QS subject area rankings place AUB top in the Arab world and high globally

Jennifer Muller, Office of Communications, jm26@aub.edu.lb​​​

The 2018 university rankings by subject area from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) shows AUB to be competing on a global scale—and among the best regionally—in a broad spectrum of fields that span the entire university. This year, AUB ranked in eight individual subject areas compared with four in 2017 and two the year before.

The QS rankings considered 48 subject areas and AUB qualified for consideration in all 48, which the QS evaluation team highlighted as “very unusual,” demonstrating that AUB is a global contender across a huge range of the subjects. 

​Top in the Arab world

In the most recent QS Arab region university rankings, published in October 2017, AUB claimed the #1 spot over all universities in the Arab world and was placed at #235 in the worldwide university rankings published in June 2017. This top berth in the regional rankings carries over to a strong regional showing in the QS subject area rankings report just released.

In the Arab world, AUB earned the #1 spot in four areas: accounting and finance, English language and literature, economics and econometrics (tied with one other university), and medicine (tied with three other universities).

In the other four ranked subjects, AUB came in second in the Arab world in business and management studies, sixth in computer science and information systems, seventh in electrical and electronic engineering, and eighth in mechanical engineering. 

AUB’s ranked subject areas

Arts and humanities was the institution’s strongest in the broad subject area rankings, taking the #351 spot. The specific subject of English language and literature placed AUB in the 251-300 range and as the only university in the Arab world to be ranked in this field. Although no other specific subjects within arts and humanities came in ranked, the scores for many specific subjects were quite high, especially in philosophy and architecture, which helped bring the overall score for arts and humanities up.

Within social sciences and management, AUB had a total of three subjects ranked highly, including accounting and finance in the 151-200 range, which is the highest score for AUB in this year’s rankings. Business and management studies came in at 251-300, and economics and econometrics at 351-400.

Medicine—which in QS also ​includes health policy and public, environmental, and occupational health—​continued to have an impressive showing, being only one of two subject areas to be ranked in all of the past three years of the QS rankings by subject. AUB’s score for medicine remained in the 251-300 range globally and tied for first in the Arab world along with two universities in Saudi Arabia and one in Egypt.

Three subject areas within the category of engineering and technology were ranked this year. Both electrical and electronic engineering as well as mechanical engineering came in at 351-400, while computer science and information systems took a 401-450 ranking. This is the third year in a row that computer science and information systems is ranked by QS and this is one of the subject areas that spans numerous AUB faculties, with departments and tracks working in this field from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, and Olayan School of Business.

The methodology

QS considered 1,130 institutions from 151 countries for the 2018 subject area rankings.
These rankings take four indicators into consideration that are weighted differently based on the subject. For example, the research impact indicators (based on citations per paper and h-index) may count for 25% of the overall score for fields such as medicine where there is a very high publication output, yet only account for 15% of the overall score for fields such as history where the output is considerably lower. Both of these research indicators are derived from the Scopus database.

The other two indicators used by QS are academic reputation and employer reputation, which are meant to assess an institution’s international reputation in each subject. These are based on surveys conducted by QS of over 170,000 academics and around 160,000 employers. Employer reputation continues to be one of AUB’s strongest points, proving that AUB graduates have a sterling reputation among employers. In the most recent QS ranking of graduate employability, AUB came in first in the Arab region and #41 on the global scale.