QS World University Rankings by Subject 2011: Medicine

by Danny Byrne

Harvard leads an all Anglo-American top five of Cambridge, MIT, Oxford and Stanford in the first QS World University Ranking for Medicine. Universities from 27 countries make the top 200, with the most well-represented nations being the US (54), UK (29), Germany (18), Canada (13) and Australia (11). Imperial College London (9) joins Oxbridge in the top ten, along with an additional four US institutions: Yale (6), UCLA (7), Johns Hopkins University (8) and UC San Diego (10).

Harvard’s triumph follows pioneering work in stem cell research carried out in collaboration with third-placed MIT at the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Faculty. Scopus data shows that the universities’ most widely cited work was in embryonic stem cell research, the subject of a Bush administration funding ban, repealed by Barack Obama in 2009. The universities came first (MIT) and fifth (Harvard) for research citations, while Harvard was the top-scoring university for both academic and employer reputation.

Second-placed Cambridge hit the headlines in 2010 when its long-term work in embryonic stem cell research and IVF led to the Nobel Prize for Professor Martin Evans. The university ranks second for both academic and employer reputation, reflecting the high profile of its medical faculty. Oxford (4) joins it at the top end of the rankings, and was the third most popular university among graduate employers. A further six UK universities made the top 50: Imperial College (9), UCL (25), Edinburgh (27=), King’s College London (30), Manchester (32) and Bristol (48).

Elsewhere in Europe, the leading university was Sweden’s Karolinska Institute (26), a specialist institution that has been at the forefront of medical education since it was founded in 1810. Five other continental European universities make the top 50: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (41) and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (49=) from Germany, Erasmus University Rotterdam (42=) and Leiden University (42=) of the Netherlands, and Finland’s University of Helsinki (46=). Students will note that while Karolinska Institute was rated the top continental European by academics, University of Copenhagen (51-100) was the most popular among employers.

National University of Singapore (NUS) is the leading Asian university at 18th. NUS was rated 10th in the world among academics, and was the ninth most popular university among employers, confirming its reputation as a producer of world-class medical graduates. University of Tokyo (20), Kyoto University (38) and University of Hong Kong (HKU) (45) also made the top 50, with Tokyo rating as high as 8th in the world for academic reputation, the highest of any Asian university.

University of Toronto registered strong scores in all three criteria to rank 12th, just ahead of fellow Canadian institution McGill University in 13th. A total of 13 Canadian universities made the top 200, with University of British Columbia (31) and McMaster University (42=) making the top 50. Australia had one fewer university in the rankings, with 12 making the top 200, but five of them featured in the top 50: University of Melbourne (15), University of Sydney (29), University of Queensland (33=), Monash University (36=), Australian National University (46=).

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