The social sciences include a range of subjects, from international relations to politics to geography.
Graduates of social science degrees go on to a wide range of careers in the public and private sectors.
Times Higher Education has published the 2022 ranking of the 870 best schools for social sciences across the world.
Almost a fifth of the list is made up of US universities – 161 institutions in total. UK universities take 93 of the remaining spots while Australia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan are also represented.
Best universities for arts and humanities
Best universities for business and economics
Best universities for clinical, pre-clinical and health
Best universities for computer science
Best universities for engineering and technology
Best universities for life sciences
Best universities for physical sciences
Best universities for law degrees
Best universities for education degrees
Best universities for psychology degrees
Three UK institutions are in the top 10 (the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and London School of Economics and Political Science), while the rest of the top 10 is dominated by US universities.
The social sciences ranking uses the same methodology as the World University Rankings, but with less weight given to citations and more to research and teaching metrics. The full methodology can be found here.
Scroll down for a full list of degrees covered by the ranking and what you can do with them.
Best universities in the world
Best universities in the United States
Best universities in the UK
Best universities in Canada
Best universities in Australia
Best universities in Europe
Top 5 universities for social sciences
Perhaps the most famous social sciences degree at the University of Oxford is politics, philosophy and economics (PPE).
A number of influential politicians and public figures have earned an Oxford PPE degree, including a significant number of British prime ministers. Nobel Peace prizewinner and advocate for women’s education, Malala Yousafzai, recently completed a PPE degree at the institution.
The social sciences division also tackles issues such as environmental change, poverty, cybercrime, political turmoil, social inequality and immigration.
Much of the social science research at Oxford is aimed at influencing policy in the UK and around the world.
Particular research strengths include big data, future cities, resource management and global economic performance.
Aside from PPE, undergraduate courses within the division include geography, archaeology and anthropology, and law and human sciences.
The School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a wide selection of subjects, including politics and women’s and gender studies. The school’s roots lie in the university’s founding, when courses in psychology and political science were taught.
The school produces a magazine called Said and Done, which highlights some of the research undertaken within the faculty.
All students at MIT are expected to take social science classes to help them solve “some of the world’s most challenging problems”.
Current faculty members include Four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur Fellows and five Pulitzer prizewinners.
The social sciences department at Stanford University offers anthropology, communication, economics, political science, psychology and sociology courses.
Many programmes are interdisciplinary, including ethics in society, democracy, development and the rule of law, and urban studies.
In political science classes, undergraduates study US politics and international political systems and relate them to conflict, social activism, ideology and race issues.
The curriculum covers five subject areas: US politics, comparative politics, international relations, political methodology and political theory.
The department of anthropology is known for an innovative approach that insists the subject must be studied in relation to contemporary affairs.
Students learn research methods and theory to carry them through the course of their choice.
Social sciences at Harvard University is interdisciplinary.
Fields of study include economics, government, sociology, gender studies and psychology.
For all these subjects, both undergraduates and graduates are expected to conduct empirical research and analyse data. Senior thesis projects can involve qualitative or quantitative research methods, or both.
The Regan Fund at the university is used to invite famous speakers to Harvard to give lectures on economics, government and social problems around the world. These lectures are primarily aimed at undergraduates.
The social sciences division has relationships with a number of museums and research centres, including the Harvard-MIT Data Center and the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.
There are undergraduate and graduate degree programmes available in the social sciences at Princeton University. Students can choose to study courses from a range of disciplines such as American studies, economics, European cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and health policy.
Princeton has a number of institutes, centres and schools that facilitate research into society and politics, including the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science and Public Policy.
