IIT-Delhi achieved the country’s highest position, ranking 42nd in electrical engineering. IIT-Bombay was 49th in electrical engineering and 50th in civil engineering, IIT-Madras 49th in civil engineering and the Indian Institute of Science 46th in materials science.
No course from Indian universities figure in areas such as arts, humanities and social sciences. IIT-Bombay is the only one in the top 200 in any of the five arts and humanities disciplines, ranking in the 151-200 grouping for linguistics.
The five life sciences disciplines feature only two Indian institutions, while India draws a blank in six of the eight social sciences disciplines. The exceptions are statistics, in which five Indian institutions— IIT-D, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Kanpur, Indian Statistical Institute and IIT-B — feature, and politics, in which Jawaharlal Nehru University appears in the 101-150 grouping.
All round, IIT-B emerges as the top institution with four of its courses making it to the rankings.
“The IITs continue to perform well in their specialist areas and the inclusion of three of them in the global top 50 in the engineering disciplines shows that they are starting to achieve genuine international renown,” said QS head of research Ben Sowter.
On the other hand, the lack of world-renowned Indian programmes in arts, humanities and social sciences continues to be a concern, Sowter said. “The absence of Indian universities from the top 200 in subjects such as medicine, law, economics, accounting and finance underlines the difficulty India faces in reversing the tide of talented students leaving the country to study these disciplines abroad,” he added.
“The latest QS rankings highlight the excellence of the specialist Indian institutions in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) area and also identifies the need to improve the global competitiveness of our universities, in particular the large and comprehensive institutions,” said Mohandas Pai, chairman, ICAA — Indian Centre for Assessment & Accreditation.
The encouraging performance of the IITs in engineering and technology fits into a pattern of strong performances by Asian institutions in the STEM disciplines. Asia accounts for 10 of the top 30 institutes in chemical, civil and electrical engineering, and eight in mechanical engineering, showing that several institutions in the region can now be considered serious global players.
National University of Singapore makes the global top 10 in all five engineering and technology disciplines, while Hong Kong accounts for three of the top 20 institutions for computer science: the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (11th), the University of Hong Kong (14th), and Chinese University of Hong Kong (18th).
“The STEM disciplines have been the primary focus of global competition over the past decade as institutions in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Korea have emerged as genuine competitors to the traditional research powerhouses in the US and UK,” said Sowter.
Globally, Harvard remains the best all-round institution, ranking first in 11 of the 30 disciplines, two more than its local rival MIT.