Social Sciences Excel in Times Higher Education Subject Rankings

UArizona journalism students take part in a discussion about news reporting techniques.

UArizona journalism students take part in a discussion about news reporting techniques.

(Photo: FJ Gaylor)

The University of Arizona is home to some of the world's finest social science scholars, according to the latest subject ranking from Times Higher Education.

The university ranked No. 68 out of 720 colleges and universities worldwide in Times Higher Education's World University Rankings 2020 By Subject, released Nov. 6. It is the university's highest appearance on the publication's social sciences list since Times Higher Education began ranking colleges and universities by subject in 2011, when UArizona placed No. 47.

The university placed No. 32 in the U.S. and No. 16 among all U.S. public institutions.

"These rankings reflect the University of Arizona's commitment to ensuring our students have the critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills they need to succeed in their careers,” said UArizona President Robert C. Robbins. "Our students obtain a broad and diverse set of educational experiences here, and I am proud to see our excellence across disciplines recognized."

Times Higher Education highlights the universities that are leading across sociology, geography, politics and international studies, as well as communication and media studies subjects. Since 2018, education, law and psychology have not been included in the social sciences category, but instead make up three separate rankings.

Many of the subjects that fall under UArizona's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences were part of the arts and humanities ranking released Oct. 2, where UArizona placed No. 80 overall, No. 28 in the U.S. and No. 11 among all U.S. public institutions.

The subject rankings are based on the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2020, but the methodology is recalibrated for each subject to suit the individual fields. The performance indicators are grouped into five areas:

  • Teaching (the learning environment): 30%
  • Research (volume, income and reputation): 30%
  • Citations (research influence): 30%
  • International outlook (staff, students and research) 7.5%
  • Industry income (knowledge transfer): 2.5%

The university's best scores came in citations, research and teaching.

"It is gratifying to see our social science disciplines recognized in this international ranking," said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "This impressive jump is due to our outstanding faculty, who work to understand and offer solutions to some of the major issues of our time, from climate change and political conflict to privacy and loneliness. They prepare our students for a rapidly changing future by equipping them with the ability to communicate effectively, solve problems and analyze issues from diverse perspectives."

The university also placed in other subject areas released Wednesday: business and economics (101-125), engineering (101-125) and law (126-150). Schools with rankings above 100 are assigned to ranges and do not receive individual rankings.

In the overall Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, released Sept. 11, the university was No. 104 – a 55-spot increase over the university's rank last year. The university ranked No. 42 among all U.S. colleges and universities and No. 20 among public institutions.