Best universities for social sciences degrees in the UK
Best universities for social sciences degrees in the US
Best universities for social sciences degrees in Canada
Best universities for social sciences degrees in Australia
Best universities for social science degrees 2022
|Social Sciences Rank 2022||Social Sciences Rank 2021||University||Country/region|
|1||2||University of Oxford||United Kingdom|
|2||1||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||United States|
|3||3||Stanford University||United States|
|4||4||Harvard University||United States|
|5||7||Princeton University||United States|
|6||5||University of California, Berkeley||United States|
|7||8||London School of Economics and Political Science||United Kingdom|
|8||6||University of Cambridge||United Kingdom|
|9||9||University of Michigan-Ann Arbor||United States|
|10||11||The University of Chicago||United States|
|11||10||Yale University||United States|
|12||12||University of California, Los Angeles||United States|
|14||13||University of Pennsylvania||United States|
|15||=17||Columbia University||United States|
|16||15||University of Wisconsin -Madison||United States|
|17||21||University of Amsterdam||Netherlands|
|19||22||National University of Singapore||Singapore|
|20||=17||Duke University||United States|
|21||20||Cornell University||United States|
|22||16||New York University||United States|
|23||23||Northwestern University||United States|
|24||24||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||United States|
|=26||=27||University of Toronto||Canada|
|=26||31||University of Washington||United States|
|28||29||University of Manchester||United Kingdom|
|29||32||Johns Hopkins University||United States|
|30||30||University of Texas at Austin||United States|
|32||=38||University of Mannheim||Germany|
|=33||26||University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|35||=27||University of British Columbia||Canada|
|36||35||Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris||France|
|37||50||University of Melbourne||Australia|
|38||36||Australian National University||Australia|
|39||46||Ohio State University (Main campus)||United States|
|40||=40||Humboldt University of Berlin||Germany|
|41||=38||University of California, San Diego||United States|
|42||55||University of Copenhagen||Denmark|
|45||43||University of Southern California||United States|
|=46||=44||University of Edinburgh||United Kingdom|
|=46||47||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||United States|
|=48||56||Free University of Berlin||Germany|
|51||61||University of Oslo||Norway|
|=53||66||Arizona State University (Tempe)||United States|
|=53||=58||Erasmus University Rotterdam||Netherlands|
|=55||=58||University of Maryland, College Park||United States|
|=55||42||University of Sussex||United Kingdom|
|57||=71||Wageningen University & Research||Netherlands|
|58||48||The University of Tokyo||Japan|
|59||=64||University of Zurich||Switzerland|
|=60||67||Michigan State University||United States|
|=60||=44||Penn State (Main campus)||United States|
|62||51||Indiana University||United States|
|=63||=52||Nanyang Technological University, Singapore||Singapore|
|65||=71||University of Vienna||Austria|
|66||=79||University of California, Santa Barbara||United States|
|67||57||University of Minnesota||United States|
|68||92||University of Groningen||Netherlands|
|70||54||King’s College London||United Kingdom|
|71||=62||The University of Queensland||Australia|
|=72||=64||Brown University||United States|
|=72||=52||University of Essex||United Kingdom|
|74||88||University of Konstanz||Germany|
|=75||78||University of Warwick||United Kingdom|
|78||69||Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam||Netherlands|
|79||=74||Loughborough University||United Kingdom|
|80||86||Delft University of Technology||Netherlands|
|81||=82||Hong Kong Polytechnic University||Hong Kong|
|82||=96||University of Leeds||United Kingdom|
|83||77||Georgetown University||United States|
|84||89||Washington University in St Louis||United States|
|85||=62||Chinese University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|=86||76||University of Sydney||Australia|
|=86||101–125||University of Twente||Netherlands|
|88||70||University of Sheffield||United Kingdom|
|89||=90||Boston University||United States|
|90||101–125||University of Antwerp||Belgium|
|93||101–125||Copenhagen Business School||Denmark|
|=95||84||Carnegie Mellon University||United States|
|97||101–125||University of Gothenburg||Sweden|
|98||101–125||University of California, Irvine||United States|
|99||=96||Lancaster University||United Kingdom|
|100||176–200||HSE University||Russian Federation|
|101–125||=96||University of Arizona||United States|
|101–125||101–125||University of Auckland||New Zealand|
|101–125||101–125||Autonomous University of Barcelona||Spain|
|101–125||126–150||University of Bern||Switzerland|
|101–125||101–125||University of Bristol||United Kingdom|
