The latest edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject provides comparisons of 2,400 programmes in the arts and humanities at universities around the world. Among them are 25 programmes at universities in seven Arab countries.
The rankings by subject are part of the QS World University Rankings portfolio published each year by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a British higher-education analytics company.
Arts and humanities is one of five broad categories in the rankings by subject. The others are engineering and technology, life sciences and medicine, natural sciences, and social sciences and management.
Over all, the rankings analyse 15,200 individual academic programmes in 51 subjects at more than 1,500 universities around the world. The subject rankings include 324 programmes in the Arab region.
Six Arab universities were among the 500 institutions that QS ranked for their programmes in arts and humanities this year. The American University of Beirut was the highest placed, ranking 194.
Following is a synopsis of how Arab universities fared in the broad faculty area of arts and humanities, and in seven individual subject areas within that category.
Arts and Humanities
Five hundred universities worldwide are ranked for their programmes in arts and humanities this year. Only six Arab universities are among them. They include two universities each in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and one each in Lebanon and Jordan.
The American University of Beirut was the highest-ranked Arab institution, coming in at 194th.
The American University in Cairo ranked 260th, while Cairo University and King Abdulaziz University tied for 271st place. King Saud University and the University of Jordan were in a block of universities ranked 401-450.
Architecture and Built Environment
The Arab region was best represented in this subject. A total of 230 architecture and built environment programmes were ranked this year, and eight of them were at Arab universities. The American University of Sharjah was the highest placed, ranking 101-150.
Five programmes ranked in the 151-200 range. They included three in Egypt: Alexandria University, the American University in Cairo, and Cairo University. Also in this group were King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, in Saudi Arabia, and the American University of Beirut.
Two Arab universities ranked 201-230: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University and the United Arab Emirates University.
Art and Design
Of the 230 art and design programmes ranked this year, only three were at Arab universities. Bahrain’s Applied Science University was the highest placed, ranking 101-150. (This was the only Bahraini programme ranked in this year’s QS rankings by subject.)
Even though it is home to several ancient civilisations, the Arab region lagged in the rankings of archaeology programmes. Only two Arab universities were among the 230 ranked this year.
The two other universities were the American University of Sharjah, in a group ranked 151-200, and the Lebanese University (201-230).
Of the 330 modern languages programmes ranked this year, five were at Arab universities. Two universities were in a group ranked 151-200: King Abdulaziz University and the American University in Cairo.
Cairo University ranked 201-250, Ain Shams University ranked 251-300, and the University of Jordan ranked 301-330.
English Language and Literature
Three Arab universities’ programmes in English language and literature were among 320 ranked this year. They included King Abdulaziz University (201-250), the American University of Beirut (251-300) and the University of Jordan (301-320).
Three Arab programmes in linguistics were among the 310 ranked this year. They were Cairo University, King Abdulaziz University, and the University of Jordan, all ranked 251-300.
Even though it is home to several ancient civilisations, the Arab region lagged in this category. Only two Arab universities were among the 230 ranked programmes in archaeology: Cairo University (101-150) and the American University of Beirut (151-200).
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Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies
Of the 130 theology, divinity and religious studies programmes ranked this year, only one was at an Arab university. That was Qatar University, ranking 101-130.
QS ranked programmes in four additional subjects in the arts and humanities this year: history; classics and ancient history; philosophy; and performing arts. No Arab institutions were represented in those subjects.