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Celebrating rankings successes

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“Durham is a world-leading university and our academic excellence impact is reflected in our global rankings.

“Every year our subjects are highly rated in the global league table rankings, and it is a true credit to the outstanding teaching and research carried out at our University.” 

So said Professor Karen O’Brien, our Vice Chancellor and Warden, who was speaking to mark the announcement that 12 of our subjects are in the top 50 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.

Our subjects ranked in the QS world top 50 are: Theology and Religion (6th in the world); Classics and Ancient History (8th); Archaeology (10th); Geography (14th); Anthropology (23rd); Philosophy (32nd); History (joint 38th); English Language and Literature (38th); Geology (joint 46th); Geophysics (47th); Earth Sciences (joint 46th); Law (46th).  

Our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which is recognised globally for nurturing thoughtful, critical, and engaged citizens for a rapidly changing and complex world, has moved up 9 places in the new rankings from 41st last year to 32nd this year.

Durham is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading universities.

We’re ranked 92nd in the QS World University Rankings 2023, and 6th in the Guardian University Guide 2023, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, and The Complete University Guide 2023.

Professor O’Brien continued:

We aim to inspire our people to achieve extraordinary things and I am delighted to see so many of our subjects ranked in the world top 50 and top 100 again in this very prestigious ranking.

To bring you some more in-depth information, here are further details on some of our top-performing subjects:

Theology and Religion

Theology and Religion is ranked 6th in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2023, making it our highest ranked subject. 

One of the most varied and dynamic in the UK, our Department is a place where tradition, theology and lived religion are respected, studied and brought into critical conversation.

The subject has received a very high academic reputation score that showcases the global prominence of our researchers, and a 3rd place in the domestic UK rankings.  

Our academics have recently conducted pioneering research on religious belief in the age of science and how neoliberalism has changed the way for religion. The Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science (ECLAS) project has also secured a £6.2m grant to encourage bishops and senior Christian leaders worldwide to engage with science.  

Hear from staff and students in this short video:

Visit our Theology and Religion webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

Classics and Ancient History

Classics and Ancient History ranks 8th in the 2023 QS World University Rankings by subject, up from 13th in 2022.

Our work brings the relevance and importance of Classics to a wider audience. Our engagement with partners outside academia demonstrates the continued impact of Classics on people’s lives today. 

The rank signifies the high employability prospects of Durham’s Classics and Ancient History graduates.   

Hear from staff and students in this short video:

Visit our Classics and Ancient History webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 


Our Department is a leading centre for study, and Archaeology is ranked 10th in the QS World University Rankings by subject for 2023.

The high impact and significance of Archaeology has been recognised with a score of 94.9 and a domestic ranking of 4th.

We have consistently been ranked in the world top 10 for world-class research and teaching specialisms. Recent research includes evidence of early Ice Age writing and the first solid evidence that Vikings brought animals to Britain.  

The department is an inclusive, vibrant and international community. Students develop knowledge and gain essential and transferable skills through research-led teaching and lab-based training. 

Hear from staff and students in this short video:

Visit our Archaeology webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes.



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