QS rankings: ETH Zurich top in 13 subjects

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ETH Zurich is number one in Earth Sciences for the fifth consecutive time.  (Pho

ETH Zurich is number one in Earth Sciences for the fifth consecutive time. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Marco Carocari)

The university analysts at QS have published their 2020 rankings by subject: ETH Zurich is in the top ten in 13 categories - and has been top in one for several years now.

ETH has been ranked sixth worldwide in the prestigious QS World University Rankings since last year, making it the best university in continental Europe. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has now published the rankings broken down by subject. It makes for pleasant reading: ETH has 13 subjects in the top ten, which is the best outcome in all of continental Europe.

Earth sciences are in a class of their own at the top - ETH has been ranked first in the Earth & Marine Sciences category for the past five years. Meanwhile, it has made up ground in other categories. It is ranked second in Statistics & Operational Research, an improvement of two places over the previous year. And it put in a strong showing once again in Chemistry, moving up one position to seventh place. It is now ranked sixth in Civil & Structural Engineering - last year it secured eighth place.

«The result shows that ETH’s strong standing is thanks to a broad foundation of academic excellence», says Joël Mesot, President of ETH Zurich. «The ranking also reflects the exceptional reputation that Switzerland enjoys as a research hub.»

ETH is not the only domestic institution to excel in the QS rankings: Swiss universities occupy a total of 26 places in the top ten by subject. This is more than Germany, Italy or Spain. «No continental European nation possesses such a high concentration of world-class educational departments», explains Ben Sowter, research director at QS. Switzerland is an exemplary ecosystem for research, he says: «One that benefits from close links to innovative industry, a desire to attract top talent from abroad, and an emphasis on high investment in Research & Development funding.»

ETH Zurich’s positions in the individual subject areas in the last three years

(Note: an equal sign means that the rank is shared with other institutions)

QS World University Rankings by Subject

The QS World University Rankings by Subject have been published annually since 2004. The rankings by subject currently compare more than 13,000 university programmes from more than 1,300 universities worldwide based on four indicators. In comparison with other rankings, the reputation that a department has in professional circles plays a major role in its ranking. It contributes between 30 percent and 90 percent of the overall result (for example, 40 percent for Earth & Marine Sciences). Employer surveys on the quality of graduates are also included (5 percent to 50 percent). The number of citations per publication counts for between 0 percent and 30 percent. Finally, the h-index also counts for between 0 percent and 30 percent. This index measures the productivity and impact of researchers based on the number of their most frequently cited publications and the number of citations they receive in other publications.

Leo Herrmann