Irvine United States
 101–125   98  University of Exeter United Kingdom
 101–125   126–150  Fudan University China
 101–125   101–125  University of Geneva Switzerland
 101–125   151–175  Goldsmiths, University of London United Kingdom
 101–125   =69  Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
 101–125   97  Kyoto University Japan
 101–125   101–125  Macquarie University Australia
 101–125   126–150  University of Massachusetts United States
 101–125   101–125  University of Montreal Canada
 101–125   101–125  University of Münster Germany
 101–125   101–125  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
 101–125   =87  University of Nottingham United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Ohio State University (Main campus) United States
 101–125   176–200  Université Paris Cité France
 101–125   =90  Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  University of Reading United Kingdom
 101–125   151–175  Shanghai Jiao Tong University China
 101–125   101–125  University of Southampton United Kingdom
 101–125   101–125  Stockholm University Sweden
 101–125   201–250  Tongji University China
 101–125   101–125  Trinity College Dublin Ireland
 101–125   =90  Uppsala University Sweden
 126–150   126–150  Aalto University Finland
 126–150   126–150  Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Basel Switzerland
 126–150   101–125  Boston University United States
 126–150   126–150  University of California, Davis United States
 126–150   151–175  Cardiff University United Kingdom
 126–150   201–250  City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
 126–150   151–175  Complutense University of Madrid Spain
 126–150   126–150  Eindhoven University of Technology Netherlands
 126–150   101–125  Emory University United States
 126–150   101–125  University of Göttingen Germany
 126–150   92  Indiana University United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Konstanz Germany
 126–150   151–175  University of Minnesota United States
 126–150   176–200  Nanjing University China
 126–150   126–150  National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico
 126–150   126–150  Newcastle University United Kingdom
 126–150   =78  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States
 126–150   126–150  University of Potsdam Germany
 126–150   151–175  Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
 126–150   101–125  Saint Petersburg State University Russian Federation
 126–150   126–150  University of São Paulo Brazil
 126–150   101–125  Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
 126–150   126–150  Tilburg University Netherlands
 126–150   126–150  University of Virginia (Main campus) United States
 126–150   151–175  University of Wollongong Australia
 151–175   151–175  University of Adelaide Australia
 151–175   101–125  University of Antwerp Belgium
 151–175   151–175  University of Barcelona Spain
 151–175   151–175  University of Bordeaux France
 151–175   176–200  University of California, Santa Cruz United States
 151–175   126–150  Georgia Institute of Technology United States
 151–175   126–150  Goethe University Frankfurt Germany
 151–175   176–200  University of Gothenburg Sweden
 151–175   126–150  University of Hawai’i at Mānoa United States
 151–175   126–150  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign United States
 151–175   176–200  University of Kiel Germany
 151–175   176–200  University of Lausanne Switzerland
 151–175   176–200  University of Leicester United Kingdom
 151–175   201–250  Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium
 151–175   176–200  Nagoya University Japan
 151–175   176–200  University of Padua Italy
 151–175   126–150  Penn State (Main campus) United States
 151–175   101–125  Seoul National University South Korea
 151–175   151–175  Simon Fraser University Canada
 151–175   151–175  University College Dublin Ireland
 151–175   201–250  Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
 151–175   176–200  The University of Western Australia Australia
 151–175   176–200  Western University Canada
 151–175   126–150  University of the Witwatersrand South Africa
 176–200   176–200  University of Bath United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  University of Bergen Norway
 176–200   201–250  University of Campinas Brazil
 176–200   176–200  University of Colorado Boulder United States
 176–200   201–250  Dublin City University Ireland
 176–200   201–250  École Normale Supérieure de Lyon France
 176–200   201–250  University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany
 176–200   151–175  University of Essex United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  Heriot-Watt University United Kingdom
 176–200   151–175  HSE University Russian Federation
 176–200   NR  Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea
 176–200   176–200  University of Liverpool United Kingdom
 176–200   251–300  Loughborough University United Kingdom
 176–200   201–250  University of Luxembourg Luxembourg
 176–200   151–175  National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
 176–200   176–200  University of Navarra Spain
 176–200   151–175  Pompeu Fabra University Spain
 176–200   201–250  Queensland University of Technology Australia
 176–200   176–200  RMIT University Australia
 176–200   151–175  Ruhr University Bochum Germany
 176–200   126–150  Technical University of Berlin Germany
 176–200   101–125  Tel Aviv University Israel
 176–200   176–200  Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgium
 176–200   176–200  Washington University in St Louis United States
 176–200   151–175  Zhejiang University China

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


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