|101–125||=93||City University of Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|101–125||126–150||University of Colorado Boulder||United States|
|101–125||101–125||Dartmouth College||United States|
|101–125||85||Durham University||United Kingdom|
|101–125||126–150||Emory University||United States|
|101–125||101–125||University of Exeter||United Kingdom|
|101–125||126–150||University of Florida||United States|
|101–125||101–125||George Washington University||United States|
|101–125||126–150||University of Georgia||United States|
|101–125||101–125||Goldsmiths, University of London||United Kingdom|
|101–125||126–150||University of Helsinki||Finland|
|101–125||=74||The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology||Hong Kong|
|101–125||101–125||University of Montreal||Canada|
|101–125||101–125||University of Notre Dame||United States|
|101–125||100||Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey||United States|
|101–125||126–150||SOAS University of London||United Kingdom|
|101–125||126–150||Seoul National University||South Korea|
|101–125||95||Syracuse University||United States|
|101–125||151–175||Technical University of Berlin||Germany|
|126–150||201–250||University of Aberdeen||United Kingdom|
|126–150||101–125||University of Birmingham||United Kingdom|
|126–150||176–200||Boston College||United States|
|126–150||151–175||University of California, Davis||United States|
|126–150||101–125||University of Cape Town||South Africa|
|126–150||101–125||Cardiff University||United Kingdom|
|126–150||101–125||City, University of London||United Kingdom|
|126–150||101–125||University of East Anglia||United Kingdom|
|126–150||151–175||Florida State University||United States|
|126–150||101–125||Georgia Institute of Technology||United States|
|126–150||126–150||University of Glasgow||United Kingdom|
|126–150||151–175||University of Lausanne||Switzerland|
|126–150||101–125||Université Catholique de Louvain||Belgium|
|126–150||151–175||Newcastle University||United Kingdom|
|126–150||126–150||University of Nottingham||United Kingdom|
|126–150||126–150||Pompeu Fabra University||Spain|
|126–150||151–175||Rice University||United States|
|126–150||126–150||Simon Fraser University||Canada|
|126–150||101–125||University of Southampton||United Kingdom|
|126–150||126–150||Texas A&M University||United States|
|126–150||126–150||Trinity College Dublin||Republic of Ireland|
|126–150||126–150||Vanderbilt University||United States|
|126–150||=93||University of York||United Kingdom|
|151–175||151–175||University of Bath||United Kingdom|
|151–175||201–250||Birkbeck, University of London||United Kingdom|
|151–175||151–175||University of California, Santa Cruz||United States|
|151–175||176–200||University of Canberra||Australia|
|151–175||NR||University of Cologne||Germany|
|151–175||176–200||École des Ponts ParisTech||France|
|151–175||176–200||George Mason University||United States|
|151–175||201–250||King Abdulaziz University||Saudi Arabia|
|151–175||126–150||University of Klagenfurt||Austria|
|151–175||NR||Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)||South Korea|
|151–175||201–250||Northeastern University||United States|
|151–175||151–175||University of Otago||New Zealand|
|151–175||151–175||Queen Mary University of London||United Kingdom|
|151–175||176–200||Radboud University Nijmegen||Netherlands|
|151–175||176–200||Shanghai Jiao Tong University||China|
|151–175||151–175||University College Dublin||Republic of Ireland|
|151–175||126–150||Vrije Universiteit Brussel||Belgium|
|151–175||176–200||University of Waterloo||Canada|
|151–175||151–175||The University of Western Australia||Australia|
|151–175||251–300||Yonsei University (Seoul campus)||South Korea|
|176–200||176–200||Auckland University of Technology||New Zealand|
|176–200||201–250||University of Barcelona||Spain|
|176–200||176–200||Beijing Normal University||China|
|176–200||151–175||University of Bergen||Norway|
|176–200||201–250||University of Bremen||Germany|
|176–200||201–250||University of Canterbury||New Zealand|
|176–200||301–400||Charles Darwin University||Australia|
|176–200||176–200||University of Freiburg||Germany|
|176–200||176–200||University of Göttingen||Germany|
|176–200||151–175||University of Hawai’i at Mānoa||United States|
|176–200||176–200||University of Kent||United Kingdom|
|176–200||301–400||Lomonosov Moscow State University||Russian Federation|
|176–200||201–250||University of Luxembourg||Luxembourg|
|176–200||151–175||University of Massachusetts||United States|
|176–200||151–175||National Taiwan University (NTU)||Taiwan|
|176–200||NR||University of Reading||United Kingdom|
|176–200||126–150||University of São Paulo||Brazil|
|176–200||151–175||Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa||Italy|
|176–200||176–200||Sejong University||South Korea|
|176–200||151–175||University of St Andrews||United Kingdom|
|176–200||201–250||University of Waikato||New Zealand|
|176–200||126–150||University of the Witwatersrand||South Africa|