World University Rankings 2019 by subject: social sciences methodology

October 12, 2018

Browse the full results of the World University Rankings 2019 by subject: social sciences


The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 social sciences subject ranking includes a range of narrower subject areas.

The subjects used to create this ranking are:

  • Communication and media studies
  • Politics and international studies (including development studies)
  • Sociology
  • Geography

Different weights and measures

The subject tables employ the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2019, 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 social sciences ranking are:

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

Criteria

Two criteria are to be included in the subject rankings: a publication threshold by discipline and an academic staff* threshold by discipline.

No institution can be included in the overall World University Rankings unless it has published a minimum of 1,000 research papers over the five years that we examine.

For each of the 11 subject rankings, the publication thresholds are different. For social sciences, the threshold drops to 200 papers published in this discipline over the past five years.

There is also an academic staff eligibility criterion. Up until the 2019 subject rankings, we expected an institution to have at least 4 per cent of its academic staff working in the social sciences discipline in order to include it in the subject table.

For the 2019 subject rankings, we have made a small adjustment to the staff eligibility criterion. An institution needs to have either at least a proportion of staff or a specific number of staff in this discipline to be included in the subject ranking.

For social sciences, we expect an institution either to have at least 4 per cent of its academic staff in the social sciences discipline or to have at least 40 academic staff in the social sciences discipline.

*Academic staff is defined as the full-time equivalent number of staff employed in an academic post, for example lecturer, reader or professor.

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