Subject Ranking 2015-2016: physical sciences methodology

November 13, 2015

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings' 2015-2016 physical sciences subject ranking includes a wide range of narrower subject areas.

The full list of physical sciences subjects used to create this ranking is:

  • Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Chemistry
  • Crystallography
  • Earth Sciences
  • Mathematics & Statistics
  • Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
  • Nanotechnology
  • Physics
  • Polymer Science
  • Physical Sciences - Other topics

Different weights and measures

The subject tables employ the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings, brought together with scores provided under five categories.

However, the overall methodology is carefully recalibrated for each subject, with the weightings changed to suit the individual fields.

The weightings for the physical sciences ranking are:

  • Teaching: the learning environment
    27.5 per cent
  • Research: volume, income and reputation
    27.5 per cent
  • Citations: research influence
    35 per cent
  • International outlook: staff, students and research
    7.5 per cent
  • Industry income: innovation
    2.5 per cent


No institution can be included in the overall World University Rankings unless it has published a minimum of 200 research papers a year over the five years we examine.

But for the six subject tables, the threshold drops to 100 papers a year for subjects that generate a high volume of publications and 50 a year in subjects such as social sciences where the volume tends to be lower. Although we apply some editorial discretion, we generally expect an institution to have at least 10 per cent of its staff working in the relevant discipline in order to include it in the subject table.

In rare cases where such data are not supplied, institutions are either excluded or public sources are used to underpin estimates.

View the full World University Rankings 2015-2016 methodology

Browse the 2015-2016 physical sciences top 100 results

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