A closer look at the QS Subject Rankings for Chemical Engineering

By Danny Byrne

MIT tops the inaugural QS World University Rankings® for Chemical Engineering, with Cambridge, UC Berkeley, Oxford and Stanford joining it in the top five. California’s status as a research hub was underlined with four of the state’s universities in the top ten (Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and Caltech), while Imperial College London joined Oxbridge to make three UK universities in the top ten.

While the universities of the sunshine state flex their collective muscle, it is MIT that underlines its reputation as the undisputed heavyweight champion in engineering, completing a clean sweep of all four engineering fields assessed in the QS World University Rankings® by Subject. The university’s chemical engineering faculty is legendary – more than 10% of chemical engineering teachers in the US earned their degree from MIT, and the faculty accounts for over 20% of the elected members of the US National Academy of Engineering.

UC Berkeley puts in an impressive third-place performance, with particular strength in academic reputation, for which it ranks second. The university’s chemical engineering faculty – recently renamed the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering – has been involved in important research in fields such as molecular thermodynamics, polymer processing, and catalysis and reaction engineering. North of the border, Toronto (14) and McGill (15) make the top 20, with a total of ten of Canada’s universities featuring in the top 200.

Elsewhere, National University of Singapore (10) becomes the only Asian university to make the top ten. NUS leads an Asian contingent of six within the top 50, which also includes University of Tokyo (21) and Kyoto University (37) from Japan, Peking University (32) and Tsinghua University (42) from China, and IIT Roorkee (50) of India. Prospective students at graduate level in particular will note that though it ranks 21 overall, the University of Tokyo makes the top 10 for academic reputation, pointing to the high quality of its research standards.

Australia demonstrated its strength in chemical engineering with five universities in the top 50, a tally bettered only by the US. Melbourne leads the way at 12 (it was the fifth most popular university in the world among employers), followed by University of Queensland (29), University of New South Wales (30=), University of Sydney (44=) and Monash University (47). The rise of the nation’s younger technology-focused institutions is demonstrated by the presence of four Australia Technology Network (ATN) institutions in the top 200: Curtin University of Technology (51-100), Queensland University of Technology (101-150), RMIT (101-150) and University of South Australia (151-200).

In the UK, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial are joined by Manchester (18) and Edinburgh (35=) in the top 50, with a further eight universities making the top 100 and a total of 23 in the top 200. Elsewhere in Europe ETH Zurich underlined its status as arguably the world’s leading university that does not primarily operate in English, ranking 11th overall and 9th for academic reputation. Other strong performances from around Europe came from Delft University of Technology (22) in the Netherlands, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (23) in Switzerland, and Technische Universität München (39) in Germany.

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