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Flanders’ universities live up to their reputations

On February 28th, British higher education expert Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) published the 8th QS World University Rankings by Subject. Both KU Leuven and Ghent University score high on the list. 

Topic-based ranking

The ranking weighs the quality of specific programs – such as accounting and finance or veterinary science – taught at schools across 74 countries. Contrary to the general QS World University Rankings, which traditionally places Flanders’ schools at the top, it doesn’t rate universities as a whole, but looks at individual subjects. Additionally, 5 broader subject areas are evaluated: arts and humanities, engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, natural sciences, and social sciences and management.

Alongside the usual suspects

Of course, the best universities in the world have numerous stellar subject areas. Harvard University hangs onto its place as best in the world with number one status for 14 subjects. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a close second with 12 number-one rankings. In third, the University of Oxford holds the top spot in four categories.


But next to the usual suspects, two Flanders-based universities appear on the list. The first is Europe’s most innovative university KU Leuven, taking a spot in the top 100 for 4 out of 5 subject areas. Life sciences and medicine (53rd place) and social sciences and management (56th place) are the university’s strongest curricula. Ghent University follows KU Leuven with a top 50 place for 5 of the 48 individual subjects: veterinary science (17), sports sciences (33), psychology (39), agriculture and forestry (40) and archaeology (43). The institute appears nine more times in the top 100.  

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Reported by
13 March 2018

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