Social Sciences Rankings:
Technology giant's human touch
4 October 2012
It may seem counter-intuitive that a renowned technology institute should be the world's top university in the social sciences, but it should not be too surprising: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has an excellent portfolio in the field.
For example, it is home to the famous Sloan School of Management and also has a thriving School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, which boasts a number of Nobel laureates and Pulitzer prizewinners.
The institution was included in the social sciences table for the first time this year as it met our criteria that at least 10 per cent of its faculty should work in the field.
MIT wrests the crown from Stanford University, which falls to third place, just behind the University of Chicago.
Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel prizewinner for economic sciences, took his PhD at MIT in the 1960s and now works at Columbia University (ninth).
The social sciences table is dominated by the anglophone world. The US takes 29 of the top 50 places and eight of the top 10 spots.
The UK takes the remaining top 10 places, with the University of Oxford slipping from third to joint fourth and the University of Cambridge rising from 11th to 10th. University College London loses its top 10 place, falling from joint eighth to 11th.
The UK has eight representatives, the second-best total, followed by Australia (five) and Canada (three).
Australia is strong in the social sciences. The Australian National University is the country's highest-ranked institution (20th), followed closely by the University of Melbourne (23rd).
In total, nine nations are featured, with a single representative from China (Peking University in 41st), Singapore (the National University of Singapore in 39th) and Japan (the University of Tokyo in 32nd).
Hong Kong leads the Asian region with two representatives and the highest- ranked institution, the University of Hong Kong (30th).