Faculty ranked top in New Zealand for Arts and Humanities

The results from the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject, based on the quality of our research and teaching and the reputation of our academics, rank the Faculty first in New Zealand for the Arts and Humanities broad subject area. Internationally Arts and Humanities at the University is ranked at equal 72, with individual subject Politics and International Studies ranking both first in New Zealand and in the 51–100 band of the world’s more than 18,000 universities.

Professor Jennifer Windsor, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, says that the results reflects the University’s overall strength in the arts and humanities, and deep commitment of staff and students across many subjects to creating meaningful impact: “We know research and study in the arts offers flexibility and creativity to help shape the future. We’re extremely pleased that this top national ranking confirms that we are the university of choice for those wanting to study in the arts and humanities.”

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford adds that “the University has long been a leader when it comes to Politics and International Studies and in February last year hosted a QS Subject Focus Summit on Power Shifts in the Asia–Pacific: Large and Small State Perspectives. Also in 2020, our academics led the way in helping New Zealanders better understand the New Zealand and United States elections and the impacts of COVID-19.”

In addition to Politics and International Studies, the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ strong performance also includes having in the top 100 for individual subjects: English Language and Literature; Linguistics; and Performing Arts. In the top 150 it has: History; Modern Languages; Philosophy; and Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies.

Professor Sarah Leggott, Dean of the Faculty, says she is delighted by the results. “We are proud of our consistently strong national and international rankings, which reflect the outstanding dedication and talent of our staff and confirm our excellence across the arts and humanities.”

Over the past few years, university rankings have become increasingly competitive, with many new, young universities entering the rankings, but Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington has moved up the overall QS World University Rankings from equal 275 in 2014 to 223 in 2020.

Along with the yearly ranking, we are one of only 14 universities in the world to hold the maximum ‘five stars plus’ overall in the three-yearly QS Stars rating of excellence and five stars in each of the eight indicators—arts and culture; discipline ranking and accreditations; employability; facilities; inclusiveness; internationalisation; research; and teaching.

As well as our global rankings, the University is number one for research intensity in the latest six-yearly assessment of the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF), New Zealand’s main measure of research quality. The University has a higher proportion of academics conducting high-quality research than any other university in the country. We are the only university to top the PBRF assessment twice, having done so consecutively in 2012 and 2018. Subjects within the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences were pivotal to the University’s top ranking in these results with the highest percentage of A-ranked researchers in New Zealand in English Language and Literature, History, Art History, Classics and Curatorial Studies, Music, Literary Arts and Other Arts, Theatre, Dance, Film, Television and Multimedia; as well as the second highest percentage in two other subjects: Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work, Criminology and Gender Studies.