Penn State shows interdisciplinarity, excellence in 2021 QS Subject Rankings

March 22, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State ranked in 41 out of 51 subjects across all five broad subject areas in the 2021 World University Rankings by Subject, recently released by QS, one of the major three international rankings organizations.

For 2021, QS ranked 1,453 institutions across 51 subjects in five broad disciplines. Note: Penn State does not offer programs in all of the 51 subjects reviewed.

Penn State had a strong showing worldwide, ranking in the top 25 in 10 subject areas, and in the top 50 in 17 areas. This is an improvement over 2020, where the University ranked worldwide in the top 25 in three subject areas, and in the top 50 in 14 subject areas.

The subject areas in which Penn State ranked in the top 25 worldwide are mineral and mining engineering (10); Earth and marine sciences (12); geology (12); geophysics (12); sports-related subjects (tied for 17); archaeology (19); hospitality and leisure management (20); materials science (23); agriculture and forestry (24); and petroleum engineering (25).

Penn State also showcased its interdisciplinarity, ranking in the top 75 in the world in the broad areas of natural sciences; social sciences and management; and engineering and technology.

“The University’s subject rankings reflect the strength of our faculty across a broad range of disciplines,” said Rob Crane, associate vice provost for Global Programs.  “It’s one of the factors that makes the University so attractive to international students.”

Subject rankings are based on academic and employer reputation surveys and research output sourced from Elsevier.

The release of this ranking follows the September 2020 release of the 2021 QS Overall World University Rankings.

Of the three major rankings organizations, QS is the most widely read by prospective students and parents. The two other rankings organizations are the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU, also known as the Shanghai ranking) and Times Higher Education, with whom the University is partnering for the upcoming Innovation and Impact Summit.

For more information contact William Shuey, sponsored relations manager in Global Programs, at


Last Updated March 23, 2021