The Australian National University has ranked in the top ten universities in the world across six different subjects, according to the latest Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young welcomed the latest results, which show the ANU ranks sixth in the world in philosophy, seventh in history, ninth in environmental science, geography and linguistics and tenth in international studies.
Professor Young said the rankings confirmed the ANU was both a national and international leader.
“While we all acknowledge that university rankings are a blunt instrument, the 2012 QS World University Rankings by Subject clearly demonstrate the world standing of ANU,” he said.
In other notable rankings, the ANU ranked 14th in the world in sociology and law, came 18th in modern languages, 20th in accounting and finance and 24th in psychology.
Professor Young said “Of the 25 disciplines in which ANU has a presence, 21 were ranked in the top 50 in the world. These results are a remarkable achievement and I would like to congratulate each and every member of the University on their outstanding commitment to maintaining the high quality of research and teaching at ANU.”
In Australian rankings, the ANU came first in eleven subjects, beaten only by the University of Melbourne which came first in 14 subjects.
The QS world rankings consider the output of the world’s top 700 universities and have been published since 2004. Subject rankings are in their second year only, with the ANU doing slightly better this year than last.
Professor Young, who has been under enormous pressure since targeting the School of Music for budget cuts and who has warned the ANU needs to tighten its belt because of a shrinking surplus, said the results confirmed that a strategy of specialising in strong subjects had the best international result.
In the case of philosophy, which has long been the ANU’s most internationally acclaimed subject, Professor Young said the success was due to a “long tradition of attracting outstanding people and building a culture where it is a place quality people want to come.”
He said his strategic plan was based around building centres of excellence.
The subject rankings showed the ANU was world class but also confirmed “we can’t do absolutely everything and we have to have a vision as to how to be a truly world class performer,” according to Professor Young.