UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


UCL subjects climb up world university rankings

8 April 2022

More than half of UCL’s subjects have climbed up the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 – the world’s most consulted university ranking – with improvements seen across the breadth of the institute.

UCL Main Quad

A total of 22 out of 43 subjects were ranked higher compared to last year, including Accounting & Finance (up 13 places), Politics & International Studies (up 12 places) Engineering – Civil & Structural (up 11 places) and Geology (up 10 places).

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, maintained its position as first in the world for Education for the ninth year in a row, whilst both the Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment, and Archaeology retained places in the global top three.

Subjects in the Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS) ranked top 30 in the world: Statistics & Operational Research (27), Earth and Marine Sciences (28), Geophysics (29) and Geology (30).

Some also were top five in the UK: Physics & Astronomy (4), Chemistry (5), Geophysics (5), Materials Science (5) and Statistics & Operational Research (5).

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the growing recognition of the excellence of such a wide range of subjects at UCL by QS, and it’s a pleasure to see others endorse the university’s strengths.

“I am also particularly pleased to see that the UCL IOE is considered to be the world number one in its field for the ninth consecutive year, which is a phenomenal achievement. It is also very pleasing to have recorded so many of our other excellent research communities as continuing to generate impressive outcomes.

“Although each league table focuses on different measures of success, we should all be very proud to see the growing recognition of excellence right across the breadth of the university. Congratulations to everyone at UCL whose work and dedication is reflected in these brilliant results – we should all be extremely proud.”

Table showing UCL improved subjects on QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022
UCL currently has nine subject areas ranked in the global top 10, including Education (1), Architecture & the Built Environment (3), Archaeology (3), Anatomy & Physiology (6), Anthropology (4), Geography (9), Medicine (7), Pharmacy & Pharmacology (4), and Psychology (7).

Compared to other UK universities, 34 UCL subjects are in the top five – with all but three subjects ranking inside the top 10.

Overall, UCL saw improvements across all broad fields considered (Arts & Humanities, Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences & Medicine, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences & Management), and is now in the global top 40 for all five – with Life Sciences and Medicine in the world top ten.

Natural Sciences which include MAPS subjects such as Chemistry, Earth and Marine Sciences, Geology, Geophysics, Materials Sciences, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy raised a whopping 20 places from 57 to 37 worldwide and from fifth to fourth in the UK.

QS world university rankings by subject broad areas
To compile the subject rankings, QS used four key metrics (including academic standing, research performance based on citations and impact, and graduate employability) – the precise weighting of which varies by subject to reflect differing publication cultures across disciplines.

A total of 1,542 universities in 161 locations across the world were ranked across 51 academic disciplines.

The QS World University Rankings, which rank universities overall rather than at subject level, will be published later this year. The last edition of these rankings placed UCL at joint eighth in the world. 



  • UCL Main Quad. Credit: Elaine Perks
  • Table 1 shows UCL subjects which have improved their position in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022. Table 2 shows the five broad areas of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 and UCL's 2022 Rank.